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Microsoft uses the cloud to cut power-hogging GPS chips’ battery consumption

Published Dec 25th, 2012 8:55AM EST
Microsoft Cloud-Based GPS

One sure way to deplete your smartphone’s battery life is to leave GPS services turned on for a prolonged period of time. But now researchers at Microsoft (MSFT) have come up with a smart way to get phones’ GPS chips to consumer significantly less power by outsourcing some of their key functions to the cloud. Technology Review reports that Microsoft researchers have figured out a way to use the GPS chips to only collect the most important data from satellites while they relying on “public, online databases” to collect other key data “such as satellite trajectories and Earth elevation values, to calculate the device’s past locations.” Microsoft Research principal researcher Jie Liu tells Technology Review that low-powered GPS chips could lead to more “continuous location-sensing applications” that can give users more detailed and accurate information than many of today’s GPS-capable apps.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.