Sony Corp made an announcement about the development of a GNSS (global navigation satellite system) reception chip at ISSCC 2016, an international academic conference on semiconductor integrated circuits (Session 26.5).
GNSS is a general term for "GPS," "Galileo," "Glonass" and "Beidou," which are run by the US, Europe, Russia and China, respectively.
According to the announcement, the power consumption of the reception chip is 1.5mW for GPS and Galileo. When its local oscillator frequency is increased to receive both GPS and Glonass signals, its power consumption is 2.3mW. They are about 1/10 those of competing products. The lowest power consumption announced at past academic conferences is 9mW, Sony said. The power consumption of the latest chip is also much lower than that of the "CXD5600" reception chip (10mW), which Sony commercialized in 2013.
There are strong demands for lower-power-consumption GNSS reception chips from wristwatch manufacturers, Sony said.
"Currently, GPS-compatible wristwatches are all digital and large because they require a rechargeable battery with a certain capacity," the company said. "Those manufacturers are demanding us to further lower the power consumption so that they can embed the chip in smart analog watches. We want to lower operation voltage and power consumption to power the chip with a photovoltaic cell in a wristwatch and eliminate the need for a rechargeable battery."