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Motorola breaks out mini-GPS module

The wireless gear maker unveils a new Global Positioning System gadget for use in cellular handsets and other location devices that's smaller than a dime.

Motorola on Wednesday launched a miniature Global Positioning System product capable of supporting autonomous as well as assisted-GPS operation.

The dime-sized FS Oncore can be used for adding location sensing to portable electronics products such as cell phones or personal digital assistants. It calculates its position locally, eliminating network overhead and problems that are connected with network-centric GPS systems, Motorola said.

The connection between the module and the host processor allows customers to separate the host microprocessor and GPS designs. Motorola said the design would also allow manufacturers to eliminate unnecessary radio frequency and power connectors.

The GPS receiver uses host memory space to store the GPS firmware. Once the code is loaded and executed, the module becomes an autonomous or assisted GPS unit, depending on the type of firmware, or software that upgrades chipsets, that's used.

Samples of the module and evaluation kits will be available this month from Synergy-GPS, while production parts and software support for autonomous and self-aiding operations will be available in first quarter 2004. Pricing was not released.