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Upgraded IC solutions advance car GPS receiver line

Makers are boosting the product performance and quality of car GPS receivers with new processors and modules.

China suppliers of car GPS receivers are upgrading to the latest IC solutions under efforts to boost product performance. Manufacturers are either integrating SiRF’s Atlas V and Prima, Samsung’s S3C6410 and Arm11 for enhanced processing capability or developing their own technologies to set releases apart from the competition. Makers of personal navigation devices or PNDs are capitalizing on the features of the SiRF Atlas V or Prima. Enterprises such as YF and Apical have launched variants with SiRF Atlas V.

Car GPS receiver
Coagent’s CA 3669 model boasts a 7in LCD HD screen.

Following the trend for all-in-one car infotainment systems, nearly all car GPS devices from China have built-in DVD players. Since most companies use similar IC solutions, the majority of products pack MP3/MP4 support, e-book reader, Bluetooth, FM transmitters and CMMB or DVB-T or ISDB-T.

Many incorporate navigation and traffic message channel or TMC capability. PNDs come with mounts for in-car installation. Enterprises are also developing new designs in line with current trends in sports fashion.

Makers are targetting markets such as South America and the Asia-Pacifi c region. Exports of car navigation equipment to Russia and Brazil increased by 182 and 550 percent, respectively, last year, according to China customs statistics. Guangdong Coagent Electronics S&T Co. Ltd is targeting buyers in South America and Russia in 1H11. The supplier believes it is easier to penetrate new areas than expand in Europe and the US. It is currently promoting its in-house Caska brand to clients in Southeast Asia and South America.

Various GPS module solutions adopted
PNDs, in-dash GPS still in the lead
Taiwan: PNDs, trackers lead supply
Product gallery

Car DVD with built-in GPS navigation
The CRS-2701 model from Chuangrisheng is a car DVD with built-in GPS navigation.
Various GPS module solutions adopted

China makers currently offer GPS module options based on different solutions. Shenzhen Mesada Technology Co. Ltd, YF and Apical are among the major local solution designers and core For PNDs, YF, Apical and PortableView account for almost 90 percent of the country’s solutions. Some entry-level suppliers use MediaTek ICs, which are said to be similar to SiRF’s Atlas IV. YF has developed its PF82 PND solution based on the dualcore Arm11 processor. This packs a 500MHz CPU, 250MHz DSP and Windows CE 6.0 OS. It has default 64MB DDR2 or optional 128MB DDR2, a SiGe SE4150 GPS radio receiver, and can support 800x480 pixels for 5 and 6in LCD screens and resistive-type touch panels. Optional functions include an FM transmitter, Bluetooth, an external TMC module, digital TV, USB and an SD/MMC card reader.

Apical has released its GPS main board based on the SiRF Atlas V. Meanwhile, Olivesky Int’l Electronic Co. Ltd’s EG5003 model is a 5in PND with 500MHz core frequency, 128MB SDRAM, 4GB NAND flash storage, TFT touchscreen and Windows CE 6.0 OS.

Companies specializing in built-in GPS devices are developing variants using the Samsung S3C6410 or SiRF Prima. The 6410core model from Shenzhen Mesada is a GPS core board based on the first processor. It features 800MHz frequency and runs on Windows CE 6.0 Core OS. It has 64 to 256MB memory and 128MB to 8GB built-in storage space.

The solution has I/O interfaces for external functions such as DVB-T, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and rearview system. Besides traditional video playback for ASF, WMV and DivX, RMVB is supported. For headrest monitors, the core board delivers 3D hardware acceleration for better UI performance and dual-screen display. Shenzhen Mesada is working on products based on the S5PC100 and S5PV210 platforms.

Most of YF’s 2-DIN in-dash car GPS adopt its own solution patterned after the SiRF Prima. The CP8003-M model is one example, and was specifically designed for the VW Passat. Riding on the SiRF Prima, the 600MHz dual-core processor features 3D hardware acceleration and supports OpenGL. It has 2 to 8GB built-in memory, 8in TFT touchscreen, 800x480-pixel resolution, Bluetooth handsfree kit, AM/FM radio, e-book reader and rearview camera. Dual-zone entertainment and an external digital TV and gyroscope are likewise enabled.

Car GPS receivers price guide
PNDs, in-dash GPS still in the lead

PNDs and in-dash receivers continue to drive the car GPS device segment in mainland China, which also constitutes sun visor and flip-down configurations. Mainstream models belonging to the first category come with 3.5, 4.3, 5, 6 or 7in screens and enhanced functionality. Such value-added units, however, are shipped in small quantities and to specific outlets due to the high price.

Most systems integrate SiRF Atlas IV, 500MHz frequency, 64 or 128MB SDROM, and 128MB, 2GB or larger optional flash storage. The latest releases boast a SiRF Atlas V solution and 2 to 8GB NAND flash memory.

Typical in-dash car GPS devices feature 500 or 600MHz frequency and use Samsung S3C2451 or S3C6410 processor, and SiRF Atlas IV or Prima. These normally integrate basic A/V and MP3/MP4 playback, TV, radio, RDS, Bluetooth with advanced audio distribution profile, and parking assist systems. Large or midsize suppliers utilize maps from Gate5, Route 66 and iGo.

