u-blox Unveils Super-Low-Power GNSS Receiver Chip for Wearables

u-blox has launched its new UBX-M8230-CT global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver chip, offering a unique balance of performance and ultra-low power consumption. The UBX-M8230-CT’s Super-E mode is ideal for devices that require high levels of speed and position accuracy, but where power is limited. Along with smartwatches, sports wearables and fitness trackers, it can be used in trackers for assets, people, children and animals, to provide accurate and frequent location information with minimal impact on battery life.

The new, innovative Super-Efficient (Super-E) mode cuts the power consumption by two-thirds to a mere 20 mW with one position update every second so that there is almost no loss in accuracy. It delivers excellent speed and position accuracy even when tested in applications such as wearables and portable electronics, where the antenna is small and movement prevents a constant view of the sky.

Wearables constantly needing to know the user location, this is a huge strain on the battery, which has traditionally limited GNSS adoption. The UBX-M8230-CT's low power consumption combined with its high positioning accuracy and the ultra small design footprint of less than 30 mm sqr. makes it possible to add GNSS to virtually all wearables.

The chip’s Super-E mode uses concurrent reception of GPS with either GLONASS or BeiDou. It allows batching location data temporarily on the chip, which helps to further reduce the system power consumption by avoiding the need to constantly run the main CPU. The size and power savings brought by UBX-M8230-CT will enable designers to add features desired by the market, such as heart rate monitoring, while still offering high position and speed accuracy.

u-blox will showcase the new UBX-M8230-CT global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver chip at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 27 February - 2 March, 2017. Samples will be available in March 2017 and volume production will start in summer 2017.