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Monday, August 24, 2009


Brief history

1960: The first ever navigational system – Transit – is launched by the US Navy, and used to accurately locate ballistic missile submarines and ships.

1967: The US Air Force develops the Timation satellite which proved the ability to place accurate clocks in space, a technology that GPS relies upon intensively.

1973: US Navy and Air Force combine their respective navigation systems in an effort to develop a Defence Navigation Satellite System which would later become NAVSTAR GPS.

1978: The first of the experimental GPS Block I satellites is launched (which comprised 10 satellites, the last of which was launched in 1985).

1983: A Korean civilian airliner is shot down by Russian fighters after accidentally intruding into Soviet air space. US president Ronald Reagan subsequently declassified the NAVSTAR GPS system to prevent any such tragedy from happening again, thereby making GPS available to civilians.

1989: The first of the GPS Block II modern satellites is launched.

1990: NAVSTAR GPS becomes operational.

1991: The first Gulf War begins. Although not fully operational at the time, GPS allows the American military to prove the usefulness of the system by obtaining accurate coordinates in the featureless Iraqi desert.

1994: The last of the Block IIA satellites is launched, completing the constellation of 24 GPS satellites.

1995: The Block II NAVSTAR GPS constellation is declared to be fully operational.

2005: The first modernised GPS satellite is launched and begins transmitting a second civilian signal for enhanced user performance. Six more of these are launched between 2005 and 2008, bringing the total number of GPS satellites in orbit to 31.Brief history

For more on GPS please click here:

Garmin and Asus

Garmin and Asus show the way

GPS giant Garmin and hardware maker Asus have teamed up to make a couple of new smartphones under the Nuvifone name.

Nuvifone M20
These so-called “location-centric” mobile phones, the G60 and M20, support HSDPA and come with 4GB of internal storage, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth and 3-megapixel digital cameras with autofocus.

However, that’s where the similarities between the two phones end — the Nuvifone G60 has a 3.5in touchscreen and runs on the Linux operating system, while the Nuvifone M20 features a 2.8in touchscreen and runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.

Of course the big feature on both Nuvifone models is that they have built-in A-GPS and more importantly, come with Garmin’s popular and user-friendly GPS software.
The Garmin GPS software has a number of new location-based features which Asus claims is unique in smartphones with built-in GPS.

For one thing, the GPS in both phones are meant to be always-on (although it can be turned off) and offer location-based services which are customised depending on your GPS coordinates.

For example, the Nuvifone can give you live currency and weather information based on your current location, as well as remember where you’ve parked (although not in underground car parks where the GPS is unable to get a lock).

Nuvifone G60
Additonally, the 3-megapixel camera on the G60 and M20 supports geotagging and will insert location information into the photo’s JPEG information so that it can be used in applications such as Google Maps and Apple’s iPhoto.

Overall, the emphasis for both phones is slightly different — while the G60 has a more GPS-centric slant with basic phone functions, the M20 has more robust phone features as well as Microsoft Exchange push e-mail support and Office Mobile applications.

The Nuvifone G60 costs RM1,799 and is available now, while the Nuvifone M20 is slated to appear early next month for RM2,099.