Nokia turns to A-GPS

Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia today announced it intends to equip all of its future devices that have built-in GPS with Assisted GPS (A-GPS). The first devices to use this service are the Nokia 6110 Navigator, which has begun shipping in select markets, and the most recent software release of the Nokia N95. Nokia N95 owners can download the upgrade free of charge.

"By decreasing the time wasted while you wait for a first fix, we are increasing the enjoyment that Nokia Maps provides," says Ralph Eric Kunz, vice-president, multimedia experiences, Nokia.

This service has the ability to reduce the time a connected mobile device with built in GPS needs to find its current position, known as time to first fix (TTFF) for most geographical locations worldwide. “The service operates in tandem with a technical framework that allows third parties, such as service providers, to provide their own regional A-GPS services, making fix times even faster in certain areas- to the benefit of their subscribers” said Nokia.

This assisted GPS service is different from the A-GPS deployed by some wireless operators (US CDMA operators for example). Indeed the Nokia A-GPS consists in downloading from the internet the latest information about the position of the satellite in the sky instead of waiting from the satellite to transmit this information to the GPS receiver, which may often take 30 seconds or more. But in addition to this method, the “A-GPS” deployed by wireless operators is using the network (cell-ID technology) to get an approximate location of the handset, improving drastically the time to first fix as well as indoor positioning.

While A-GPS is new to Nokia, most of the other vendors of smartphones with built in GPS are offering A-GPS today. HP was probably the first one with the HP iPAQ hw6500 launched in October 2005 powered by a Global Locate chipset and its hosted A-GPS service.

Thursday, July 19th 2007

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