Broadcom chip eases location tracking's thirst for power
The company says its new location chip can support uses such as geofencing all day
IDG News Service - Broadcom says it's invented a chip that can tell your phone where you are all the time without quickly draining your battery.
The BCM47521 chip, which will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress next week, should make it easier to use apps that react to the user's location, said Richard Najarian, senior director of business development for GPS at Broadcom. That could include tools that mute an employee's ringer when they enter the office, send a text message when a child leaves school grounds, or tell a retailer when a loyal shopper is near a store.
In the past, such apps have drained batteries too much to be used all the time, Najarian said. Constantly checking the phone's location now consumes hundreds of milliamp-hours per day from phone batteries that typically store about 2500 milliamp-hours of energy, he said.
The BCM47521 slashes that power use by about 90 percent, according to Broadcom. The company's engineers achieved the savings by integrating functions inside the chip that previously required a call to the phone's general application processor and memory, Najarian said. Starting up a 1.5GHz CPU in a smartphone every time an app wants to know the phone's location comes with a cost in power.
Broadcom says its new chip is useful for more than geofencing. It has two modes for different uses, with different levels of precision. The background geofencing function only uses satellite-based systems such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and the Russian GLONASS service. Those are accurate enough for most geofencing apps, which typically track location down to the nearest 50 meters, Najarian said.
For apps that demand greater accuracy, such as turn-by-turn navigation, the BCM47521 has a high-precision mode that can tap into Wi-Fi and inertial sensors in the phone. Those can give more information about precise location and which way you're heading. But to get that data, the chip still has to go into the application processor and main memory.
Phones built with the BCM47521 should hit the market by the second quarter of this year, according to Broadcom.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more