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SiRF awash in developments

In an unusually busy week, GPS silicon provider SiRF Technology Holdings Inc. introduced a multifunction architecture called SiRFLink and a complementary product line, SiRFLinkI; acquired Impulsesoft, a company in India with Bluetooth expertise, and announced SiRFInstantFix, a service to minimize start-up wait time for GPS systems.

All three announcements involve synergies between the company’s SiRFstarIII GPS technology and wireless connectivity, especially via Bluetooth; for example, developing single-chip SiRFLinkI solutions for devices that use Bluetooth radio to communicate location information to other devices or applications.

SiRF founder and marketing VP, Kanwar Chadha, says that integrating these functions into a seamless single-chip solution, using state-of-the-art silicon process and packaging technologies, will provide size, power and cost savings. "GPS and Bluetooth are becoming common functions in most of our target markets and SiRFLinkI is optimized to address these emerging needs,” he notes.

SiRFLinkI products will be based on an enhanced Bluetooth baseband core and fabricated in 90 nm CMOS for baseband functions and 0.18 nm SiGE for radio. The devices will be packaged in 165-pin MCMs that measure 6 x 8 x 1.2 mm.

SiRF plans to leverage its SiRFstarIII core, SiRFLoc architecture and new SiRFInstantFix technology to achieve faster time to first fix for SiRFLinkI products. SiRFLoc architecture is said to improve GPS location capability in wireless system environments. The SiRFInstantFix service allows GPS receivers to start tracking satellites and navigating more quickly--in as little as eight seconds, even in weak signal conditions. In lieu of obtaining precise GPS satellite location data from satellites, a SiRFInstantFix server uses proprietary algorithms to predict seven days of GPS satellite data and then distills that information into a small file that GPS receivers can use to pinpoint GPS satellites.

SiRF president and CEO Michael Canning said the Impulsesoft acquisition improves SiRF's ability to deliver and support value-added embedded software solutions. Impulsesoft’s software is used in the naviPlay Bluetooth stereo adapter/remote control for the iPod, among other mobile phone and music player applications.

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