u-blox to Unveil New GPS Chip at 3GSM

u-blox AG, a Swiss fabless GPS provider will unveil at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona its new chipset, delivering high sensitivity, quick acquisition time, low power and Galileo compatibility

The u-blox 5 chipset boasts an acquisition and tracking sensitivity of -160 dBm, a 50-channel engine and a power consumption of less than 50 mW. The company claims a position acquisition time of less than one second with its AssistNow technology. Indeed, this technology provides assistance data valid for up to 14 days, which is stored in the GPS receiver. This enables the receiver to compute a position instantly without having to connect to a mobile network at start-up to download the data, as is the case with typical A-GPS services.

A revolution?

u-blox to Unveil New GPS Chip at 3GSM
These record breaking features are definitely interesting but not revolutionary. The sensitivity is slightly better than SiRF StarIII (-160dBm against -159 dBm for SiRF), but is unlikely to make any difference for the consumer. The power consumption is also better, while the Galileo compatibility is purely virtual without any Galileo constellation in the sky today and for at least a couple of years, if not more. But more interesting is the AssistNow Offline feature, the same service as the so-called InstantFix provided by SiRF for its chipset. Basically these systems are providing information about where and when satellite will be so the chipset find them much quicker. SiRF offers the information for seven days, while u-blox delivers it for 14 days, a big leap for the industry.

Nevertheless u-blox has yet to make it available in volume, price it aggressively and get customers to implement it while SiRF might probably launch an improved version of its flagship SiRF StarIII soon.

Friday, February 2nd 2007
ludovic Privat

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