For several years now, GPS devices and GPS enabled phones have been a part of our lives. It all started out with having a GPS navigation device in our automobiles to help us get from here to there. Now, we have smartphones and dumbphones that incorporate this technology in the palm of our hands. We use it to navigate around, sure; but we also use it for other things as well. We use it for tagging our photographs, our tweets, and other things. Take a look at the iTunes App Store at how many apps rely on pinpointing your location with the GPS. It truly has become a technology that has far exceeded its original purpose.
Now, the company that makes the chips for GPS devices, SiRF Technology has came out with a brand new chip: the SiRFstar IV, which touts many improvements that could help all of us that utilize this fantastic technology. According to the manufacturer, this new chip consumes 20 times less power than its previous model. The updated chip will also take less time to get a lock on its position, due to a lower power state. The new chip is also cheaper than its predecessor, which makes it very attractive.
All of these new features make it seem like this new chip is a perfect fit for a smartphone, which is exactly what SiRF Technology wants. Recently, phone manufacturers have moved away from a dedicated GPS chip to an AGPS setup, which relies on cell tower triangulation to fix your position. This new chip appears to be a response to this trend, and an attempt by SiRF Technology to reintigrate true GPS into smartphones.
I believe that SiRF Technology’s new chip is a step in the right direction. Assisted GPS is okay; but if a dedicated chip with these specs was placed in a smartphone, it would offer a quite an improvement. This new chip would signfiicantly cut those times down, if not out. That would be so nice! The right direction is faster locking, less battery, and dedicated chip. Hopefully we will start seeing this one make its way into some of the upcoming smart phones soon. What do you think?