A running GPS watch has the unique ability to measure a runner’s speed, pace, distance travelled and altitude profile during their run. The power of GPS watches, has up until now, been driven by the powerful SiRFstarIII chipset, however as technology tends to do, the makers have come up with a new and improved chipset, the SiRFstarIV which adds several promising improvements to the existing technology. At the time of release around October of 2009, the makers CSR announced that the new chip delivered increased accuracy, and faster fix rates and with a lower power consumption and better integration with other positioning sensors. The new chipset has since become the standard chip used in most GPS technology. Other features include “SiRFaware”, the ability to maintain “better-than-hot-start” location awareness with only 50-500 micro-amperes of current.
In English this means that GPS devices using the new chip can deliver accurate positioning, much faster and without an annoying lengthy pause for location accuracy and the workaround of requiring the GPS receiver be powered on constantly. The new chip in addition, has double the capacity to search for satellites, more accuracy, faster fix times and the ability to block jamming elements such as RF radios. The SiRFstarIV is also smaller, allowing the chip to be used in smaller devices.
It is possible to link up the chip to MEM sensors such as accelerometers to make for improved positioning, when indoors or when a satellite signal is blocked. obviously this is great news for the world of GPS watches, both in terms of accuracy and in terms of power consumption. GPS watches have a reputation for being “power hogs”, so a chipset that utilizes much less power means that athletes will be able to run their GPS watches for longer, meaning fewer battery recharges and the ability to run continuously in ultra events.