Chip enables one-second GPS tracking

A new chip designed for portable wireless devices combines the coverage of two satellite-based navigation services to offer a location tracking time of less than one second.

The u-blox 5 chip, which Switzerland's U-blox AG plans to unveil at the 3GSM World Congress event in Barcelona next month, uses two global navigation satellite services: GPS (Global Positioning System), which was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, and Europe's Galileo, the vendor said Wednesday.

The technology has a tracking sensitivity of -160 dBm, which enables indoor coverage. The abbreviation dBm represents the power ratio in decibels (dB) with respect to 1 milliwatt (mW).

With a power consumption of less than 50 mW, the u-blox 5 chip allows GPS-enabled mobile phones and other wireless devices to operate in difficult indoor environments, such as shopping malls and train stations.

In addition to its satellite-based navigation chip, U-blox will use the 3GSM event to show several other new products, including AssistNow Offline, which stores data in the GPS receiver for up to two weeks. The technology allows the receiver to compute a position instantly without having to connect to a mobile network at startup to download the data, as is the case with typical GPS services.

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