updated 11:40 am EDT, Tue July 28, 2009
CSR SiRFstar IV GPS Chip
CSR's GPS division SiRF today introduced SiRFstar IV, a new generation of GPS chipsets ultimately intended for smartphones and other particularly low-power handhelds. It improves on the longstanding SiRFstar III used in many dedicated navigators by supporting a new very low-power state. Rather than have to shut off completely when not in use to save battery life, it can enter a near-sleep state that can acquire a position fix much faster than it would from a cold start.
The fully-awake hardware also has twice the search capacity and can get a position lock both faster and with more accuracy. It should also be more resistant to cross-talk from Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other wireless signals common to many smartphones.
One of the first chips to use SiRFstar IV, the GSD4t, is tailored explicitly for phones, cameras and other tightly-packed devices; it provides all the features of the new architecture but is just 20mm square (0.03 square inches). Companies can have access to engineering samples now, although mass production is scheduled for October and will have the earliest devices shipping soon afterwards.
Most cellphones and other non-navigation hardware with GPS usually depends on a chipset provided by a company that already makes dedicated phone components, such as Apple's use of Infineon's Hammerhead II in the iPhone 3G and 3GS. SiRFstar IV represents one of the first opportunities for these companies to use an outside GPS receiver.