Addressing increasing consumer demand for GPS, Bluetooth wireless technology and FM radio in mobile handsets, Texas Instruments Incorporated (NYSE: TXN) (TI) announced its NaviLink 6.0(TM) (NL5500) solution, the industry’s first single chip that combines assisted global positioning satellite (A-GPS), Bluetooth 2.1 and ultra low power technologies, as well as FM receive/transmit capabilities. Built on TI’s DRP(TM) single-chip technology at 65 nanometer (nm), the highly-integrated and cost-effective solution enables manufacturers to introduce sleek, affordable and high-performance handsets with GPS capabilities to the large mid-tier market and drive increased usage of popular GPS-based applications such as 3-D mapping, location-based services and safety services. The mobile user experience is further enhanced by enabling consumers to enjoy simultaneous activities such as navigating, having a conversation using a Bluetooth headset, while also transmitting an MP3 file to the car radio using the FM transmit capability.
Connectivity technologies on the rise
Market trend reports and forecasts predict strong and growing demand for GPS, Bluetooth and FM in handsets. “We see a strong correlation between the demand for including the combination of GPS and Bluetooth functionality, with GPS attach rates reaching 30 percent and Bluetooth penetration approaching 70 percent by 2011,” said Patrick Connolly, senior GPS analyst at IMS Research. “Accordingly, we believe that combo devices that integrate both technologies will play a major part in the uptake of GPS in the cellular market over the next four years – reducing cost, size and power consumption, while also maintaining performance.”
Building upon TI’s proven expertise in delivering combo or multiple-radio processors, NaviLink 6.0 is the third generation of the company’s highly integrated single-chip GPS devices. This new solution leverages TI’s Bluetooth and FM cores, which are already embedded in the company’s BlueLink(TM) 7.0 Bluetooth, and WiLink(TM) 6.0 mobile WiFi devices. NaviLink 6.0 reduces board space by up to 40 percent, enabling the smallest possible phones and reduces power consumption by up to 50 percent over previous TI solutions.
“NaviLink 6.0 enables TI’s customers to further enhance the mobile user experience by bringing popular GPS functionality and mobile connectivity to broader market segments,” said Remi El-Ouazzane, vice president of TI’s Wireless Terminals Business Unit. “With TI’s unparalleled ability to effectively and efficiently combine multiple radios on a single die, the NaviLink 6.0 solution delivers an enhanced user experience in an affordable package to meet our customers’ requirements.”
Solving customers’ challenges with coexistence and fast TTFF
The NaviLink 6.0 solution also addresses the complex coexistence challenge. TI’s hardware implementation and software algorithms are optimized to ensure seamless coexistence between GPS, Bluetooth, FM, WLAN and the cellular functions. As more connectivity technologies are integrated into cell phones, the more challenging it becomes to ensure minimal interference between the various radios in these complex mobile phone systems.
Another important customer concern is the time it takes the GPS system to identify the starting position – called “time to first fix” (TTFF) and the accuracy of that position. The NaviLink 6.0 solution includes enhanced patent pending algorithms to dramatically reduce the TTFF by up to 80 percent over previous TI solutions. Integrated “position optimizer” software also includes support for navigation sensors, delivering superior accuracy in weak satellite signal areas, such as urban centers and heavily wooded areas.
Handsets with NaviLink 6.0 are expected to be on the market by the second half of 2009.
More info: Texas Instruments