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U.K. Firm to Help Pinpoint Intel Wireless Chips

Cambridge Positioning Systems (CPS) Wednesday said it has inked a deal to help pinpoint the location of mobile devices runing on Intel chips.

The Cambridge, UK-based firm said it is working with Intel to integrate its Enhanced Observed Time Difference (E-OTD) technology into a range of mobile devices running Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture (PCA) building blocks. The idea is to let PDA and smartphone users take advantage of a growing number of commercial location-based services. Intel's PCA Building Blocks - applications, communications and memory - are used with a simple standard interface, allowing for the parallel development of each.

Intel is currently preparing for the launch of its completely new mobile semiconductor (Banias), which it plans to embed on motherboards for laptops and other wireless devices. The chips are expected to debut in early 2003. Intel also maintains a mobile version of its Pentium 4 semiconductors as well.

E-OTD uses sophisticated mathematical algorithms to determine a user's position. The method generally relies upon measuring the time at which signals from the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) arrive at two geographically dispersed locations the mobile phone/station (MS) itself and a fixed measuring point known as the Location Measurement Unit (LMU) whose location is known. The position of the MS is determined by comparing the time differences between the two sets of timing measurements. The MS performs measurements without the need for any additional hardware.

To obtain accurate triangulation, OTD measurements are needed from at least three geographically distinct BTSs. Based on the measured values, the location of the MS can be calculated either in the network or in the MS itself, if all the needed information is available in the MS.

According to recent research by ARC Group, the location-based services market will grow from around $1billion worldwide this year to an estimated $15 billion by 2007. CPS predicts that consumer-driven "infotainment" services - such as "Where's my nearest?" and "friend finder" along with news, traffic conditions, proximity and community services - will drive market take-up.

"Location based services are a critical capability for mobile platforms," said Intel Wireless Communications and Computing Group vice president of marketing Tony Sica. "We believe Intel PCA provides a solid platform to help realize the potential of location services. It is an open platform that supports rich applications and leading location determination technologies like E-OTD."

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker recently launched its Intel PCA hardware and software developer kits for making Intel PCA-optimized devices and applications. The company also supports a PCA Developer Network, which gives wireless companies development, technical and marketing support for designing cell phones, personal digital assistants and other mobile Internet devices and applications.

Technology trials and deployments are currently underway in the US, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.