Real iPhone GPS Module in Development

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]

    PartFoundry is working on an actual GPS module to plug into the iPhone's dock connector. At present, the hardware is still under development and the software interface is primitive. It is able to pull longitude and latitude coordinates from the GPS module and then display it on Google Maps.

    [​IMG]


    A YouTube video is also available demonstrating its current functionality.

    The product is not expected until February 2008 and they do plan on placing it in a stylish plastic enclosure. It will require a Jail Broken iPhone and software will be open source.

    Article Link
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    notsofatjames

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    #2
    I wonder how much battery this drains whilst plugged in..
     
  3. macrumors regular

    CBJammin103

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    #3
    That would also be my main concern. Not to mention that I'd be far more comfortable with news that they were working with Apple to some extent (with an SDK, that is). By February there's supposed to be the SDK anyway, so I'd be far more hesitant to install software and hardware that didn't use it at that point.

    But this is definitely good news in many ways and shows progress in the right direction, I think.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    notsofatjames

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    #4
    Hopefully, with an SDK this thing can be released as more of an official sort of product, without needing to jailbrake your phone, and that it could become more intergrated with the phone. Seeing the youtube clip, I'd had hoped there might have been a way to just add a button to the existing maps application that refreshed your position. Maybe the recent announcement from the google camp about its updated maps app may come in handy after all.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #5
    Good point.

    They need to add a pass thru if it does, so you can plug in a car power adaptor for instance.
     
  6. macrumors 68030

    Drumjim85

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    #6
    it would be nice if it were offered as a blue tooth device, kinda like that puck thing ive seen around (if you could get inside the iPhones blue tooth)
     
  7. macrumors regular

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    #7
    bluetooth is a standard. why not just connect to a bluetooth GPS unit since the iphone has bluetooth?
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #8
    Someone mentione that bluetooth only does audio? not data.

    Although if this changes in Feb with the SDK, I could defineatly see them changing to that, which would mean they would have to add a power source though.
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #9
    Re:

    I can see the pros and cons of Bluetooth. On the pros:

    1. Wireless, duh
    2. No drain on the iPhone battery
    3. Ability to pair the device with your Mac

    Cons:
    1. If it's Bluetooth it needs its own battery. If it has its own battery it will need to be re-charged and if that's the case, then you now have 2 devices that need charging to work together. 2 devices mean 2 cables in a car, which is not a pretty solution or possible in some cases.
    2. Interference (probably null and void but just in case)

    That first "con" is the only real one I can think of. Now if this company does end up having a second dock port which can pass power and/or data through (so the iPhone can still sync or something, more importantly the power needs to be there) then you have yourself a very good solution I think. I mean you could take the iPhone into the field at that point with an external battery or something, or even your laptop, and have the iPhone & GPS device fully powered even before you start relying on the iPhone's internal battery.

    The ultimate thing to put in would be a small battery for itself, like a watch battery, that could work as a boost, a way to mitigate the drain from the iPhone. But that should only be in a capacity to boost, not to be the single sole source for power.
    :D
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #10

    ummm, This isnt really GPS. I already have an application on my jailbroken iPhone that can do this without a big ugly chip sticking out of it
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #11
    To the same exactitude as this device?

    On your iphone without a GPS?

    Link?

    Navizon and Googlemaps use cell phone towers which is not exact by any stretch of the imagination. This device seems to show you exactly where you are. Not "roughly" where you are.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #12
    I havent used Navizon much but it seems to be pretty accurate so far... I'll know more after the holiday though

    Also, for it to be true GPS, shouldnt it be able to give you directions etc?
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #13
    pretty accurate != exact.

    once you start driving around and looking for addresses then you need exact.

    No. The gps is only a location finder. Maps & Directions are something that you combine with a true gps device to give you exact directions.

    the Navizon or googlemaps will be fine for roughly finding stuff. But not for driving between X and Y, unless you don't mind over shooting your final destination by a few blocks and having to drive back to it.
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    megfilmworks

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    #14
    Actually the app you have on your iPhone is not real GPS.
    This may be ugly but, according to the specs, it is real GPS, not cell tower ranging.
    Until Apple approves and makes a real GPS available I'll stick with Garmin.
    And for other posters confused about what is "real" GPS:
    It is a receiver capable of triangulating your position on the earth with timing signals from the GPS satellite constellation.
    All the other features like directions, etc. are not part of the GPS but of additional software.
    Navison is NOT GPS, just cell tower ranging with a wifi location assist.
     
