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:
|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|
|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|
|Acquisition Time||Hot start||5 sec, average|
|Warm start||34 sec, average|
|Cold start||46 sec, average|
|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)
|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)
|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|
|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.