CSR's SiRFstarV learns new tricks from smartphones

GPS chip ‘breakthrough’ promises faster, better indoors locations

Chipmaker CSR has unveiled a new GPS location chipset called SiRFstarV which the firm called a ‘breakthrough’ in location and navigation by providing accurate indoor locations.

The SiRFstarV chips, due to arrive in devices next year, uses what the firm calls SiRFusion in order to gather information from GPS, Galileo, Glonass and Compass satellites as well as radio systems such as cellular towers and Wi-Fi.

The chip also includes accelerometer, gyro and compass support.

"We have taken a fundamentally new approach to location and navigation that achieves a seamless transition between outdoor and indoor navigation by combining real-time and cloud-based location information from a multitude of sources and processing it right on the mobile device," said CSR mobile chief Dave Huntingford.

Using Wi-Fi and cell towers is hardly new, smartphones have been doing this for some time by taking advantage of cell phone tower locations as well as Wi-Fi signals.

High end GPS chip-vendors such as CSR have struggled of late to compete with integrated offerings from rival chipmakers such as Qualcomm but has obtained some design wins for the previous SiRFstar4, notably the Samsung Galaxy S2.

Mobile phone platforms such as iOS and Android have built massive databases of Wi-Fi access point geographic locations, all of which can be used to obtain a rapid fix indoors or with GPS switched off.

The SiRFstarV chip is effectively taking a leaf from the smartphone location playbook but the company claims that a continuously connected hardware solution will deliver the best indoors accuracy so far.

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