Air Semiconductor Aims to Gain GPS IC Market Share: Focuses on Always-On Functionality through Dynamic Power Management

Mobile devices that include GPS receivers often do not keep the feature activated continually. If the opposite were true, the resulting power consumption from constantly tracking and acquiring satellite signals, processing the information and then updating a device’s position-fix would rapidly drain the battery. The only GPS receivers that are kept on are those with access to very large or constantly renewed power supplies. Within the consumer domain, perhaps the most obvious examples are GPS-enabled PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices) or Sat-Navs, which are connected to a vehicle’s (constantly recharging) accumulator battery. The issue of power consumption has made always-on GPS receivers (those that provide constant positioning updates, along with the applications that could take advantage of such functionality) the preserve of markets beyond the wireless domain. Yet there is a potential market for ultra-high-mobility, always-on GPS receivers. It is this market that the fabless manufacturer and new entrant, AIR Semiconductor, is eager to target with its Airwave 1 “total location, single-chip” autonomous GPS solution (i.e., integrated GPS RF IC, GPS baseband IC, and dedicated application microprocessor).

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