Atmel(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML), a global leader in the development and fabrication of advanced semiconductor solutions, and u-blox AG, a leading provider of innovative GPS receiver technology, announced the availability of the ATR0625, a baseband IC with SuperSense(R) GPS weak-signal tracking software included in its ROM. ATR0625 is based on the ANTARIS(R) 4 platform which is a low-power, 16-channel GPS technology developed for automotive, handheld and mobile applications such as OEM car navigation, mobile phones, PDAs, smartphones, personal navigation devices, and recreational consumer products.
Thanks to the integration of the well-proven SuperSense software on masked ROM, an external Flash memory becomes unnecessary. This significantly increases the benefits of the ANTARIS 4 technology – low power consumption and small size. SuperSense, awarded with Frost & Sullivan’s Award for Technology Innovation in 2005, uses a combination of coherent and incoherent tracking combined with variable integration times for the individual satellites. A leading-edge tracking sensitivity of -158 dBm is achieved with a power consumption that remains low at a low signal level.
The ATR0625 is packaged in a low-cost QFN56 package and is pin-compatible with the ATR0622 ANTARIS 4 baseband IC with standard ROM software. This makes it easy for customers to enable their existing products with weak-signal tracking technology. Like all ANTARIS 4 chipsets, the ATR0625 comes with full WAAS/EGNOS support and incorporates state-of-the-art Assisted GPS (A-GPS) with a TTFF as low as four seconds. Further ANTARIS 4 benefits include a significant chipset footprint reduction and unparalleled low power needs. The chip operates at 62 mW, but its power saving modes, together with built-in power management capabilities, can bring power consumption down to as low as 5 microamps, enabling power-critical applications like mobile devices to operate longer without having to compromise on functionality. The on-chip USB connectivity eliminates the need for an expensive serial-to-RS232 or serial-to-USB converter and makes ANTARIS 4 products plug-and-play devices for any PC. The ATR0625 supports serial EEPROM memory, which is a cost- and space-efficient alternative to Flash EPROMs for storage of custom configuration settings. Using a QFN package rather than a BGA results in a cost advantage for the IC itself and the customer’s manufacturing process, as additional steps needed in PCB assembly like X-raying become unnecessary.
“The ATR0625 perfectly addresses the market demand of portable devices where smaller products lead to smaller antennas which have inherently lower performance,” said Frank Gruson, Atmel’s GPS Product Line Manager. “End customers will enjoy excellent tracking accuracy even in after market car applications with shielded windows, for example, which has not been possible up to now.”
“u-blox’ award-winning SuperSense weak-signal tracking software on the chip level brings indoor functionality to our low-power, small-sized ANTARIS 4 positioning engine. This makes the ATR0625 ideal for GPS-enabled mass-market applications that perform reliably and accurately, regardless of whether the user is outdoors, indoors or in difficult signal environments such as urban canyons,” commented Georg zur Bonsen, Product Manager at u-blox.
The ATR0625 works seamlessly together with ATR0601, a highly integrated, low-power GPS radio in a 4 x 4 mm QFN package. As an optional extension to the ANTARIS 4 chipset, the ATR0610, a fully integrated low-noise amplifier manufactured using Atmel’s innovative Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) process, is available for use in challenging reception environments, enabling cost-effective antenna designs.
ATR0625 samples in 8 x 8 mm 56-pin QFN packages are available now. Example designs for a small-form factor module and a high-performance smart antenna are available including design guides, detailed bill of materials, schematics and Gerber files to dramatically shorten development cycle times.
u-blox is an international company headquartered in Switzerland, with sales organizations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1997, u-blox develops leading positioning technology and products based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) for the automotive and mobile communications markets.
Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry’s broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions. Focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets, Atmel ICs can be found Everywhere You Are(R).