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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Thursday, February 23, 2006
i-Blue PS3200

1. Introduction

While various manufacturers mostly use the SiRF chipsets, ITerNet introduced onto the market a product based on a different chipset manufacturer. The device promises very good reception, combined with low battery consumption and a patented auto on/off bluetooth function. The device is the I-blue PS3200, which we test against the BT-338 from Globalsat, a well known SiRF III enabled GPS device. Firstly, lets get some background information on ITerNet the company.

- ITerNet background

ITerNet was founded by Macstek and Acon Inc., with its international headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan. So far, ITerNet has developed the myPower Series with Tekkeon, and handle all markets apart from the United States. ITerNet products are available through major distributors and retailers worldwide, providing not only do own-brand name products, but also OEM/ODM as well.

- i-Blue PS3200

The i-Blue PS3200 is a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver with a wireless Bluetooth interface. i-Blue is well suited to system integration with PDAs, smart phones, Tablet PCs and Notebook PCs. It can satisfy a wide variety of applications such as PDA and smart phone navigation, automotive vehicle tracking, personal positioning and sporting. With dimensions of 69.6mm (L) x 47.3mm (W) x 19.2mm (H) and weighing only 72g (with battery), the i-Blue is an ideal carry everywhere solution.

The low-power design has extended the operating time up to 30 hours, making it not only convenient but also the longest lasting device of its kind. With the lead-free production process (starting Jan. 1, 2006), i-Blue is the most environmentally friendly wireless GPS receiver on the market.

According to ITerNet, i-Blue PS-3200 has a couple of distinguishing features which other devices don't have. The first feature is that the i-Blue PS-3200 can take advantage of Bluetooth's connecting status to determine its own operation mode. The i-Blue PS-3200 can automatically enter sleeping mode after Bluetooth connectivity is turned off, thus saving 25% in power consumption and extending the operation time up to 30 hours. This is the i-Blue PS-3200's Smart Power Save Mechanism. The second feature is that when re-connecting with a Bluetooth device, the i-Blue PS-3200 will wake up automatically. This is i-Blue PS-3200's Fuzzy Auto On/Off feature.

- Used chipset

The i-Blue PS3200 uses the NemeriX NJ1006A which is coupled to the NJ1030A base band processor, with a total power consumption of less than 25mW. The full specs can be found below:

Category Parameter Description
General GPS technology NEMERIX GPS Module
Frequency L1, 1575.42 MHz
C/A Code 1.023 MHz chip rate
Channels 16 channels all in view tracking
Sensitivity -155dBm
Receiver Accuracy Position 1.2 meters Static CEP 50,
3.0 meters Static CEP 95;
1.3 meters Static Altitude 50,
3.8 meters Static Altitude 95
Velocity 0.1 m/sec, without SA
Time + 100ns synchronized to GPS time
Datum Datum WGS-84
Acquisition Time Hot start 5 sec, average
Warm start 34 sec, average
Cold start 46 sec, average
Reacquisition <3sec
Protocol GPS Output Data NMEA 0183 (V3.01) - GGA, GSA, GSV, RMC(default); VTG, GLL (optional)
Baud rate 115200 bps,
Data bit: 8, Stop bit: 1 (Default)
Limitations Acceleration Limit <2G
Altitude Limit <18,000 meters
Velocity Limit <515 meters/sec.
Jerk Limit 20 m/sec.
Power Battery Built-in rechargeable 1050mAh Lithium battery
Operation Current 25mA@3.7V(w/o Bluetooth)
32mA@3.7V(w/ Bluetooth)
Operation Time Up to 30 hrs, after fully charged.
Charging Time 3hrs. (Typical)
Standby Time 3More than 360 hrs, after fully charged.
More than 48 hrs. (when low power LED starts blinking)
Charger Protection Built-in Over Temperature / Over Voltage protection
Physical Characteristics Dimension 69.6mm x 47.3mm x 19.2mm
Weight 72g
Temperature Operating -10 C~ 60 C
Storage -20 C ~ 85 C
Humidity 5% to 95% non-condensing

Comparing both chipsets, we can see that:

1. NemeriX doesn't support WAAS/Egnos, at least this is what ITerNet told us

2. NemeriX has less channels in view compared with the SiRF III (16 vs 20)

3. NemeriX has lower sensitivity (-155dBm) than the SiRF III (-159dBm)

4. NemeriX has higher acquisition times than the SiRF III

Judging from the specs, it appears that the NemeriX chipset's performance is not as good as the SiRF III, but we will have to wait for our real life tests to see if this is indeed the case.

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