updated 11:30 am EST, Fri February 9, 2007
SiRF GPS for Cellphones
SiRF, the company behind the SiRFstar III chip used in more recent GPS units, said today that it had developed a brand-new GPS receiver chip that could bring mapping to small devices where the technology was previously too impractical. Known officially as the GSD3t, the chip has a surface area of only 1cm (0.4 inches) squared while also consuming less power than the company's earlier chipset. The improvement should let even normal cellphones include live GPS, the firm said, and will reduce the price enough to make its use more feasible. The chip is expected to demo at next week's 3GSM phone conference.
In addition to paving the way for more widespread use of GPS in cellphones -- which must normally be large to accommodate live positioning -- the GSD3t may also lend support to a claim made by Prudential analyst Jesse Tortora, who recently alleged that the next generation of Apple's iPod might use GPS for navigation. Apple's upcoming iPhone is slated to ship with Google Maps but currently has no GPS receiver, preventing it from locating the owner's actual position.