Wi-Fi, GPS, Cell-id: Skyhook unveils new positioning engine



Wi-Fi, GPS, Cell-id: Skyhook unveils new positioning engine
Well known for its Wi-Fi positioning engine used in the iPhone, Skyhook Wireless unveiled today a new generation of its hybrid positioning engine, XPS 2.0, seamlessly combining GPS, Cell-id and Wi-Fi.

Ted Morgan, CEO at Skyhook Wireless, said to GPS Business News: “we have been working on Wi-Fi positioning for the last four to five years, but in the last 12 to 18 months we spent a great deal of time and resources to develop algorithm to integrate GPS, Wi-Fi and cell-id location technologies in order to provide a really good consumer experience”.

XPS 2.0
The original XPS was switching between Wi-Fi and GPS; now XPS 2.0 combines raw Wi-Fi, GPS and cell tower readings to produce a single hybrid calculation. In difficult indoor and urban environments, XPS can, for example, leverage signals from just two GPS satellites to improve Wi-Fi location accuracy by 35%+, said Skyhook. XPS is said to deliver a full GPS/Wi-Fi/cellular hybrid location in just 4 second from a complete cold start compared to 30-60 seconds with just A-GPS.

The addition of cell tower positioning also increases availability so that users at least get a fallback location regardless of environment. As part of the XPS 2.0 launch, Skyhook Wireless is introducing this cellular positioning system leveraging Skyhook's fleet of field signal surveyors. Today the system covers major US and European cities and will expand to full Skyhook global coverage by the end of 2008.

Ted Morgan
Ted Morgan
Ted Morgan
Ted Morgan
In a traditional handset with GPS the 30 seconds – or more - acquisition time of the GPS satellites have a big impact on the battery life. In this area “XPS delivers 5 to 10 times better power conservation than A-GPS alone due to the unequaled acquisition time and accuracy in XPS”, said Skyhook.

Targeting handsets manufacturers
Ted Morgan is targeting handsets manufacturers with this new version of its location engine. “Mid- and high-end phones are going to integrate WiFi and GPS and our system is going to be less expensive than any piece of hardware – gyroscope for example – integrated by manufacturers to augment GPS availability and accuracy”.

Skyhook is marketing its technology directly to handsets manufacturers, but also via GPS chipset makers. “We have been a long time partner to SiRF”, said Ted Morgan, “and today we are announcing a partnership with CSR”. (read here related news)

While XPS is initially positioned to provide improved location to cell phones, Skyhook Wireless also believes this technology is well suited to provide A-GPS techniques to non-connected equipment like Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs), to shorten the startup times.

Monday, June 30th 2008


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