Location information is now widely used for purposes such as smartphone applications, and this functionality is now becoming integral to our daily lives. Examples include navigation services that guide us to our destinations, social network services that enable us to upload photos from travel destinations with location information, or mapping software that allows us to mark out the routes we have traveled. Functions that measure positional information are now available across a wide variety of products such as smartphones, tablets and digital cameras.
However, with the use of this functionality in mobile devices consuming power and causing battery life to shorten, users are required to activate these functions accordingly. In addition, capturing positional information while indoors has also presented a challenge.
To overcome these challenges, Sony developed new RF and digital circuits, leveraging its extensive technologies and know-how in the area of tuner development. Specialized low-power AD converters, low noise amplifiers and electronic circuit phase-locked loops (PLL) have been developed for the RF circuits, and Sony also adopted a low-power digital circuit design that optimally controls the power supply and clock for each separate function block. Conventionally, the power consumption of the RF circuits alone exceeds 10mW, but Sony has successfully reduced power consumption to the industry’s lowest 10mW for the entire GNSS Receiver LSI unit.
Furthermore, these LSIs are equipped with Sensor Fusion functionality, which facilitates arithmetic processing to measure highly accurate positional information by combining information received from multiple sensors built into the smartphone, such as accelerometers, magnetic sensors and gyro sensors. Even when indoors, or other environments where it can be difficult to measure a location with just the satellite signal reception, the technology is capable of generating autonomous navigation (‘dead reckoning’) to deliver highly precise positional information.
It is compatible with five measurement system, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) and satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), as well as the Indoor Messaging System (IMES).
With these low power consumption and high-precision measurement capabilities suitable for both outdoor and indoor usage applications, Sony will aim to introduce these models in smartphones and tablets, as well as a wide variety of other products, including digital cameras, car navigation systems and wristwatches. In addition, with the low power consumption meaning that measuring capabilities can be activated at all times, this further expands the possibility of developing entirely new products and services.
*1: As of this announcement on February 21, 2013.
*2: When continuously receiving a GPS satellite signal