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Summary:

Today Broadcom said it will add Wi-Fi-enabled geolocation sensing to its portfolio of GPS chips, which use satellites to determine where a device is. The move expands Broadcom’s location-based services portfolio and highlights the importance of location-tracking as a feature on phones, laptops and other consumer […]

Today Broadcom said it will add Wi-Fi-enabled geolocation sensing to its portfolio of GPS chips, which use satellites to determine where a device is. The move expands Broadcom’s location-based services portfolio and highlights the importance of location-tracking as a feature on phones, laptops and other consumer devices. Broadcom will license the Wi-Fi location technology from Boston-based Skyhook Wireless.

Skyhook also has a deal with GPS chipmakers SiRF and CSR and even provided location through Wi-Fi on the first generation iPhone, which did not contain a GPS chip. Adding Wi-Fi to its chips gives Broadcom a backup option when GPS won’t work. Satellite signals don’t always penetrate buildings or urban areas, making it challenging to get an accurate location. Skyhook’s Wi-Fi positioning technology uses a database of registered Wi-Fi networks to triangulate a person’s position. Since Wi-Fi is often used indoors and in urban areas, the two technologies work well together.

With integrated Wi-Fi-location and GPS on a chip Broadcom can offer device makers better location detection. It also means any device wanting to take advantage of the hybrid technology will need a Wi-Fi chip, which Broadcom will happily sell. Consumers would benefit too as it could mean more Wi-Fi enabled phones.

  1. I wonder where they came up with that concept. Another point for Apple’s iPhone that has had hybrid GPS since 1.1, and now blends hybrid into satellite driven GPS with 2.0+ I recently wrote on my blog about the iPhone’s GPS, which surprised me with its abilities. Here’s the link if you’re interested. http://johnkendrick.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/iphone-does-gps/

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  2. [...] users, but for anyone interested in mobile VoIP applications or any of the social applications that use Wi-Fi to pinpoint their location, having Wi-Fi continuously enabled is a [...]

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  3. [...] need three main things: a way to get location (which we have thanks to GPS chips and even the ability to triangulate using Wi-Fi networks), software that can make sense of geographic information and do something with it (which are out), [...]

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  4. [...] It also benefits from the fact that it’s a neutral provider, making it more attractive as a partner for chip makers such as Broadcom and software companies such as browser-maker Opera. And, of course, [...]

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