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Treo With Built-In GPS Available Soon?

As I have often repeated in the past, I am absolutely fascinated by the GPS navigation on my Treo (see Accessory of the Year) which currently requires both hardware (a Bluetooth GPS receiver) and software (TomTom Navigator for the Treo 650 and CoPilot Live for Treo 700w).

I was therefore keeping my eyes and ears open at CTIA in Las Vegas las week for any new developments in the wireless GPS arena.  I met with a company called NemeriX that develops the GPS chipsets that power many current receivers and which focuses on patented ultra low power and ultra small footprint solutions to deliver compact designs with long battery life.  The company claims a 70% reduction in power consumption and chip size over competing offerings – ideal combinations for wireless devices such as our Treo.

Among others I was surprised to learn that some of the current NemeriX powered GPS receivers (above right) are already able to deliver better operating performance via a package that is 46% lighter and has a 59% smaller battery than competing devices.

In the picture above you can see one of NemeriX’ integrated GPS circuits placed on my Treo screen – it is about half the size of a postage stamp.  According to the company this chipset (next generation ones will be even smaller) could be easily built-in to future Treo models at costs approaching those of current integrated Bluetooth chipsets (well under $10 per unit) thus eliminating the need for Treonauts to purchase costly and bulky external BT/GPS receivers. 

Evidently this is an extremely strong business proposition and this is undoubtedly why analysts project (above) the market for wireless GPS chipsets to more than double between 2006 and 2009 and become the single largest category in the process.  The current global GPS market is estimated to be worth over $16 Billion in 2006 and nearly $24 Billion by 2009 (with GPS chipsets accounting for 4% of this market).

I can imagine that Palm will already have envisaged a future Treo with built-in GPS and I hope that releases in 2007 or 2008 might incorporate this.  If and when it happens we will among others finally be able to benefit from the promises of so-called Location Based Services (LBS) which would for example allow you to rapidly pinpoint the nearest Italian restaurant or petrol station to your current location.

Treonauts always want the best for the future

Posted by Andrew on April 10, 2006 at 06:44 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo GPS

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by Atif | Apr 10, 2006 11:23:32 AM

What about the GPS antenna? Does the small integrated chip shown on the Treo screen include an antenna to pick up the GPS signals??

by george | Apr 10, 2006 10:26:55 PM

2007 or 2008? geez, HP has a windows mobile unit releasing this summer with built in gps. treo/palm better get their act together quick!

by MikeVZ | Apr 11, 2006 12:48:51 AM

Verizon offers LBS and GPS services on two handsets currently on the market; the Motorola 325 and LG 9800. The 325 was hyped as the first device to be GPS capable, with the use of a get-it-now program called VZ Navigator. The handset and the program launched together. It wasn't until several weeks later that the LG 9800 was announced as compatible, even though the 9800 had hit the market many months prior. The 9800 did not launch with this capability, suggesting that it was a software upgrade, not a hardware upgrade. Can the same technology that made the 9800 GPS capable make other existing cellular devices GPS capable without added hardware chipsets? All VZ phones are e911 GPS compatible, why can't this technology be used for LBS?

by Jason | Apr 11, 2006 7:25:36 AM

I would rather see them put a GPS unit in my Treo then a camera.

by Jc | Apr 22, 2006 8:39:11 PM

I recently bought the Tom Tom car bundle kit with the Seidio G4850 (gps Reciever in dock. blue tooth) for my treo and It says GPS NOT FOUND. I installed everything on a Mac. Can any one help me out? why is my blue tooth not detecting the Gps reciever?

by Josh | May 4, 2006 2:18:56 PM

Have you ever looked at the DeLorme "Blue Logger"?

It's a Bluetooth enabled GPS reciever with DeLorme map software available.



by Bubba | Jan 10, 2007 12:22:09 PM

Andrew, in your review of GPS units, can you expand a little on how well the software itself works? I am a huge Garmin fan, but have found that the software (particularly the routing feature) tends to always want to push you to a major highway, and despite making all the changes recommended by Garmin tech support (outstanding, by the way) their software tends to ignore surface streets. If TomTom software is better at direct routing vs. pushing to major roads, then you've sold me.

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