No more maps mishaps? Broadcom's incredibly accurate GPS chip coming in 2018

Best in-car GPS Garmin DriveLux GPS
Nolan Browning/Digital Trends
Today’s GPS technology is ubiquitous, but it’s not always completely accurate — we’ve all experienced annoying moments where the maps app on our smartphones hasn’t quite been able to determine where we are. Now, chip manufacturer Broadcom has announced that big improvements are inbound.

Broadcom took to the Institute of Navigation GNSS+ conference in Portland, Oregon, this week to announce that it is manufacturing the first mass-market chip that’s capable of working with a new form of highly precise global navigation signals, according to a report from IEEE Spectrum. While current devices can generally be located with a margin for error of around 5 meters, these new chips will be accurate to within 30 centimeters.

The chip, dubbed the BCM47755, brings about other improvements. It’s not as badly impacted by interference from skyscrapers and other concrete structures in urban areas, and it reportedly consumes just half as much power as today’s crop of chips.

All global navigation satellite systems that are currently in use utilize a signal known as L1 to communicate the satellite’s location, the time, and a signature pattern used as an identifier. The BCM47755 uses this signal to lock onto the satellite, but then takes advantage of a newer, more sophisticated signal called the L5 to home in on the device’s exact location.

L5 signals are already in use, but typically in industrial applications such as vehicles and equipment used to find gas and oil reserves. Broadcom’s BCM47755 marks the first time that this technology is being applied in a mass-market chip.

Up until now, there haven’t been a huge number of L5 satellites in orbit, so there hasn’t been any rush for Broadcom to dive into offering this kind of hardware. Smartphones haven’t been powerful enough to be compatible — something that the manufacturer managed to work around by implementing a power-efficient manufacturing process, a new radio architecture, and a power-saving dual-core sensor hub.

Broadcom’s chips are reportedly set to be utilized in several smartphones that are scheduled to hit the market in 2018, but the company hasn’t yet mentioned any particular manufacturers or models that will feature the BCM47755.

Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Emerging Tech

Quantum-based accelerometer can locate objects without GPS

Researchers have created a quantum "compass" that allows navigation without satellites. The instrument, technically called a standalone quantum accelerometer, is small enough to be transportable and has a very high level of accuracy.

Hacker infects 100K routers in latest botnet attack aimed at sending email spam

An attacker is trying to infect your router with malware in order to send spam emails. If your router uses a Broadcom UPnP SDK, it could become vulnerable to this attack. So far, 100,000 routers worldwide have been infected.

After a month of bugs, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally here

After more thoroughly investigating and resolving all bugs and related issues, Microsoft is announcing the Windows 10 October 2018 is again rolling out to consumers starting today, November 13. 

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.