CSR’s Sirf Technology division is announcing a new navigation chip today that can be the brains of location-aware gadgets.
As this new “location processor” chip gains adoption, we should see an increase in the variety and quality of GPS gadgets. These gadgets include new breeds of digital cameras, portable game players, wearable gadgets and other
consumer devices. Those devices will be able to geotag output such as photos that tell you exactly where they were taken. And keeping track of its own location won’t chew up all of a gadget’s battery life, since the new chips are power efficient.
“This furthers our vision of making location a part of everyday life,” said Kanwar Chadha, chief marketing officer for CSR and founder of Sirf. Sirf, which was acquired by CSR in June for $136 million, makes chips that can fix a location by triangulating on satellite signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS) network. Back in July, Sirf launched a new generation of GPS chips, dubbed SiRFstarIV, which could be built into cell phones. Those chips had the ability to quickly get a fix on location, even in the absence of a clear satellite signal, by making intelligent guesses. And the chips add perhaps $5 to cost of a cell phone.
Those chips were low-cost versions that relied upon a cell phone’s built-in microprocessor for some functions. But the new Sirf chips, dubbed GSD43, have a built-in microprocessor that is part of the chip. That means they can be inserted into devices that don’t have their own processors, such as tiny gadgets and non-phone devices. With a built-in processor, these chips will cost a little more, but they can be used in a wider array of devices, said Chadha.
One new feature in the newest chips is called GeoRecovery. When the device is awoken from sleep mode, it can make a quick guess at its location, based on where it was during its last fix and how much it might have moved. As more accurate data comes in, the device adjust its location to be more precise. The company is announcing the new chips at the Location 2.0 Summit in San Diego, Calif. Seven major makers of GPS modules are designing gadgets with the new Sirf chips. Those vendors include Vincotech, Navman Wireless, Kyocera, Mitsumi and SEMCO. The chips are expected to ship in mass quantities in the first quarter of 2010.