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Pocket GPS World :: View topic - iPhone GPS - WiFi Is The Way To Go
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iPhone GPS - WiFi Is The Way To Go
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: iPhone GPS - WiFi Is The Way To Go Reply with quote

Rather unexpectedly, the SDK recently announced by Apple does not support the serial communications needed to plug hardware accessories into the proprietary 30pin connector on the bottom of the iPhone/iPod Touch. This means that the recently announced locoGPS from Gomite and GlobalSat's iPhone GPS concept are out of the question as a GPS solution for iPhone / iPod Touch users.

The WiFi solution does not require any software on the device so it is not impacted by the SDK requirements. The UI is displayed using the Safari web browser and communicates via a local WiFi network hosted by a device's web server.

So far we are aware of two of these solutions: Gomite's locoGPS and G-Fi's solution. LocoGPS runs a version of iGo8 on it's web server / GPS receiver where as there is no specific software at the moment for G-Fi's device. Both are compatible with any WiFi enabled device via the Safari web browser. Hopefully soon we should start being abl to test these devices and we'll keep all you iPhone users up to date!
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been discussing this with Apple Developers and the consensus is it is too early to conclude that serial port communications are not possible.

I'll update this thread as soon as I have a definitive answer.
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mostdom
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll test one if you like! Very Happy

Gimme, gimme!
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Dom

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Graculus
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: iPhone GPS - WiFi Is The Way To Go Reply with quote

If my Smartphone is anything to go by, then WiFi is not a good default for talking to other devices, as it is a real power hog, and drains the battery pretty quickly. Bluetooth is a less power hungry communication medium, though most implementations of using Bluetooth leave a lot to be desired in terms of reliability.
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mostdom
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bluetooth on the iPhone is poor at best. Currently it has little connectivity with other devices, and limited audio compatability.

A little bird says that an update to the iPhone bluetooth delema is comming soon, so fingers crossed!
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sneeks
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think use of the dock connector is allowed so long as it follows the standard 'Made for iPhone' application procedure. This is independant of the SDK requirements and relates to accessories.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

but the dock can't be used as a serial port
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaFt wrote:
but the dock can't be used as a serial port

Do we know what communications protocols can run via the dock connector? The iPod connectivity on a GO indicates there is some extensive communication possible. With a connected iPod you can get full access to playlists and control the device as well as passing audio in the other direction?
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sneeks
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AFAIK the connector can support various data connections but not via the SDK as released. Apple have opted to close this connection to general developers but this may not be the case for officially approved accessories.
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rtj70
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there is a demo of an iPod serial connected GPS device it is possible. And was before the SDK was released.

I have many apps on my iPod Touch (not updated firmware to latest). But applications possible already without an official SDK.

As for Bluetooth.... not viable because there will be many more iPod Touch users than iPhone? Would rule all of us out. But I do know WiFi can be a drain on the battery.

But I still prefer the interface of a TomTom to the iGo and now have both.... and the 720 has traffic via GPRS.... not possible on an iPod Touch ;-)
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mostdom
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rtj70 wrote:
If there is a demo of an iPod serial connected GPS device it is possible. And was before the SDK was released.

I have many apps on my iPod Touch (not updated firmware to latest). But applications possible already without an official SDK.

As for Bluetooth.... not viable because there will be many more iPod Touch users than iPhone? Would rule all of us out. But I do know WiFi can be a drain on the battery.

But I still prefer the interface of a TomTom to the iGo and now have both.... and the 720 has traffic via GPRS.... not possible on an iPod Touch ;-)


Considering the potetial use of edge to download the traffic reports, aka google style there may be grounds for making this soley iPhone compatable or at least be different options available to both touch and iPhone users!
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simontdc
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's any access to the dock connector in the SDK at all. But, the location feature in the iPhone itself has got dramatically better in the Boringstoke area at least. And it works indoors, getting a fix within about 5 seconds, I'm getting about 100M accuracy here.

If these improvements continue, then possibly no need for GPS anyway.
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rtj70
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apart from when you're on open roads with poor EDGE connection (like a motorway) and therefore no signal and therefore no ability to locate you. When you're walking then triangulation of the phone signal might work. But not when driving.
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mostdom
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simontdc wrote:
If these improvements continue, then possibly no need for GPS anyway.


Wouldn't the phone need to send a signal to the masts constantly, which in turn could jam up the network a bit? And like rtj70 said, if you haven't got a full rack of bars in your signal strength, then edge and accuracy would go out the car window.

I think that kind of technology is still a little way off but would useful if it could be made to work!
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Darren
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mostdom wrote:
Wouldn't the phone need to send a signal to the masts constantly

It does already. Your phone (and every GSM phone alike) is contantly talking to the transmitter sites, sometime two or three at a time. It is evaluating which site is the best for its current position and moving between them automatically as you move.

All the time it is doing this information and which transmitter you are connected to so that, if a call for you is received, it can be piped to the correct transmitter. It's amazingly complex technology, consider that whilst you are in a call and moving, before you approach the limit of the transmitter you are connected to, the network and phone have to decide which transmitter is the best to hand the call over to and then do that seamlessly!

Signal strength has no bearing on the accuracy of the location calculation. All it needs to know is which transmitter sites your phone can detect and then through the triangulation process make a calculation as to where you must approximately be to get those results.

However, the iPhone differs in using cell site AND WLAN Access point location technology. This new feature is much better in the US where Skyhook (who offer the service) have used driven around with GPS to map the location of a huge number of WLAN's. So in much the same way as with GSM, the iPHONE can evaluate which Access Points it can 'see' and calculate its position.

The system has much better coverage in the US. Here in the UK they have mapped only a few in large cities. Where I live the positional accuracy is in the order of 200m+ because there are few transmitter sites and no Skyhook mapped AP's. Even using GSm alone accuracy is much better in cities were more transmitters exist, it also benefits from working anywhere a cellphone signal can be received i.e. indoors unlike GPS.

I doubt it will ever be accurate enough for navigation in the sense that we know it but it will be perfectly good for LBS services.

For more info take a look at http://www.skyhookwireless.com/
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