Motorola GPS chip finds mobile gear

Motorola is unveiling a global positioning system chip it says is the first GPS satellite sensor small enough and hence cheap enough for practical use in consumer-electronics devices such as cell phones and notebook computers. The Instant GPS chip will give users of such devices the ability to tap into a satellite system and pinpoint their geographic location. Measuring only 49 square millimeters, or less than half the area of a Pentium 4 processor, the chip will sell for roughly $10 in volume quantities, said Tim McCarthy, business director for GPS at Motorola's Automotive Group's Telematics Division. That should let device makers add GPS for about a quarter of the cost of current multiple chipsets, which run about $40.

"All of a sudden, starting 10 or 15 years ago, every electronics device had a clock," McCarthy said. "I see position awareness going down that same path. It's just a question of how long it takes."

Cellular phones with Enhanced 911 will likely be the first devices to adopt the Instant GPS chip, which Motorola is set to announce Tuesday. The chip could also be built into PDAs or laptop computers to aid in reading maps, and it could be used in walkie-talkies to provide an extra margin of safety for outdoor activities such as skiing.

"There are a lot of PDAs and notebooks in vertical applications, such as hospitals or tracking inventory, and there's a need to know the location of those terminals," said Allen Noge, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. "If it's an electronics device that moves around, there's some benefit to being able to determine your location," McCarthy said.

News source: ZDNet

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