Feeds

Nokia offers assistance for unresponsive GPS phones

Urban canyon? What urban canyon?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Nokia has tacitly admitted the GPS units it builds into a small number of its mobile phones are having problems quickly calculating their locations and has fallen back on data sent over the mobile phone network to mitigate the issue.

But wait a minute - it's not a bug, it's a feature. Nokia is spinning the approach as a "new" technology called Assisted GPS (A-GPS). It's already incorporated into the Nokia 6110 Navigator phone, but the service is also available for the N95 through a new firmware update.

When Register Hardware reviewed the N95, we found its GPS facility to be the weakest part of the package by far. The problem: the difficulty the handset had in getting a fix on the GPS satellites in an urban environment.

A-GPS works by sending initial GPS data from the handset back to a central server. The server compares its own GPS signal with what it's getting from the phone. With some smart number crunching, it can send an accurate location back to the handset. In essence it makes the handset's GPS receiver seem more sensitive than it actually is.

The location data send back to the phone is used by Nokia's Maps app to plot the phone's position in situations where it's having a tough time getting a decent GPS pick up - in streets between tall buildings, for example.

A-GPS isn't new - it's been in development since the early 2000s at least. Past research has shown that the time needed to get an initial location fix can be reduced from a minute to under 30s. There's a potential knock on improvement to accuracy too, though this isn't a feature Nokia was touting today. Battery life can be improved too, because the GPS receiver doesn't need to be at full operational power for as long as it does when it's working alone.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.