SnapTrack, Inc., pioneer of Wireless Assisted GPS™ location systems, and a wholly owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM Incorporated, announced today the award of a broad-based wireless location and asset-tracking patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent, No. 6,131,067, describes methods for remotely locating or tracking a wireless device via client-server systems that use a computer network or Web browser to initiate a request of a wireless device’s position, and receive the device’s position either as data or a graphic display using maps or other reference tools. The award of this patent enhances SnapTrack’s leading position in next-generation tracking systems and implementations.
“SnapTrack is pushing ahead across a broad front to enable mass market location-based applications with the most advanced wireless location technology available,” said Steve Poizner, president of SnapTrack. “We believe that SnapTrack’s continued research efforts will help strengthen our partner and licensee service offerings, and will provide our licensees’ customers with the most advanced wireless location systems possible.”
SnapTrack pioneered an advanced form of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology known as Wireless Assisted GPS that uses the U.S. government GPS satellites to locate wireless phones and other wireless devices with high precision for emergency purposes and commercial location-based services. SnapTrack’s system enables carriers to meet the demands of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E9-1-1 mandate, and also enables the design of cellular phones, pagers, and PDAs that provide users with a host of new mobile location services and e-commerce applications such as personal directions and mobile yellow pages.
In the past six months, SnapTrack has received approximately 10 new patents for inventions that improve the sensitivity and performance of its Wireless Assisted GPS system. SnapTrack now holds 24 patents, with more than three dozen additional patents pending. These patents are critical to the efficient, cost-effective deployment of Wireless Assisted GPS location systems.
QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies (QCT) has integrated SnapTrack technology into its own gpsOne™ solutions. QCT has already sampled the MSM3300™ Mobile Station Modem (MSM™) integrated circuit to a range of handset manufacturers, with handsets expected to be available later this year. The MSM3300 GPS-enabled digital baseband integrated circuit is complemented by QCT’s RFR3300™/IFR3300™ GPS-enabled RF chips. In addition, QUALCOMM has announced that it plans to integrate SnapTrack technology into upcoming gpsOne 3G products, including its MSM5200™ WCDMA baseband integrated circuit and other future products supporting cdma2000 1x, cdma2000 1xEV, and WCDMA. SnapTrack technology is the handset-based position location solution of choice to address the U.S. FCC E9-1-1 emergency wireless calling mandate. More than 30 U.S. carriers have filed for a handset-based approach to meeting the E9-1-1 mandate. QUALCOMM wireless assisted GPS position location solutions are also widely adopted by major Japanese carriers.
In a separate announcement, SnapTrack’s parent company QUALCOMM reported victories in three additional opposition proceedings in Europe and Korea in which all claims of QUALCOMM’s patents were upheld.
SnapTrack’s Wireless Assisted GPS system improves upon conventional GPS by combining information from GPS satellites and wireless networks to pinpoint a wireless handset. While conventional GPS receivers may take several minutes to provide a location fix, the SnapTrack system generally locates callers within a few seconds. With its GPS Indoors™ feature, SnapTrack’s solution provides both GPS accuracy and high availability, allowing callers to be located in a wide range of challenging call environments where conventional GPS will not work, including inside houses and moving vehicles, under heavy foliage, and in urban street canyons. The unique SnapTrack Location on Demand™ feature also ensures a caller’s privacy, giving mobile phone users control over their own location information.
SnapTrack’s products permit the design of cellular phones, pagers, PDAs and other wireless devices that operate in multiple GPS navigation modes, allowing out-of-network location coverage and a variety of thin- client applications. This capability is made practical and economical through use of SnapTrack’s SmartServer technology and two types of handset mobile technology – one based on programmable DSP technology, and the other based on a hardware core/application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). SnapTrack’s wireless location technology products require no Location Measurement Units (LMUs) installed in the network or additional cell sites, and are designed to have minimal impact on cost and handset form factor. Furthermore, SnapTrack’s technology is air-interface neutral and is applicable in any two-way wireless system: cellular/PCS, satellite, or paging; 800/900 MHz or 1800/1900 MHz; GSM, CDMA, TDMA, PDC or 3G air interfaces.
Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SnapTrack is focused on integrating GPS and two-way wireless technologies. SnapTrack’s patented architecture offers anytime, anywhere, accurate, high-speed location of a wireless caller, even inside buildings where conventional GPS does not operate. SnapTrack pioneered Wireless Assisted GPS and owns patents that are fundamental to the cost-effective deployment of Wireless Assisted GPS-based location systems. SnapTrack has commercial agreements with major wireless chipset vendors that provide most of the wireless modem chipsets to the industry. In addition, many major carriers have chosen to deploy products and services incorporating SnapTrack technology.