The LCD panels are sourced from Taiwan manufacturers CMO, HannStar, Prime View or Innolux, and local providers such as Tianma. Others obtain inputs from Japan’s Sharp and South Korea’s LG and Samsung.

Overall, prices of car GPS devices are largely dependent on the solution used and features and functions integrated. Bluetooth adds $7 to 9, Sisvel license for MP3/MP4 playback $1, and Windows CE OS $1.50. Flash memory and map costs are normally not included in the quotes as buyers can specify storage capacity and map requirements.

The order volume is also a price determinant, especially in PNDs. Mass orders typically exceed 1,000 units. Small batch projects require higher quotes.

Despite the recent appreciation of the yuan of as much as 2 percent, most manufacturers plan to keep car GPS rates stable. Increases will likely be for new and enhanced models. For some products, prices may decline by up to 5 percent.

Car GPS receiver
The TR-600 model from Globalsat supports A-GPS, geofencing, handsfree and data logging functions.
Taiwan: PNDs, trackers lead supply

Personal navigation devices and trackers are currently the two most promising GPS segments in Taiwan, although receivers, automatic vehicle locators and navigators are likewise available. Besides car location identification, more releases boast expanded functionality comprising fleet management and asset tracking. Some are suitable for sports and recreation, and geographic surveying. Water-resistant variants are targeted at marine, aviation and commercial applications such as in fire trucks, police cars, and even utility vehicles and buses.

GPS receivers usually integrate Bluetooth or USB capability. Most of them have tracker and logger functions. Car applications emphasize navigation, tracking, emergency notification and data management.

The majority of car GPS receiver makers on the island also offer modules for PNDs, in-car navigators and trackers.

R&D initiatives are leaning toward decreased power consumption and higher sensitivity. Besides hardware enhancements, companies are improving software, with several looking to support location-based services.

The leading GPS receiver manufacturers are Holux, Royaltek, Globalsat, Leadtek, Garmin and Mio. The major chipset suppliers are SiRF, MediaTek, u-blox and Broadcom. The recent decline in input costs resulting from increased demand is tightening price competition.

Despite this and the threat from GPS phones, in-vehicle applications are expected to remain a strong segment for GPS devices. Shipments of portable navigation products, including PNDs, are forecast to hit 65 million units this year, nearly three times 2006 figures, according to iSuppli.

Europe and the US are currently the two largest markets for most companies. Mainland China, however, is increasingly seen as a key destination. Other potential growth areas are the Middle East, and Central and South America.

In-dash multimedia system and GPS navigation
Product gallery

Chongqing Xinsong Electronic Science Technology Co. Ltd

(mainland China)
Model: XS5500
MOQ: 1,000 units
Description: In-dash multimedia system and GPS navigation; Bluetooth; CD, VCD, DVD; radio, mobile TV; MP3, MP4 playback

Car GPS receiver

Guangdong Coagent Electronics S&T Co. Ltd

(mainland China)
Model: CA126
Description: For Toyota, Prado 2010; 8in LCD, 800-pixel resolution HD digital screen; iPod, MP3 compatible; Bluetooth handsfree, A2DP; steering wheel control; GUI, USB port, dual zones, screen saver, SD card port; IPAS, TPMS, rear camera, parking sensor; optional HD navigation, digital TV

Car GPS receiver

Olivesky Int’l Electronic Co. Ltd

(mainland China)
Model: EG5003
Description: Centrality Atlas V; 5in TFT touchscreen, 480x272 pixels; 500MHz frequency; 38,400 baud rate; Windows CE 6.0 OS; 4GB NAND flash, 128MB SDRAM, TransFlash card; 20 channels; built-in antenna; built-in speaker, photo viewer, MP3/MP4 playback, text viewer, FM transmitter, multilanguage

Car GPS receiver

Shenzhen Chuangrisheng Technology Co. Ltd

(mainland China)
Model: CSR-2801
Description: For Highlander; 2-DIN car DVD player; 7in HD digital TFT LCD; 800-pixel resolution; MP3/ MP4 playback, CD, VCD, DVD, DVCD, SVCD, CD-G, CD-R/RW, JPEG, WMA; plug-and-play for digital camera, portable disc player; USB port, card reader, Bluetooth; iPod, analog/digital TV, FM/AM radio support; 4x45W amplifier; multilanguage OSD

Car GPS receiver

Globalsat Technology Corp.

Model: BU-353
Description: SiRFstar III; -159dBm sensitivity; fast TTFF at low signal level; NMEA 0183; WAAS ENGOS; built-in SuperCap, patch antenna; USB; water-resistant, anti-slip; LED indicator

Car GPS receiver

Sunitec Enterprise Co. Ltd

Model: BG110
Description: SiRFstarIII, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR; 10m operating distance; 20 parallel channels; internal GPS,
Bluetooth antenna; 45s cold, 2s hot start; automotive/fleet management, asset tracking, sports, recreation, geographic surveying applications; built-in 3.75VDC, 570mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery; 69.2x44.2x15.8mm

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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