Broadcom Releases New Positioning Chipset: GPS, GLONASS and More

Broadcom Releases New Positioning Chipset: GPS, GLONASS and More
Semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom today introduced its latest generation of GNSS chipset that supports GPS, GLONASS, QZSS and SBAS satellite systems as well as leverages inertial sensors, WiFi and Bluetooth for indoor positioning.

Called BCM4752, this chipset is ready for production and currently shipping to early access partners. “First devices embedding this chipset will be in the market in Q4 2012,“ said Scott Pomerantz, Broadcom’s Vice President & General Manager for the GPS product line, in a phone briefing with GPS Business News.

Broadcom built this chipset with a 40nm CMOS process, which, according to the company, “reduces power consumption by 50 percent and board area by 44 percent.“

The company said the satellites acquisition is ten times faster than previous GPS chipsets. Instead of acquiring one constellation after the other (GPS, then GLONASS, etc..), the new system is looking at each satellite independently of their respective constellation, explained Pomerantz.

The ability to leverage third party inertial sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, barometric sensor, compass) for indoor positioning is a new feature for Broadcom. The chipset can also use data from Wi-Fi triangulation and Bluetooth beacons once this technology is introduced to the market at scale.

Broadcom can provide its own Wi-Fi hotspot location database as a value-added service, if the device maker does not have one available.

Previous generations of Broadcom GPS chipsets have a solid track record of design wins, including the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 that have the BCM 4750 (iPhone 4S and “new“ iPad have a Qualcomm GPS), the Motorola Xoom (BCM 4750) and the Samsung Galaxy Note (BCM47511).

This new Broadcom chipset is competing head to head with CSR which is also expected to have its SiRF StarV design in phones at the end of year (listen to our podcast here). It will be interesting to see how the two competitors are faring when it comes to fusing inertial sensor data with GPS and WiFi.

Once the these chipsets reach the market in large volume smartphones, indoor positioning is going to finally become a reality for mainstream consumers.

Wednesday, March 21st 2012

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