Atmel and u-blox Announce ATR0630 Single-Chip GPS Receiver IC

2/14/2006 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML), a global leader in the development and fabrication of advanced semiconductor solutions, and u-blox AG, a leading provider of innovative GPS receiver technology, announced today the availability of their latest GPS technology and product generation, ANTARIS® 4, in an ultra-small form factor. The new single-chip ATR0630 measures just 7 x 10 mm and integrates a complete ANTARIS 4 GPS receiver, including ROM-based software in a 96-pin BGA package. The small size plus the extremely low power consumption (62 mW) make the ROM-based ATR0630 an excellent fit for handheld and mobile applications such as mobile phones, PDAs, smartphones, aftermarket navigational products and recreational consumer products. Other products such as GPS "plug-in" accessories for PCs, small GPS mice, Bluetooth® GPS devices and other accessories equipped with GPS functionality will also enjoy the single chip's advantages in terms of small size, reduced power need and built-in features such as the ANTARIS 4 USB port.

The 96-pin, ball grid array single chip has an excellent cost-performance ratio.The single chip also brings benefits such as simplified chipset integration and a shorter bill of materials to accelerate the development of ANTARIS 4-based products and lower design risks. Lower PCB costs are achieved thanks to not only the reduction in size and simplification of the board layout but also by reducing costs in purchasing, stocking and mounting as a result of the low number of components. Additionally, integration improves reliability by minimizing the potential number of faulty solder points. Like all ANTARIS 4 chipsets, the ATR0630 supports serial EEPROM memory, which is a cost- and space-efficient alternative to parallel Flash memories for storage of custom configuration settings. The on-chip USB connectivity eliminates the need for an expensive serial-to-RS232 or serial-to-USB converter and makes ANTARIS 4-based products plug-and-play compatible in any PC environment by emulating a standard COM port to the operating system.

"The new, highly integrated, single chip ANTARIS 4 perfectly addresses the need for small form factors and the requirements of low-power applications, without sacrificing in GPS performance, and enables our customers to address new, fast-growing market segments like PDAs and smartphones," reported Atmel's BC Communications General Manager and Senior Director, Matthias Bopp.

"This latest integration step again proves the solidity of our technology - unrivalled high sensitivity and very low power consumption mark the leading edge of our ANTARIS 4 GPS engine once again," commented Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO.

The single-chip device is based on the 16-channel ANTARIS 4 product generation, which comes with full WAAS/EGNOS support and provides state-of-the-art functionality such as Assisted GPS (A-GPS) with a TTFF as low as four seconds. Other ANTARIS 4 benefits include a 45% reduction in chipset footprint, USB connectivity and unparalleled low power operation. The chip operates on 62 mW but the FixNOWTM feature, together with built-in power management capabilities, can bring power consumption down to as low as 5 microampere, enabling power-critical applications like mobile devices to operate longer without having to compromise on functionality.

As an optional extension to the ANTARIS 4 chipset, a fully integrated low-noise amplifier manufactured using Atmel's innovative Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) process, the ATR0610, is available for use in challenging reception environments, and enables cost-effective antenna designs.

ATR0630 samples are available now in 7 x 10 mm 96-pin BGA packages. Atmel and u-blox offer a complete Evaluation Kit including an ultra-small footprint example design as well as evaluation software to dramatically shorten development cycle times.

About u-blox
u-blox is an international company headquartered in Switzerland, with sales organizations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1997, u-blox develops leading positioning technology and products based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) for the automotive and mobile communications markets.

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®.

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