Air Semiconductor: first to bring instant and continuous location technology to portable devices

Microelectronics International

ISSN: 1356-5362

Article publication date: 18 April 2008



(2008), "Air Semiconductor: first to bring instant and continuous location technology to portable devices", Microelectronics International, Vol. 25 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Air Semiconductor: first to bring instant and continuous location technology to portable devices

Article Type: New products From: Microelectronics International, Volume 25, Issue 2.

Airwave-1 chip consumes only 1 per cent of power required by current GPS solutions.

Air Semiconductor has revealed its core technology and its first product, the Airwave-1 chip, which together will transform how location is used in portable devices. Air's technology continuously tracks the user's location and consequently can also provide instant location updates, all with negligible power drain. It is the only technology capable of delivering instant and continuous positioning information to battery-operated devices and will open up a whole new range of location- based applications. Airwave-1 requires as little as 1 per cent of the power required by current GPS solutions and consumes only 1mA when continuously tracking. Samples will be available in the summer of 2008.

Air's technology will, for example, enable cameras to automatically geotag images and mobile handsets to run a new generation of autonomous location sensitive applications. It will enable mobile handset designers to specify instant location functionality without significant impact on power budgets.

Air Semiconductor was founded to develop a new approach to establishing location in battery-powered devices and believes that location aware mobile devices will soon become the norm. Co-founders David Tester and Stephen Graham and their team have spent the last 18 months developing the new proprietary technology that utilises signals from GPS satellites in an innovative manner. The company is backed by Pond Venture Partners and is already in initial discussions with several digital camera manufacturers.

Airwave-1 operates in an entirely novel way by providing continuous location tracking and hence also eliminating time-to-first-fix. It uses an adaptive technology which maintains a constant watch on its location but can almost instantly focus to provide a pin-point fix. The single-chip contains all RF and digital hardware and the software needed to calculate location data. It outputs location data in a format that enables simple integration into consumer devices.

Air aims to exploit the market potential for an instant and continuous location capability as a standard digital camera feature. The consumer demand is evident from online communities such as Google Earth and Flickr, where over two million images a month are already geotagged manually. Furthermore, there is a commercial opportunity in mobile handsets for proactive location-dependent services, where the users' location triggers a service such as an alarm, a reminder or a promotional message.

Stephen Graham, Co-founder and CEO at Air said, “Air's technology is very novel, but because the result is so compelling and so easy to understand I am not surprised by the positive response we are receiving from camera manufacturers. Continuous location in battery operated devices is a breakthrough with wide-reaching implications; digital cameras is just the tip of the iceberg.”

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