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Depending which iPhone rumor you believe, the 3G version of iPhone has either been delayed or already landed on U.S. shores and is on its way to being announced at Apple’s WWDC in San Francisco next month. The interest in the 3G version of the iPhone has been building since AT&T executives “accidentally” talked about it at various events.
But whether it’s a new 2G model or a super-fast 3G, there is one thing that’s for sure: The new iPhone has Global Positioning System (GPS) built into it, thanks to legal requirements put in place by the FCC. The company supplying the GPS to iPhone is going to be a big winner in this space; according to my sources, the contract has been nailed down by Broadcom, a relatively new entrant into the GPS market. The Irvine, Calif.-based chip company had acquired Global Locate in July 2007 for $143 million in cash and $80 million in incentives. In the past such a deal would have gone to someone like SIRF, which is in a bit of pain these days.
A recent report in Popular Mechanics outlines some of Apple’s GPS moves. Last year, Google’s Marissa Meyer told us that the Google Maps usage from iPhone was off the charts. Now imagine that Maps feature married to the built-in GPS; the combo could give location based services a big massive boost. Pelago, an LBS social service has already received $15 million in funding for its iPhone application.
Such applications could drive the demand for iPhones, which in turn could be a pretty good thing for Broadcom. I do wonder what impact it will have on standalone devices and if it will catalyze change and new innovation in that market.
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