Atmel Introduces $5 GPS Baseband IC With 3 Meter Accuracy

Magellan(R) GPS IP Now Available Directly From Atmel

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Atmel(R) Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML) today expanded its global positioning systems (GPS) offering with the industry's first 14-channel, GPS baseband IC to carry a $5 price tag and three-meter accuracy. Atmel's Baldur(TM) chip is priced about 45% lower than any other comparably featured GPS baseband IC. The chip was developed jointly with Thales Navigation for Thales' Magellan(R) eXplorist(TM) handheld GPS units. Thales licensed the GPS IP to Atmel in December of 2004. Hundreds of thousands of eXplorists with the Atmel chip have been sold since November of 2004.

The Baldur GPS baseband IC achieves horizontal resolution of as little as one meter, corrected, and three meters, autonomous. Vertical resolution is five meters (corrected) and velocity is measured to within 0.1 meters/second. The chip's superior acquisition (-137 dBm) and tracking (-150 dBm) sensitivities are possible because Baldur can receive and process signals from as many as 12 different tracking satellites at the same time. Additionally, it has two Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) channels for Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) or Multi-functional Transport Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS). The maximum position update rate is once per second.

Developed specifically for portable handheld applications, Baldur dissipates only 70 mW under continuous operation at 16 MHz, and 18 mW in power-saving mode. Battery life for an eXplorist device is 14 hours. Baldur's time-to-first-fix (TTFF) signal acquisition takes less than 90 seconds from a cold start, 30 seconds from a warm start and only 15 seconds from a hot start. Once fixed, signal reacquisition takes less than a second.

According to Bill Gross, Atmel's GPS Marketing Manager, "Never before has such a fully-featured GPS baseband been available at such a competitive price. Competing GPS baseband ICs with comparable sensitivity and accuracy typically costs about $9 with a total chipset price of about $17. Until now, GPS technology had been limited to expensive, high-end equipment such as luxury cars, premium mobile phones and PDAs. GPS is a huge, rapidly growing market," Gross added. "By 2008 $10 billion of in-vehicle navigation systems and $1.3 billion of GPS-based asset tracking systems are expected to be sold. Baldur's $5 price is going to help accelerate this growth, opening a floodgate of new GPS product designs and making GPS technology pervasive in cars, mobile phones, PDAs and other personal tracking devices. We wouldn't be surprised to see GPS systems in kid's lunch boxes and dog collars."

Pricing, Packaging and Availability

Baldur, part number ATR0640, is available now in a 12mm x 12mm LFBGA package. It is priced at $5 in quantities of 100,000. Atmel expects to offer complete GPS chipsets with Atmel's radio receiver chips for less than $8 by the third quarter of 2005.


(1) A global positioning system (GPS) is a satellite navigation system using a constellation of 28 satellites to provide accurate determination of location. GPS systems are used for aviation, communications, in-vehicle navigation, marine, military, people tracking, recreation surveying and mapping, timing and vehicle and freight tracking. Although signals from as few as two satellites can be used to determine a location, accuracy increases linearly with the number of different satellite signals processed. Accuracy can also be improved by applying correction algorithms to signals from the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) or Multi-functional Transport Satellite Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS). Using current technology most GPS systems can resolve a location to within about three meters. However, it is possible to achieve resolution of a few centimeters (e.g. surveying applications).

About Atmel

Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions. Focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets, Atmel ICs can be found Everywhere You Are(SM).

NOTE: Atmel(R), logo and combinations thereof, and others, are registered trademarks, and Everywhere You Are(SM) and others are trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Magellan and eXplorist are trademarks of Thales. Other terms and product names may be trademarks of others.


Atmel's GPS product information may be retrieved at .

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    Phone:  +33 1 30 60 70 68, Fax:  +49 71 31 67 24 23
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CONTACT: Vicki McCann, Director of Marketing Communications,
+1-719-540-1724, or Email Contact; or Veronique Sablereau, Corporate
Communications Manager -- Europe, +33 1 30 60 70 68, fax, +49 71 31 67 24 23,
or Email Contact, both of Atmel Corporation

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