Irvine, Calif. – Broadcom Corporation has claimed the industry's first low-power Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and sensor hub combo chip to deliver new always-on location applications for a variety of mobile devices. By integrating the GNSS chip and sensor hub into a single chip, the new BCM4773 device minimizes battery drain and adds a new layer of intelligence to location technology on mobile devices, said Broadcom.
Broadcom's architecture enables information from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart, GPS and micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) to be calculated on a single system-on-chip (SoC) instead of the application processor (AP). A standalone microcontroller offloads fusing of sensor data from the AP to maximize power savings. By offloading from the AP, the design delivers more than 80 percent power savings while reducing board area by 34 percent, according to the company.
"Broadcom today extends its leadership by announcing the industry's first combo chip that brings GNSS and sensor hub technology together to revolutionize mobile apps in areas such as health, fitness and lifelogging," said Mohamed Awad, Broadcom Director, Wireless Connectivity, in a statement. "We are proud to make all mobile platforms even smarter by enabling them to dynamically predict and react to consumers' needs."
The chip also brings more intelligence to context awareness by integrating GNSS and providing a direct connection to the Wi-Fi combo chip, allowing a mobile device to know where a user is and what the user is doing to further personalize the experience, said Broadcom. An example cited shows a BCM4773-based smartphone can use information from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart, GPS and MEMS to recognize when a runner is outdoors versus inside on a treadmill and dynamically manage these technologies to save battery life and optimize the user experience without using the main AP.
Other features include concurrent support for five different satellite systems, including GPS, GLONASS, SBAS, QZSS and BeiDou; ultra-low-power on-chip positioning for background and foreground using GNSS, and on-chip Wi-Fi positioning using a direct connect communication protocol to the Wi-Fi SoC. The chip also provides batching support for all devices connected to the location hub, including Wi-Fi, MEMS and GNSS.
Availability: The Broadcom BCM4773 is currently in production.