  15. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #15
    Before I got my iPhone, I used a Nokia Symbian-based smartphone along with Nokia's Bluetooth GPS receiver. They worked great together. It helped that they not only used the same power cable, but even the same battery, so I could charge them one after the other, and if my cell phone's battery died while on the go, I could just swap batteries. Obviously, this wouldn't be the case with an iPhone-custom GPS receiver.

    The big advantage to me of Bluetooth was that I could place the GPS receiver on my dashboard in a place that it got a much better signal than if it were attached to my phone, in the normal place it sits.

    As for interference, I can pair my BT GPS receiver with my laptop, and it connects reliably from 15 feet away, in an area with really bad BT/WiFi interference. 15 feet is farther than any reasonable 'in-vehicle' use distance. The only even vaguely plausible thing I can think of is an RV where you have to put it in the back window to get the best GPS reception.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

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    #16
    GPS is just a receiver... it's what you do after you get the coordinates and gps information. Hopefully the final product will have more complete software than just the demo video shows... I'd be pretty hesitant about buying a $90 device that only gives you coordinates when you hit refresh...

    One can do so much more with GPS... it'd be cool to see real-time direction, speed, etc much like what you get with DeLorme Street Atlas, M$ Streets and Trips, etc. It would be nice to get rid of a laptop for road trips and rely on the power of real-time Google Maps and the iPhone's Edge connection for display of GPS data. My money is on Google in 2008 for that...

    Exact coordinates aren't really helpful if the software sucks... I find the iPhone's Google Maps pretty useful looking for addresses actually. If you get lost or overshoot your destination it's your own fault for not planning ahead and watching road signs, not the software's for babying you to "turn right at next intersection...". (That episode of the Office springs to mind where Michael plunges the car into the river.)
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    #17
    No Bluetooth GPS receivers?

    There isn't exactly a shortage of Bluetooth GPS receivers. I have a couple already. The benefits are it doesn't use the phone battery and you can place it on the dash where it gets best reception. Isn't this a software issue?
     
  18. macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #18
    thechidz, wow.

    It is a GPS device. Regardless of anything else it plots your longitude and latitude position. That's all a GPS device has to do. The mapping software performs the guidance and plotting information.

    The iPhone currently has no GPS chip. There is emulated GPS functionality. But it is not strict GPS.
    -
    I'm very impressed after watching the Youtube vid. Hoping that Apple stick a similar chip inside a new iPhone since it would eliminate yet another device from my pockets.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    eenu

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    #19
    Maybe the Navizon method isn't more accurate but using masts is (when using the correct software) FAR more accurate than GPS and the majority if not all handsets all ready have the built in hardware to be able to do it. GPS is also crappy in built up areas using masts is not only accurate but it can also be used in buildings. Granted GPS can be used where phones don't receive
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #20
    Cool

    But I'd be happier if Apple just opened up their bluetooth radio for use with devices besides just headsets, so I can pull the GPS data from my Socket blutooth GPS receiver. :-/
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    megfilmworks

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    #21
    GPS is the MOST accurate method of determining position.
    With WAAS it can be less than 1 meter. And you need direct line of sight to the satellite constellation so it will not work indoors or between tall buildings.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    eenu

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    #22
    I don't agree nor would my Prof who studied with the guy who designed the hardware that is in all phones today. He demonstrated that you can show someone in a house and actually watch them walking from room to room using masts and technology that is in every phone today.

    Believe me i've had this debate with him for hours - and to be honest he has convinced me that mast technology can give you a far more accurate position in a far far wider variety of situations than GPS especially for mobile phone users.

    EDIT: I'm not saying in ideal conditions for both methods GPS isn't just as good if not a tad better but mast methods are superior in far more situations.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    thegman1234

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    #23
    GPS stands for Global Positioning System. All it has to do is give you your position on the globe. Most GPS's pair the system with maps and directions to make it useful to the average consumer.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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  25. macrumors newbie

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    Dec 23, 2007
    #25
    Because GPS BT units communicate using the serial profile and that is not currently supported by iPhone. Hopefully this is just sw and will be in future releases. I bought a $50 holux M1200 and it works great, gets GPS signals clearly inside my house. Much more sensitive then the 4 year old Delorme EarthMate I had (the usb version). The Holux has a micro-usb port which it can power off of (and charge its batteries) from any usb source, but needs a custom cable to pass data over usb (but why bother). So stashing one of these in your car with a 12v to usb charger would let your iPhone run a GPS app anytime you were in the car. That would work fine for me.
     

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