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CSR ventures into mobile location with e-GPS

Posted: 28 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:e-GPS? navigation system? handset?

CSR plc is set to introduce at next month's Mobile World Congress an enhanced-GPS (e-GPS) technology that integrates software-based GPS with cellular measurements.

The first product in its push into mobile location, the e-GPS system provides real-time GPS navigation embedded in a mobile handset. According to Stuart Strickland, VP of CSR's location business unit, the technology significantly improves the responsiveness and availability of accurate position information compared with assisted GPS (A-GPS) in a live cellular network.

The technology incorporates capabilities CSR acquired following the purchase 12 months ago of Nordnav Technologies and Cambridge Positioning Systems. At the time of the deal, CSR said the aim was the development and integration of a software-based enhanced GPS on a Bluetooth chip at an added cost of about $1.

"We are on track with our original plans on how to integrate all the technologies we have for location services on mobile phones, including the business partnerships, infrastructure and educating the market," said Strickland.

He added the company is in discussions with "major players" to create an e-GPS Forum, an independent association of companies, including phone makers, system suppliers and operators working on improving and deploying the infrastructure for global positioning systems in phones.

Strickland said the first members of this association, which would augment other groups with similar aims such as the OMA, would be announced before the Mobile World Congress, which takes place from Feb. 11 in Barcelona, Spain.

He added that the company is working specifically with one mobile handset maker to commercialize its e-GPS technology. "Key parts of equation are already in place," said Strickland. For instance, the technology can be easily embedded into a standard slimline handset, minimizing power usage as well as avoiding conflicts with other handset technologies.

Accurate navigation
Using off-the-shelf mapping software, the handset demonstrator shows highly accurate turn-by-turn navigation driven by signal processing software running entirely upon the embedded host applications processor.

A comparative demo against conventional A-GPS systems shows greatly improved time to first fix in difficult environments and a reliable fallback position based on cellular measurements when AGPS fails. He stressed that the eGPS techniques augment A-GPS with cellular network measurements to provide universal availability of location information, increased responsiveness, and reduced power consumption.

Strickland adds the Bluetooth silicon with embedded support for eGPS allows satellite measurements to be maintained when the host processor is powered down, providing position information on demand while minimizing power and resource loads.

A typical eGPS push-to-fix will be available in less than 4 seconds, accurate to within 10m and require the equivalent power of less than 1 second of handset talk time.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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