View Full Version : u-blox GPS Technology to Power Microsoft MapPoint 2009 USB Stick

Eric Frost
08-28-2008, 11:26 AM
u-blox GPS Technology to Power Microsoft MapPoint 2009 USB Stick
Thursday August 28, 11:30 am ET

THALWIL, Switzerland, August 28 -- u-blox Holding AG today announced that Microsoft Corporation selected its latest positioning engine, u-blox 5, for a new "GPS Locator" USB stick. The "GPS Locator" USB stick will be bundled with the next release of MapPoint, Microsoft's business travel and map software package.

The new u-blox 5 GPS chipset is a highly integrated, cost-efficient GPS engine that offers users accurate positioning in a small package without compromising on performance. GPS devices are often bulky and too big to connect to a notebook without a USB cable. With u-blox' innovative u-blox 5 GPS chipset, Microsoft was finally able to overcome this problem, offering users a compact, easy to use GPS-enabled USB stick that feels very much like memory sticks they are used to.

The "GPS Locator" USB stick provides users with reliable positioning and a USB 2.0 port for fast and easy data transfer all in one tiny package that easily plugs into any computer.

Microsoft expects that this bundled solution, leveraging on Microsoft's leading location software with u-blox' GPS excellence, will further expand the market reach of MapPoint.

"We are very proud that Microsoft uses u-blox 5 for its new MapPoint package," said Nikolaos Papadopoulos, President of u-blox America. "The ultra-fast start-up time of the u-blox 5 positioning engine, added to the engine's high sensitivity, as well as cost and space efficiency make it ideal for mass-market applications like Microsoft's innovative MapPoint location product."

The 2009 edition of MapPoint with u-blox 5-based "GPS Locator" USB Stick is expected to be on the shelves in August 2008.


Eric Frost
08-29-2008, 10:51 AM
I haven't tested it so I'm not sure if this one will work, but here's a similar usb stick gps on Amazon..

Amazon.com: Garmin 010-10999-00 USB ANT Stick: Electronics (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UO9KSY?tag=mappointresou-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B000UO9KSY&adid=1NP4NJ3CNZE402PJMA4B)

Any recommend a GPS?


Marvin Hlavac
08-29-2008, 11:25 AM
Eric, the Amazon.com product is not really a GPS receiver, but rather just a USB memory stick designed to work in conjunction with a particular Garmin device. However, the press release does in fact talk about a new GPS receiver with a very attractive form factor.

USB GPS receivers have become quite inexpensive these days. Few years ago one would need to pay about a hundred dollars for any USB GPS receiver. Nowadays, hundred dollars will buy you three of them. ;)

I usually recommend a plain GPS "puck", BU-353 by GlobalSat. It is based on the very good SiRFstarIII chip. Shop around, but you shouldn't pay much more than $35 today. Here's one store that sells it: GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver - Cable GPS Receiver (http://www.semsons.com/glbuusbgpsre.html)

If you want something that looks like a memory stick, check out Deluo NavStick USB GPS: Deluo NavStick USB GPS*-*Deluo Electronics (http://www.deluoelectronics.com/customer/217-Deluo_NavStick_USB_GPS) (I have not tested this one myself).

Eric Frost
08-30-2008, 11:23 AM

here's more on the topic from Bloomberg.

U-blox Rises to Two-Month High on Use by Microsoft (Update2)


09-01-2008, 08:35 AM
Marvin: Is the SIRF 3 chipset really that much better than the two?

I was going to get a copy of Streets & Trips 2009 just to keep a handle on where the product is. I still have the puck that shipped with 2005, but barely use it so I might skip the "with GPS version".


Marvin Hlavac
09-01-2008, 09:13 AM
Richard, the 2005 version came with the SiRFstarII based unit GPS-360. There was a noticeable sensitivity improvement when the SiRFstarIII unit, GPS-500, came out. Many users commented they noticed the difference immediately. I don't think users will notice much difference this time around, though. And if you are happy with your GPS-360, then there is no need to spend money - especially if you use it infrequently. I posted a bit more thoughts on that here (http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/microsoft-streets-trips/872-u-blox-gps-technology-power-new-microsoft-usb-gps-receiver.html#post5529).

09-01-2008, 09:31 AM
Thanks. Marvin. I suspected it wouldn't be worth it :-)


Eric Frost
09-06-2008, 09:44 AM
u-blox on Track With New u-blox 5 Technology - 32% Volume Growth in the First Half of 2008, Sales and Net Profit Impacted by Weak US Dollar

THALWIL, Switzerland, September 5 u-blox-AG, the leading Swiss provider of GPS receiver technology, today announced sales for the first half year of 2008 of CHF 40.3 million. This constitutes a 2.3% growth over the first half year of 2007. Without the negative impact of the weak US dollar, growth would have been 11.9%. Net profit of CHF 3.7 million remained unchanged in comparison to the same period in 2007.

