Broadcom Limited’s latest offering is a dual frequency GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) receiver device (or an innovative GPS chip), that would increase the efficiency and accuracy of location based services in mobile devices, tablets as well as wearables. Now, a news related to the making of a new GPS chip might not sound as exciting as one which contains significant leaks and renders of Google’s upcoming line of Pixel devices, or something related to Samsung’s new foldable phone; but if it is said that Broadcom’s new BCM47755 GPS chip is capable of giving a way better location accuracy along with significantly reducing the battery consumption of your device, and that it might make its way in some of the smartphones in 2018, then it is something to take notice of.
Announced at the ION GNSS+ Conference, the BCM47755 chip will give the upcoming generation of smartphones a 30 meter location accuracy instead of marking you within the 500 meters of your actual location. This would be achieved by broadcasting a newer and more complex L5 signal, in addition to the traditional L1 signal. The receiver would use these signals in sync to lock its position with respect to the satellites, to provide more accurate real time positions. In simple terms, the new chip would first lock its position with the satellite using the L1 signal, and then refine its calculated position using L5.
And all this, Broadcom says, would be achieved at a cost of minimum power consumption. How did Broadcom achieve this? A power efficient 28nm chip manufacturing process, coupled with a new radio architecture and a power saving dual core sensor hub, is what helped them to accomplish this new feat.
The use of L5 signals for navigation is not new. Up until now, they were being used for industrial purposes, like oil and gas explorations; but with Broadcom’s new chip, for the first time L5 would find their way onto the general consumer products. Manuel del Castillo, associate director of GNSS product marketing at Broadcom, thinks this is the “right moment to launch” because now there are satellites orbiting the sky that can transmit the newer generation of L5 signals.
As of now, Broadcom hasn’t really announced the devices which have been lined up to feature the new chip, but if the dual frequency GNSS receiver is as promising as it sounds, then this is something to look out for in 2018.