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Smartphone GPS accuracy could jump from 5m to 30cm in 2018

Broadcom Limited has revealed a new smartphone GPS chip said to be more accurate and twice as power efficient as those currently in use.

Published onSeptember 26, 2017

Smartphones have revolutionized the way with travel thanks to their integrated GPS systems. With apps like Google Maps, getting lost is a rarity. Coming in 2018, a new smartphone GPS chip is set to make these systems even better, with accuracy increasing from the 5 meters to just 30 centimeters.

At the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland last week, wireless technology company Broadcom Limited announced the new chip — known as the BCM47755 — and said it had already been included in the designs for some upcoming (and unnamed) smartphones.

This news was delivered by IEEE Spectrum, a magazine from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which noted that the chip would also be more energy efficient, consuming “half the power of today’s generation of chips.” Further, you can also expect the GPS functionality to continue even “in a city’s concrete canyons.”

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This would all be achieved thanks to the chip’s use of both L1 and L5 category signals, which determine where a subject is based on how long it takes the signals to reach a receiver from a satellite. This would mark the first time that a mass-market chip would accommodate both L1 and L5 signals.

Broadcom is said to be sampling the chip now and it’s expected to appear in some 2018 smartphones. Whether it will be ready in time for the likes of the LG G7 and Galaxy S9 remains to be seen.

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