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Superaccurate GPS Coming to Smartphones in 2018

Broadcom’s mass-market GPS chips boost accuracy to 30 centimeters

4 min read
Photo: Miguel Navarro/Getty Images
Photo: Miguel Navarro/Getty Images

We’ve all been there. You’re drivingdown the highway, just as your navigation app instructed, when Siri tells you to “proceed east for one-half mile, then merge onto the highway.” But you’re already on the highway. After a moment of confusion and perhaps some rude words about Siri and her extended AI family, you realize the problem: Your GPS isn’t accurate enough for your navigation app to tell if you’re on the highway or on the road beside it.

Those days are nearly at an end. At the Institute of Navigation GNSS+ conference in Portland, Ore., in September, Broadcom announced that it is providing customers samples of the first mass-market chip to take advantage of a new breed of global navigation satellite signals. This new chip will give the next generation of smartphones ­30-centimeter accuracy as opposed to today’s 5 meters. Even better, it works in a city’s concrete canyons, and it consumes half the power of today’s generation of chips. The chip, the BCM47755, has been included in the design of some smartphones slated for release in 2018, but Broadcom would not reveal which.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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