Chipmaker CSR has introduced a long-awaited device that integrates GPS and Bluetooth onto a single chip, which could drive up the number of handsets that include GPS as standard.
First announced last year, the BlueCore BC7830, part of the BlueCore 7 family, is the first chip from CSR to have Enhanced GPS capability as well as Bluetooth v2.1 with high-speed enhanced data rate extensions.
The chip also includes FM transmit and receive functions, and supports the Bluetooth Low Energy standard.
CSR is the largest supplier of Bluetooth chips, representing approximately 50 per cent of the global market. Adding GPS support means that the technology is likely to filter through into a wider number of handsets.
"We think of this as making it possible to add GPS to handsets such as feature phones that could not tolerate the cost before," said Martin Reidevall, European marketing manager at CSR.
Supporting GPS adds less than $1 (72p) to the bill of materials for a handset designed to take a CSR Bluetooth chip, the company said.
While the BC7830 may not be the first chip to integrate Bluetooth and GPS, CSR said that its design requires fewer external components and is smaller, measuring just 11 sq mm, which means that it can fit into slimmer handset designs.
Reidevall said that getting GPS into more phones should drive more location-aware applications and services, pointing to the success Google Maps has already enjoyed on smartphones with built-in GPS.
CSR claimed that the BC7830 is also the first production chip to implement the Bluetooth Low Energy standard (formerly known as WiBree), which is designed to link phones with small battery-powered devices such as wristwatches or step counters for joggers.
The chip's FM transmit and receive functions can be used to transmit audio to a car stereo or home hi-fi stack when playing digital music tracks. All of the chip's functions can be used simultaneously, according to Reidevall.
The BlueCore BC7830 is sampling today, with broad availability coming in Q2 of 2009. CSR said it expected to see the device in shipping handsets by the end of the year.
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