The latest evidence: Nokia announced Monday that it plans to acquire Plazes, a start-up still in private beta.
Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008, were not disclosed. Plazes, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland, but works primarily out of Berlin, will become part of Nokia's Software and Services division. Plazes' technology will likely be worked into future mobile apps.
"When we started in 2005 the potential of that space might have been obvious, but it was an uphill battle nevertheless, with so many concepts gone sour before," a posting Monday on the Plazes blog explained.
Since then, start-ups like Loopt (which had some prominent stage time at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this month), Whrrl, and Brightkite--many of which do more or less exactly the same thing--have popped up and gained minor to moderate buzz. By getting acquired, Plazes has pulled itself out of the fray and, in effect, has ensured that it won't go under like some of its location-aware start-up brethren surely will.
"If all goes well, in the near future Plazes will be made available to millions of Nokia customers both online and on millions of mobile devices," the Plazes blog post read. It will still be available as a standalone service, and its iPhone application is still on track.