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SiRFstarII GPS Chipset Becomes Smaller, Uses less Power


Continuing its tradition of technology innovation, SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of GPS enabled location technology, today unveiled the SiRFstarIIx family of chipsets and software that is designed to bring a market leading combination of small size, low power and cost-effectiveness to the popular SiRFstarII architecture.

Available in three different flavors (GSC2x, GSC2xr and GSC2xrx) the SiRFstarIIx product family consumes one third the power and is literally half the size of its predecessor, SiRFstarIIe/LP, the high volume market leader for GPS chipsets. GSC2xr and GSC2xrx further reduce size and overall system cost by eliminating the need for an external flash memory. Utilizing a combination of innovative architecture and packaging combined with more advanced process technologies, SiRFstarIIx is able to achieve all this without compromising on performance. As a result, manufacturers can build products that are smaller and less expensive, thus helping further drive GPS into the consumer mainstream.

“We surveyed the market to find out what manufacturers and consumers alike want in GPS systems, and the answer was consistent: lower power, smaller size, and lower cost without compromising performance,” according to Kanwar Chadha, founder and vice president of marketing for SiRF Technology. “By delivering a market leading combination of these features, we’ll now be able to address the cost and power consumption sensitive markets more effectively, bringing GPS into the hands of even more consumers.”

“SiRF has a well deserved reputation for anticipating the needs of the mainstream consumer GPS market,” according to Will Strauss, founder of Forward Concepts, a market research firm specializing in wireless technologies. “With this announcement, the company is creating a very attractive combination of a low power, lower cost GPS solution in a very small form-factor. This is good news for GPS manufacturers and consumers alike — since an even wider range of devices will be possible, and at a lower price point than ever before.”

The SiRFstarIIx product line, which offers SiRFstarII class performance, whittles the need for three chips to one or two by integrating the RF and baseband into one package and in the case of GSC2xr & GSC2xrx, removing the need for external flash — a measure that also simplifies implementation for manufacturers. The size itself has been reduced from a baseband chip measuring 10 x 10mm and an RF chip measuring 5 x 5mm to a single chip measuring 10 x 7mm.

Power is also dramatically reduced: full power operation is reduced from 180mW on the SiRFstarIIe/LP to 60mW on the SiRFstarIIx and TricklePower is reduced from 80mW to 25mW. SiRFstarIIx’s internal software is highly flexible, allowing use of a variety of configurations from blinking LEDs, varying baud rates and protocols. This makes the internal software more usable to a larger cross-section of GPS customers. Three flavors of chips address applications of various kinds:

  • — GSC2x for use with external Flash for customers who need to take
    advantage of the in-built ARM CPU for applications such as a GPS
    handheld or to run the SiRFDRive(TM) dead reckoning technology for
    enhanced positioning accuracy and availability.
  • — GSC2xr uses internal ROM with SiRF’s GSW2 standard software for cost
    sensitive customers.
  • — GSC2xrx uses internal ROM with SiRFXTrac software, a premium product
    for customers who want high-sensitivity GPS.

The chipset can incorporate additional functionality and features such as SiRF’s adaptive TricklePower(TM) advanced power management technology for reduced power consumption. All members of the family utilize 0.13 micron CMOS process for baseband section and SiGe technology for the RF section.

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