Your phone’s GPS is about to get a massive upgrade

“The GPS receiver in some of next year’s smartphones will be accurate to within about 30cm or 1ft, instead of five meters or 16.4ft, according to IEEE Spectrum,” Liam Tung reports for ZDNet. “That new level of accuracy will be in phones equipped with Broadcom’s new BCM47755, “the world’s first mass-market, dual-frequency” global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver. Broadcom said the chip has been included in the design of some phones set for release in 2018, according to IEEE Spectrum.”

“The new GPS receiver offers phones traffic lane-level accuracy, which should vastly improve vehicle navigation while benefiting location-dependent apps, such as ride hailing services, augmented reality, and fitness apps,” Tung reports. “Better yet, it should mean longer lasting phone batteries as the BCM47755 uses less than half the power of Broadcom’s previous receivers, according to the chip maker. The chip is equipped to receive signals from GPS satellites, Russia’s Glonass, Europe’s Galileo, and China’s BeiDou navigation satellite systems.”

“Broadcom says it’s testing the new chip with partners and customers but hasn’t revealed their names,” Tung reports. “The chip will be available for phones, tablets and wearables.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: More accurate run-tacking – if they can fit into future Apple Watches (that “wearables” are mentioned is promising). The days of hauling our iPhones along on runs are over forever.

15 Comments

    1. Good point. I read years ago that the consumer GPS we use is purposely downgraded so it couldn’t be used for reliable military operations. As described, these Broadcom chips do indeed take us into military grade GPS territory. Wonder what has changed that they are being allowed to provide this much accuracy?

      1. ‘Selective availability’ has been disabled by Bill Clinton in his last year as president. With that switched on you only had 100 Meter or 300ft accuracy and a 100 mph speedlimit

  1. Mobile device accuracy has always been of interest to me. Years ago I was carrying a Palm Treo with an external GPS receiver and an iPhone when I was with a surveyor. My notes:

    I had a chance to follow a surveyor who was marking points with an $80,000 GPS. I shot the same points using a Palm Treo 700P/Global Sat BT GPSr that I know to be pretty accurate and an iPhone using MobileX. For 9 pts., TREO avg diff for LAT was 5.63′ and for LONG was 6.19′. For iPhone, 18′ and 8.76′, respectively. It was an open area. I agree that the iPhone is not as sensitive — it takes awhile to update, where the Treo updates with every step — but the accuracy isn’t too bad.

    1. The new Broadcom chip will support the detection of satellite signals of two frequencies, not just one as all chips before — hence the new level of accuracy. Also, the new chip will consume twice less.

    1. Current iPhones already use other means such as Wi-Fi and GSM antennas if you don’t turn off Wi-Fi or put it into Airplane mode (Airplane mode allows the GPS reception).
      To my knowledge Apple hides that information from the developers and it is not possible to view satellite signal levels as you are able to see on a standalone GPS receiver.

    2. The iPhone and other mobile devices have made use of true GPS satellite data for years. They use cell and wifi triangulation to assist accuracy. The new GPS receivers in the article “simply” provide more accuracy from the core GPS satellites signals.

  2. So how does my “…Phone’s GPS Get A Massive Upgrade” when the chip will only appear in next year’s phones. Shouldn’t that be “Your future phone’s GPS…” ????

  3. NSA loves this tracking ability that it can simply purchase from an aggregator or tap in directly into your lives. Hey, that’s what NSA does.

    I have notices that the US and many other “democratic” as well as theocratic and overtly oppressive nations are instituting more restrictive policies. This more accurate GPS is of help.

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