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Sarantel Offers Real LBS Potential To Handset Manufacturers

The Sarantel LBS Pro.
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Sep 29, 2008
Sarantel has launched the Sarantel LBS Pro, a miniature, energy saving and high-performance GPS antenna aimed at mobile handset manufacturers whose commercial strategies depend on successful consumer adoption of location based services (LBS).

LBS services use handsets' geographical positions to alert consumers to services depending on where they are, where their friends are and which points of interest they are near. As such, for LBS to succeed, the devices that they are communicated through need to transmit a highly accurate geographical position, not an approximation.

Sarantel repeatedly tested a handset, from a leading manufacturer, equipped with the Sarantel LBS Pro against the same handset equipped with the original antenna technology. On the same course, at the same time of day, the user with the Sarantel-equipped phone tracked 50 percent more satellites and tracked the true course much more accurately than the same phone with the original antenna.

The Sarantel LBS Pro delivers positional accuracy and performance suitable for hands-free pedestrian navigation, which consumers are increasingly demanding. This accuracy is also fundamental to location based services that will drive mobile operator revenues. The antenna is based on Sarantel's PowerHelix filtering technology and significantly outperforms traditional antenna technologies in the following ways:

+ Better performance in urban environments with tall buildings, which typically impede satellite reception. Realistically, most mobile GPS consumers will be using their handsets in these environments.

+ Does not lose energy and de-tune when held close to the body. This means that mobile consumers can leave their phone in their pocket while listening to turn-by-turn instructions through their headsets, resulting in a more natural and safe 'hand's free' user experience.

+ Requires a minimum of 10 percent less GPS battery power so that consumers can practically use their phone for pedestrian navigation.

"Thanks to the social media revolution, there is considerable media hype and industry optimism around the commercial potential for LBS. We've been here before, so the question is: will the reality live up to the hype this time around?" asks David Wither, CEO Sarantel.

"Although it may seem counterintuitive in this economic climate, handset manufacturers have to invest in the kind of technology that exists in real navigation devices in order to provide the consumer with a fulfilling experience. We never thought we'd see the day that handset cameras came equipped with Carl Zeiss lenses, video cameras or indeed 10 megapixels of resolution, but they are now becoming standard. In order for LBS and handset navigation to be perceived as more than novelties, the same move towards quality has to be applied to GPS technology."

Essential for Mobile Network Operators
Solving positional accuracy is pre-requisite to revenue-generating LBS services that map to consumers' interest like social networking and non-invasive, targeted mobile advertising.

According to Andre Malm, telecom analyst, Berg Insight, "Consumer masses won't drive real demand until GPS technology works flawlessly. If antennas help to enable LBS services, operators' ARPU (average revenue per user) will grow as consumers sign up for useful, operational services. Furthermore, if consumers see the opportunity to combine LBS with social networking, operators could grow their subscriber base through 'friends and family' type services. Until now the LBS discussion has stood on its head; now is the time to set it upon its feet by solving the technical problems."

Sarantel LBS Pro Technical Specifications and Benefits
Sarantel LBS Pro is built on Sarantel's GeoHelix filtering technology that is less susceptible to energy lose and de-tuning in the presence of the human body because its near field energy is stored within its ceramic core.

This is a fundamental advantage of Sarantel's technology and explains why conventional GPS antennas don't work properly when worn close to the body. Today Mobile GPS users are expected to hold their mobile phones in their hand away from their body, which is simply not a natural way to use this technology and unsafe in urban environments.

The antenna also has an integrated balun (a type of transformer that converts between balanced and unbalanced electrical signals) that isolates the antenna from the device ground plane (a kind of electrically conductive surface) and rejects common mode noise from conducted power on the device chassis, improving its performance significantly.

To improve performance when using between tall buildings, Sarantel antennas all have a beamwidth in excess of 130(degrees), allowing it to pick up satellites close to the horizon, which significantly improves its positional accuracy.

The Sarantel LBS Pro accounts for the fact that today's mobile phones are small, thin, lightweight and include Bluetooth and other antenna functions. It needs no ground plane and is designed to be embedded within a phone with very limited space

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Russia In Talks With Cuba, Venezuela On Joint Use Of Glonass
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 24, 2008
Russia is negotiating with Cuba and Venezuela on the joint use of Russia's Glonass navigation satellites, the head of the federal space agency said on Tuesday.

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