Operational Highlights

- u-blox 5, the latest GPS receiver technology, was
successfully introduced to the markets and has found widespread
acceptance. In Asia a large percentage of u-blox customers have already
migrated to the new platform.
- Total volume sales of modules of all product generations
increased by 32%.
- Sales growth has not been as strong due to the weakness of the US
dollar against the Swiss franc. This had a negative impact limiting net
profit to the same amount as in the first half year 2007.
- Sales were further limited by capacity constraints on the part of
the subcontractor for ANTARIS 4 chipsets.
- The number of new business opportunities for u-blox 5 based
products has been growing in all business areas. Accounts with industry
leaders have been added in the automotive and mobile terminal sectors.
- u-blox expects a stronger second half of 2008 with sales growth
over the first half year in the range of 10% to 20% and an adjusted EBIT
margin of 16% to 20%, based on actual exchange rates for the Swiss franc.

Sales in the first half of the year 2008 saw a total growth of 2.3% over
the first six months of 2007 to CHF 40.3 million. Adjusted for exchange rate
effects, growth would have been 11.9%. In terms of units sold u-blox has
increased output by a strong 32%. Sales growth, however, has not been as
robust because of the weakness of the US dollar against the Swiss franc. In
general, market prices for our mainstream products decreased at a similar
rate as in the same period in 2007. In addition, production problems with the
manufacturing partner of ANTARIS 4 chipsets have resulted in constraints on
our deliveries and thus unexpectedly limited our growth capabilities.

Sales in the Americas declined by 13% due to increasing shift of
customers' production to Asia and due to the weak US dollar. In Europe, the
Middle East and Africa an increase of 17% could be realized, thanks to strong
business activity. In Asia, numbers fell by 1%, also due to the weak US
dollar and some significant business in the first half of 2007, which could
not be repeated. In all areas volume grew vigorously.

Despite the challenges, gross margin increased from 35.7% in the first
half of 2007 to 39.8% in the first half of 2008. This is thanks to u-blox 5
products, which in the first six months of this year already represented 25%
of the shipped volume. Profit from operations (EBIT) grew slightly to CHF 4.5
million, and net profit remained constant at CHF 3.7 million, impacted by the
weak US dollar. Adjusted EBITDA reached CHF 6.7 million for the period (CHF
7.4 million for first half 2007). Operational costs were higher than in the
previous year, with increased expenditures over the period of CHF 1 million
for R&D and CHF 0.5 million for marketing and sales. This was in accordance
with expectations.

Cash flow from operations provided CHF 3.8 million (CHF 7.3 million in
the first half of 2007) and was impacted by one-time payments for outlays in
the context of u-blox' recent IPO.

Strong Market Demand

The markets served by u-blox have seen steady expansion with many new
applications and products launched for consumer and industrial use. The
demand for positioning solutions has been growing continuously and u-blox was
able to ship record volumes of products. The new GPS receiver platform has
found very high interest in the market and has been rated by design engineers
as a leading product in the industry. The launch of u-blox 5 allows u-blox to
compete very successfully, also in light of the ongoing market consolidation
into fewer players. u-blox believes that its market position could be
substantially strengthened, which is clearly visible by the very large number
of new business opportunities that have developed during this time frame. The
sales organization was heavily engaged in supporting customers with
implementing u-blox 5 technology into many new applications. Consequently
u-blox sold its entire production of u-blox 5 products to the market.

Operations expanded, and capacity constraints overcome

On the operational side u-blox has ramped up production volumes for
u-blox 5 chipsets and modules and added extra manufacturing and testing
capacity for them. Additional semiconductor specialists for R&D were
recruited in order to expand product development capabilities. The marketing
and sales teams were enlarged to deal with the growing demand, and u-blox has
increased its presence, primarily in Japan and in the Americas.

Important gains in market position

u-blox has won significant new accounts with industry leaders in the
automotive market and in consumer applications. Important new customers are
involved in tracking and fleet management solutions, navigation devices and
handheld communication devices. Microsoft, for example, has launched the
latest version of their MapPoint software package incorporating a u-blox 5
based GPS stick that fits every USB port of a PC. The entire New York taxi
fleet was outfitted with tracking units including GPS receiver technology
from u-blox, and the new Peugeot 107 benefits from a portable navigation
device with u-blox 5 inside. Two new u-blox 5 based golf tracking products
were rolled out by SkyGolf and uPlay, and Openmoko introduced an interesting
open source platform for mobile terminals incorporating u-blox 5 technology.

The product range was completed with a full range of u-blox 5 products,
both chipsets and modules. In addition, specialty products were launched, for
example for timing applications, which have created new demand.


New products are under development that will complement the product line
in the future. A new technology platform will be added in 2009 with the aim
of deepening and expanding the response to market needs through application
and sector specific solutions. Later this year u-blox plans to launch
significant additions to the product line, including a new module form
factor. In the market u-blox anticipates additional business from both
automotive and mobile terminal applications. u-blox 5 technology will clearly
take the lead in shipments over ANTARIS 4.

u-blox is confident that the second half of 2008 will show stronger sales
than the first half and product capacity has been expanded accordingly. New
customer projects will go into production phase and will generate additional
demand. u-blox expects a sales growth over the first half year in the range
of 10% to 20%, with an adjusted EBIT margin of 16% to 20%, based on actual
exchange rates for the Swiss franc.

About u-blox

u-blox is a fabless semiconductor positioning solutions provider for the
automotive, mobile communications and infrastructure markets. u-blox develops
chips and complete modules based on the Global Navigation Satellite Systems
(GNSS) including GPS and GALILEO. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in
Switzerland, the u-blox group is listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange and has
offices in the USA, in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
For more information, please visit u-blox: Home (http://www.u-blox.com).