Infineon’s XPOSYS GPS Chip

Seiko Epson Corporation and Infineon Technologies have collaborated, producing one of the smallest single-chip advanced global positioning system (A-GPS) processors ever made. The chip, measuring just 2.8 mm x 2.9 mm, is 25% smaller than any other A-GPS chip on the market. The smaller overall design allows the GPS chip to fit into smaller devices and cuts power use by about half, when compared to GPS chips currently on the market. If smaller size and less power usage were not enough, the XPOSYS GPS Chip’s sensitivity has been improved, allowing for pinpoint positional accuracy even when indoors or in urban canyons.

Epson and Infineon released a joint news release on both company websites announcing the successful development of the next generation of advanced global positioning system A-GPS technology. The news release indicates that early market forecasts predict strong growth of GPS features in mobile handsets, portable navigation devices (PND), and automotive embedded devices. According to one market researcher, GPS penetration in handsets will rise from a 19% level in 2008 to 35% by 2012.  In terms of units produced and in use, this translates to an increase of 238 million GPS-enabled mobile handsets in 2008, to 543 million units in 2012.  When you include the use of PNDs and GPS vehicle system use, it is forecasted that an additional 100 million plus PND units will be operational by 2013 on the global level.

According to Epson and Infineon, the XPOSYS, which is manufactured with a 65 nanometer processing technology, provides increased performance over existing GPS chips. Use of 65nm technology roughly doubles the transistor density compared to the previous 90nm generation and delivers more processing power and improved efficiency. So far, the only companies producing the 65 nm chips are Intel, AMD, IBM, UMC, Chartered, and TSMC. Mass production of this new chip is said to begin in mid 2009.
Sensitivity of the XPOSYS has been increased from -160dBm to -165dBm, which is unique in positioning technology, allowing for pinpoint positional accuracy.  The typical signal power of other GPS chips that are received from a GPS satellite is -127.5. This added signal strength is what provides greater accuracy, even when there are architectural or geographic barriers. With a reduced footprint, the XPOSYS GPS chip can fit into a printed circuit board (PCB) with an area of only 26 mm^2 This smaller size, improved efficiency, and accuracy allow for increased design flexibility and lower system production costs for the device manufacturers.

A current example of an A-GPS system in place is the Apple iPhone 3G, which uses an Infineon Hammerhead II unit for navigation. Before the development of the XPOSYS GPS chip, this was the industry’s highest performance GPS receiver in the smallest available package. The Hammerhead chip size is 3.59mm x 3.75mm and it has a sensitivity of -160 dBm. The new XPOSYS has surpassed both the size and performance of the Infineon Hammerhead II.

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TFOT has previously covered several related global positioning and navigational stories, including the moon GPS system, as well as our look at a GPS locator for children. A past review on new generation GPS receivers was also covered by TFOT.
For more information see Infineon’s website.