Epson has just revealed a new chip that will be a massive boost to GPS navigation and the hot topic location-based services revolution. The Infineon XPOSYS is a next-generation assisted-GPS system, and it's the world's smallest at just 3mm on each side.
The XPOSYS PMB 2540 measures just 2.8mm by 2.9mm, and according to Epson that makes it 25% smaller than other a-GPS systems on the market. According the Epson, the device is designed to consume half as much power as its competitor chips, and has boosted sensitivity so it can more accurately locate itself when its used in an indoors or street level environment. Furthermore, tight component integration means there's a reduced need for external components--possibly as few as nine--to make a full-functioning GPS system. That will make for smaller and cheaper GPS units.
And the low external component count and power consumption also implies the XPOSYS chip may find its way into far more devices than simple GPS navigation boxes and smartphones There are already camera's with integrated GPS for geotagging, but this chip simplifies that process. Imagine the future of this chip: Cropping up in location-aware animated T-shirts, or even wedding ring sized navigation units.
Beyond geolocation though, there's even potential for positional tracking. Such a small chip, combined with the world's smallest fuel celll (also 3mm on a side) and a single chip GSM unit, along with a thimbleful of electronic components could easily make spy movie-like mini tracking units cheaply and simply.
Maybe we're actually entering an age where nearly everything you own knows its location, where it will be next, and will be able to tell you--and others all about it. That's either a wonderfully enabling technology--it'll certainly be a great day when no one will have to madly hunt for their lost car keys--or a creepily Orwellian one.