How Saga bypassed GPS to log your life without killing your battery


Last year around this time, A.R.O. Co-founder and CEO Andy Hickl thought he had built killer app for location data in Saga. The premise was simple: constantly track users’ locations, learn their routines down to a micro-level, and eventually offer them advices on, for example, places they might want to go or faster ways to get from Point A to Point B. I was impressed enough with the vision to write about it.

There was only one problem: “We ran smack dab into a buzzsaw,” Hickl said, “and that buzzsaw was battery.” No matter how much people liked the product, that didn’t outweigh their anger over the fact that regularly pinging the GPS satellites was killing users’ batteries.

A.R.O. had a tough choice to make. It could reduce the frequency of GPS communications and make the app less useful in the process, or it could make a much more…

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