$15 and Up NavSpark is a tiny GPS / GNSS Arduino Software Compatible Board (Crowdfunding)

[Update: I’ve been told the project is actually launched by SkyTraq. But later, after Indiegogo perks are shipped, they expect to have our customer NAVIN handle later orders and manufacturing, the non-engineering development side of things. Updated post accordingly] Navin, a Taiwanese start-up specialized in location products, SkyTraq, a fabless semiconductor company, which develops GPS chipset for consumer navigation and tracking applications, has recently launched an Indiegogo campaign for NavSpark, their low cost GPS / GNSS board with a 32-bit LEON3 SPARC V8 MCU that can be programmed with the Arduino IDE. Two other models are available:  NavSpark-BD for GPS/Beidou, and NavSpark-GL for GPS/GLONASS. NavSpark NavSpark specifications: GSP Receiver – SkyTraq Venus 822 LEON3 Sparc-V8 MCU @ 100MHz with IEEE-754 Compliant FPU, 1024KB Flash Memory, 212KB RAM. GPS – quad-GNSS engine capable of handling 34 GPS / GLONASS/ Beidou / Galileo signals in parallel I/Os – 1x full duplex asynchronous […]

ThL W200 Smartphone Review (Mediatek MT6589T)

I’ve received ThL W200, a smartphone powered by Mediatek MT6589T SoC, at the beginning of week (Check specs and unboxing pictures), and after about a week of use, it’s time for a review. First I’ll go through my first impressions, test of different features such as the camera, GPS, and Bluetooth, and finally run some apps to get system information and benchmarks for this phone. ThL W200 Review This smartphone feels very light, but the build quality is good, and as explained in my unboxing post, comes with power, volume -/+, and menu/home/back buttons. You’ll also find rear camera + flash, front camera, the light sensor, and the notification light. First impressions The phone boots to the standard Android home screen, as shown above, with English as the default language, and comes with Google Play Store, and no Chinese apps. The 720p screen provide a sharp and clear display, and […]

How to Fix Slow GPS Lock on Mediatek MT65xx based Smartphones

I’ve recently purchased ThL W200, an Android 4.2 smartphone powered by Mediatek MT6589T quad core processor, and I’m trying to test a few things including GPS. I’ve enabled access to my location, GPS, and Google’s location service using Wi-Fi and mobile network. In Google Maps, I could get a somewhat accurate position thanks to mobile network location, but it was clear it could not lock GPS. I’ve also tried Nike+ Running, an application that keeps track of your running sessions with GPS, gives you some audio feedback as you run (distance, time and speed), and compares your performance to the average, and your social network friends. When I wanted to start running, the app complained about weak GPS signal, and tried to lock GPS for about 10 minutes, until I decided to give up. So I tried to find a solution, and Google pointed me to an article on Gizchina […]

TI SimpleLink GPS CC4000 Enables GPS For MCUs

Yesterday, Texas Instruments unveiled the SimpleLink GPS CC4000, a GPS self-contained module that can be interfaced with any MCU or MPU having a UART interface.  Due to limited resources of microcontrollers, several GPS features have been implemented in hardware such as the push-to-fix function which can simply be controlled by the MCU via a GPIO to receive National Marena Electronics Association (NMEA) strings containing location, time and velocity information. TI Simplelink GPS CC4000 enables GPS-based applications such as asset tracking, industrial M2M, sports and fitness, and precision timing. It can deliver better than 2.5 meter accuracy and provides pulse-per-second output functions to provide precise location and timing data. It can also automatically reuse previously decoded satellite information thanks to its “watchful-eye” feature in order to deliver fast time to first fix (TTFF) and optimize power consumption. Here are SimpleLink GPS CC4000 key features: Driverless, fully integrated GPS solution which requires […]