Next year’s GPS chips will give you one foot accuracy

GPS is pretty accurate these days. We’re past the days of weak or nonexistent GPS signals (yes, I used to own a Captivate and I’m still a bit scarred), but it could be better. How often does Google Maps think you took an off ramp on the freeway when you missed it? How often are you staring at a list of GPS satellites constantly connecting and disconnecting in plain view of the sky? Nope, that last one is just a Galaxy S flashback.

Next year, Broadcom will implement a new GPS chip into devices that will greatly improve accuracy. The previous three to five meter range will be reduced to just 30 centimeters. That’s going from 9-15 feet down to under a foot. The difference will best be felt in dense cities, but everyone will benefit from higher accuracy.

While we don’t know what devices will be using this GPS chip next year, but it’s likely many of our favorite flagships won’t be seeing it. Qualcomm supplies a majority of GPS chips in the smartphone market, so it might take a while for us to see any improvement in common phones.

Report: Incredibly Accurate GPS Chips are Coming to Smartphones Next Year

GPS on smartphones today can be hit or miss for a lot of people. There are times in which it is actually right on point, but then there are other times that it seems to pin you on a completely different street, usually taking far too long to correct itself. Android has tried to improve this by triangulating your location from a number of sensors including GPS, WiFi, Cellular, etc. However, this issue could be coming to an end soon as Broadcom has just unveiled a new GPS chip that is said to bring 30-centimeter accuracy.

Most GPS chips in smartphones today claim to be within 5 meters of accuracy when it comes to determining your location. As mentioned, Android tries to improve this by using data from other components in your smartphone. For instance, you’re only using the GPS sensor in your smartphone if you have the location mode set to Device Only. A lot of people will bump this up to Battery Saving mode though and it will try to figure out your location using WiFi, Bluetooth or your mobile network.

Some Android features require you to have the location mode set to High Accuracy though, and this is when your phone will use data from GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth and your mobile network. This whole method could change in the future if Broadcom’s new chip is widely accepted in the smartphone market. The company was recently at the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland and it was there that they showed off their new GPS chip called BCM47755.

Instead of the 5-meter accuracy target that current GPS chips have, Broadcom claims this new one will be able to narrow your location down to about 30 centimeters. The new chip is said to work better in the city with a bunch of concrete surrounding you, and should use about half the battery life compared to what we see in devices today. Broadcom has even said the new chip has been included in the design of some smartphones slated for release in 2018, but didn’t give any details on which ones or who they would be from.

Via: Android Police Source: IEEE Spectrum

Huawei releases Band 2 Pro in the US for $69.99

The Huawei Band 2 Pro is the latest Huawei wearables that has made it to the US. The fitness band features a 7-hour continuous use battery, built in GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, 5ATM waterproofing for swimming, sleep tracking, and support for notifications. Here are the main specs:

  • Size: 44 mm x 19.7 mm x 10.3 mm (H × W × D)
  • Strap Length: 114.67 mm + 101.35 mm
  • Screen: PMOLED black and white screen
  • Weight: Approximately 21 g
  • Bluetooth: 2.4 GHz; Bluetooth 4.2 protocol; Bluetooth connection distance < 10 m (in an open area)
  • Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer; detached PPG cardio tachometer; infrared wear sensor
  • OS: Android 4.4 or higher, iOS 8.0 or higher
  • Charging Method: Two PIN charging port, connected to charging cradle through clip

The device is paired with Huawei’s fitness app, which has coaching for training, running, and even relaxation and breathing. And when you’re not using it, the device can last 21 days on a charge.

Starting today, you can pick one up on Amazon for $69.99 in black, red, or blue. It’s a solid addition to Huawei’s (large) wearable lineup and is reasonably priced. How many of you are planning to pick one up? Leave a comment!

Google Maps introduces parking difficulty in 25 areas

Google Maps is a great way to get to your destination, but getting there is only half the battle. You can get where you’re going on time and not be able to find parking for half an hour.

The latest update to Google Maps will now gauge parking difficulty and display either easy, medium, or limited before you start navigation. This will allow you to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to finding parking once you get there. If you’ve ever tried to find parking in San Francisco, you’ll know how useful this is.

This info is based on historical parking availability and is now available in these areas: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento.

Check the feature out and let us know what you think!