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Intel acquires Telmap to enhance in-app experiences

Intel is acquiring Israel-based mapping and location-based services firm Telmap as it looks to create integrated, uniform experiences across consumer devices.

Intel announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Telmap at its annual developer conference Intel AppUp Elements 2011 last week. The deal will help the company expand its mobile software services capabilities and build its AppUp app store.

?Intel is always looking for ways to provide value to its customers and ultimately to the people who use products with Intel inside,? said Claudine A. Mangano, a spokeswoman for Intel, Santa Clara, CA.

?As billions of new devices connect to the Internet, and with one another, we believe that Telmap?s efforts around end-to-end mobile local search, and mapping and navigation services will play a key role in helping to enrich mobile experiences,? she said.

Telmap provides white label, hosted and managed mobile location-based services to wireless carriers. Its mobile location companion is available on all major operating systems.

Mobile ecosystem
Intel will combine Telmap?s focus on mobile local search, mapping and navigation services with its own to grow the Telmap business and give developers a way to retain users with in-app and in-experience location features that they cannot do today.

Telmap already has more than 6 million engaged users, per Ms. Mangano.

The Telmap Mobile Location Companion product provides location capabilities to people that can enhance social interactions, deals and promotions, and exploration of one?s surroundings. The company recently introduced location-aware restaurant coupons in Israel.

From a developer perspective, Telmap will help Intel provide developers with location-based services spanning devices, operating systems and CPU architectures.

Intel will provide AppUp developers with Telmap location capabilities in the form of a standard set of location-based APIs and software that developers can integrate into their apps.

The move comes at a time when mapping and navigation are becoming must-haves in the mobile space. The question is whether Intel will also give developers a way to monetize apps on top of these services.

?Google made mapping and navigation a commodity by giving it away for free, which is why we have seen lots of consolidation over the past 18 months in the navigation and mapping industry,? said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, San Francisco. 

?For Intel, this acquisition gives them the ability to open up basic functionality that is increasingly being incorporated into most location-based apps,? he said.

?What will be interesting to watch is whether they add tools such as advertising for developers to monetize on top of these services.?

The acquisition of Telmap is another step in Intel?s strategy to build a mobile ecosystem.

This summer, Intel announced a partnership with Polar Mobile to bring 80 publishers? apps to the AppUp Center (see story).

Intel said at AppUp Elements that 807,000 applications have been downloaded and 350,000 consumers have registered to use the app store, according to reports.

?The acquisition supports Intel?s strategy to deliver compelling consumers services as across multiple devices and provides robust content for Intel AppUp center,? Ms. Mangano said.

?We believe it?s an important step in our broader efforts to create more consistent personal computing experiences across people?s lives,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York