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VIDEOVIEW: Samsung SGH-i780 - A-GPS functionality
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 15.11.07 - 12:44:59 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 34958x
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As mentioned, one of the features of the Samsung SGH-i780 is its A-GPS receiver and in today's video view I have a closer look on how well it works. Standard GPS receivers must download data from GPS satellites. This is difficult and can take several minutes. A-GPS dramatically improves the performance of GPS receivers by providing them with data that they would ordinarily have to download from the GPS satellites. With A-GPS data, GPS receivers can operate faster and more reliably.
So the i780's A-GPS combination improves the overall performance for example when surrounded by tall buildings or when the satellite signals are weakened by being indoors or under trees and, this is important to know, it doesn't necessarily used a GPRS or UMTS connection but WiFi works fine as well.

Nevertheless, to use the i780'S A-GPS receiver, the mobile phone radio needs to be turned on. In flight mode, A-GPS cannot be used. The i780 indicates in the phone application if the A-GPS receiver is in use or not. On the left a screenshot with A-GPS off, on the right A-GPS on and in use:

In general, A-GPS doesn't needs to be turned on or off. As soon as an application calls the A-GPS receiver it turns on automatically (as well as it switches off automatically as soon as the application doesn't requires GPS anymore or if closed).

In the video bellow I've used Google Map Mobile to find myself:

As you can see in the video above, first A-GPS was off, after Google Map Mobile was launched and GPS was activated, A-GPS switched on automatically.

Coming next, a closer look at the optical joystick and the 320 x 320 pixel touchscreen.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by twips on 15.11.07 - 13:08:09

Hi Arne!

Thanks for these wonderful insights...
Back to the GPS question that came a little bit clearer to me. But again, my undestanding is that the device contains general GPS functionality (with a regular GPS receiver) plus A-GPS information supplied through networks, is this correct? In another words, if I switch off network or I am in an area where there is not enough network supported location based info I still will be able to use the GPS-receiver, right?

Also, what about the touchscreen, is it the same robust type as with the HTC touch, so you can easily use it with your finger or is it more fragile, so i need to use a stylus? I rather have a touch screen device unprotected in my pocket than a "soft" touchscreen as used in the SDA compact for example

Thanks,

twips

Posted by Arne Hess on 15.11.07 - 13:47:27

twips wrote:

Back to the GPS question that came a little bit clearer to me. But again, my undestanding is that the device contains general GPS functionality (with a regular GPS receiver) plus A-GPS information supplied through networks, is this correct? In another words, if I switch off network or I am in an area where there is not enough network supported location based info I still will be able to use the GPS-receiver, right?

Yes, you are right. The GPS receiver can work on its own without the "A-". However, in this case the fix took pretty long. But anyway - if you are in the "middle of the Sahara", without any cellular towers around you, you will get the GPS signal as well!

Also, what about the touchscreen, is it the same robust type as with the HTC touch, so you can easily use it with your finger or is it more fragile, so i need to use a stylus? I rather have a touch screen device unprotected in my pocket than a "soft" touchscreen as used in the SDA compact for example

The touchscreen is a separate topic I will cover with a different video (what else ;-) but as I mentioned in my video view yesterday, it's a kind of "Bio Touch" display as HTC uses it for its Touch devices as well and these displays are different to traditional displays since they feature a pretty solid Plexiglas panel on top of the LCD display which has a thin touch-sensitive film on top. This makes the display stable but not scratch resistant.
Nevertheless, the LCD display and the touch sensitive unit are separated which protects the LCD display itself.

Posted by twips on 15.11.07 - 14:06:31

Arne Hess wrote:

Yes, you are right. The GPS receiver can work on its own without the "A-". However, in this case the fix took pretty long. But anyway - if you are in the "middle of the Sahara", without any cellular towers around you, you will get the GPS signal as well!

The touchscreen is a separate topic I will cover with a different video (what else ;-) but as I mentioned in my video view yesterday, it's a kind of "Bio Touch" display as HTC uses it for its Touch devices as well and these displays are different to traditional displays since they feature a pretty solid Plexiglas panel on top of the LCD display which has a thin touch-sensitive film on top. This makes the display stable but not scratch resistant.
Nevertheless, the LCD display and the touch sensitive unit are separated which protects the LCD display itself.

Sounds like the "Eierlegende Wollmilchsau" to me :-), terrrific device. Thanks for the great work, Arne!

Posted by federico on 16.11.07 - 14:26:16

Two questions about i780 and GPS.
1. Does A-GPS waste money for phone connection with GSM-operators?
2. Can I switch off A-GPS and let run only GPS-connection?
Thanks
federico

Posted by Arne Hess on 16.11.07 - 14:46:36

1. If you mean if it establishes a GPRS or UMTS data connection: Yes (but I'm not sure if it is wasted money).
2. A-GPS is GPS but it looks like the i780 isn't establishing a connection on its own to download GPS data but uses an existing one. If there is no connection established, it uses its luck with the received GPS signal only.

Posted by federico on 16.11.07 - 15:51:02

thanks for your quick reply.
If I correctly understand, I suppose that Assisted-function cannot be switched off when phone is on.
Is it exact?
Txs

Posted by Arne Hess on 16.11.07 - 15:55:52

Not with the version I have here but please keep in mind that it isn't the final product. However, as I said, the A-GPS receiver doesn't establish a data connection but only use a running one.

Posted by federico on 16.11.07 - 18:10:28

Thanks for your answer. It's an exciting device.
A navigation software (tomtom or similar) is given with your phone?
Any hypothesis about final price in Europe?

Posted by Arne Hess on 16.11.07 - 18:24:04

No, it's an engineering sample - no extra software, no accessories and I have no information what the final sales pack might includes. Also no price indication yet.
Make sure to bookmark the::unwired and you are one of the first to know! ;-)

Posted by federico on 01.12.07 - 10:48:19

Hi!
Now have you tested a navigation software (Tomtom or similars) on your device?
Did you try to run them on your device?
Txs
federico

Posted by Arne Hess on 01.12.07 - 10:58:40

Yes I did. I tested i-Go and that worked well, navigation-wise. But it had problems with the uncommon screen resolution. I expect similar problems with other navigation software which needs to be adopted by these developers.

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