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Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's (been) happening?

It has been a little while and as you can imagine things have been busy and very hectic. Here is an update on the various items:
  1. Last Monday, the last revision of the PCB came back. Although I placed it as a rush order, it was late; it was supposed to have arrived the Thursday before. In the meantime I have built a new GPS module with it and tested its performance, which is up to spec now. This new module is shown in the photo (inside of the new housing prototype).

  2. The biggest milestone that got done this week is the new two-piece housing design. This has pretty much kept me busy full-time since last week:
    • New 3D CAD files (no logos) were completed and a new FDM prototype was made to verify that everything fits inside of it. I painted the prototype black, put the latest board inside and hooked the USB cable up. The result can be seen in the photo.
    • The next thing in line was sending out the new 3D housing designs to get real prototype housings CNC machined out of solid ABS plastic (no FDM). These are needed to do proper antenna tuning of the board and the housing for optimum GPS performance. These housings are expected back upcoming week.
    • Next I had to finalize the drawings for production and place the logos on them. This did not go without hick-ups and quite some time was waisted trying to get the 3D software to accept the graphics files. But eventually I managed to get everything imported.
    • I am currently detailing the lens a little more to make sure that the LED light comes out properly and has a wide viewing angle. The final CAD files are due first thing Monday morning.
    • A purchase order (PO) was placed for the injection mold making and a delivery of 1000 housings. The housings are to be completed by September 9, 2008.

  3. I also received new GPS modules with updated firmware for this new PCB design. I had problems uploading A-GPS data to them. I thought it was a firmware issue, but after talking to the GPS vendor it turns out that the A-GPS upload tool that they provided had some problems, so they provided me with an updated version which performs better but still seems a little buggy. After we get a final OK from the vendor on the module configuration and firmware, we can place a PO as well (I hope this can happen this week).

  4. Regarding contract manufacturers, I have converged on a candidate for PCB manufacturing and assembly with competitive pricing. I might have to make a few minor adjustments to the bill of materials, but after that we can get the ball running.

It looks like the Orange Gadgets website has been running pretty smoothly. As of now, 177 people have signed up so far for a total of 208 modules. Feel free to do some additional advertising among your family and friends as well as online.


ian said...

wow..I have been loggin religiously looking for updates.. luckily you have not disappointed us..

The housing of the unit seems a tad bit bigger than i thought.. oh well..

I hope the Orange Logo is going to be like florescent in color.. that would be great, and the logo itself, embedded into the casing.. not too big maybe 1/4 or 1/5 of the size of the casing perhaps.. or instead of the LED light by itself, the light actually comes from the Orange logo.. hmmm.. I know you have finalise things.. just my thoughts on this..

I was expecting a bigger than 177 user signup what with over 2000 votes...

Come on all.. i am sure we can show some support especially the IPod Touch owners.. we definitely need a GPS unit.

Rob said...


I too have your RSS feed on my google homepage and so have logged on with every update. However I still have 2 questions:

1) Will / Does this support turn by turn directions?

2) Will this be available in the UK (and when?)

Thanks for your help,

GPS said...

@ian: the housing is indeed a little bit bigger than before due to the fact that it now consists of two pieces (top and bottom) that need to clip together. Unless you want to sacrifice performance, this is the smallest it gets. I am sure you are going to like the look of it. The logos are imprinted into the housing, as silkscreens usually tend to rub off over time. The LED will be a special colorful treat :)


1) Note that only the hardware module is sold. There are various pieces of software available online that you can use with the module. The xGPS module and Roadmap are the best for navigation. The is good for Geocaching. xGPS uses offline Google map images. The current version of xGPS does not have turn by turn directions yet, only when you can connect to Google. You need a street database besides the map images for that. For certain countries (this includes Canada, US and UK) these are available online and can thus be used in combination with the map images to give a complete turn-by-turn solution. Once the hardware is done, I will start on software myself as well.

2) The hardware module will be available around the end of September. It will sell for $75 + shipping and includes the micro USB cable for charging and syncing. It will ship worldwide.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if i've overlooked anywhere but what is the price? I've scanned the blog and website but can't seem to find it.

It also appears that you're currently only signing-up people. What does this mean? Will I have to pay if I sign up? When are you expecting to start selling?

Looks great by the way, and looking forward to more information.

ian said...


can't wait to get my hands on it.. hehehe.. looking forward to the software that you will be building on it too..

"The hardware module will be available around the end of September. It will sell for $75 + shipping and includes the micro USB cable for charging and syncing. It will ship worldwide."

log in and sign up for now.. you don't have to pay until end September.. the sign up will let him know how many units would be put into production..

Anonymous said...

So, the software will be available for all the countries? I´m from Spain and I´m following this process cause I´m very interested. But Google Maps will be an option for the software? I think Google maps is the worst option. So I will wait for your software...

Anonymous said...

I am from Germany and i will be so happy when the GPS Module will be available because with this gadget the 2G iPhone ist so much better than the new 3G!!!

And if the software works pretty well it will be the best phone ever....



Anonymous said...

Will this module work like the iPhone 3g GPS in google maps? or will it work completely different from how that functions?

GPS said...

@anonymous: note that we only ship the hardware module. Various software is available online. The xGPS software that is being developed by xWaves is best for worldwide use as it uses Google maptiles which are available for most countries (note that this software is a separate application and NOT Google's on the iPhone/iPod Touch). Also, I have found Google's maps to be very accurate (at least in my area).

@anonymous: if you install the xGPS software, it will work pretty much like the Google on the 3G phone: it will put the pin-drop according to your location and track along the road you are driving. Btw. note that for the 3G iPhone, I think that access to the cellular network is required at all times for the GPS to work and to get directions. The iGPS360 module will work everywhere where you can receive a GPS satellite signal (note that the xGPS software does not do on-the-go directions either as of yet, but you can locate yourself on the map at all times).

Nicola said...

If this can help you for a future software: global map download tool; there's also a version in wich you can download map and convert to the iphone/ipod format...
thank for you great job.

GPS said...

@nicola: thanks for the note. I am aware of this tool. I have used it before to download the entire map of Orange and LA county to my iPhone (about 3.3GB; all zoom levels) and I use it with the latest JasonKit (called iLM before). It took a couple of hours to download this large of a map, convert it, and transfer it to the phone (through USB instead of wireless, see iPhone Tunnel Suite), but definitely worth it. I have all the maps I need now when on the road (I don't have internet on my T-mobile to go SIM). Don't try to upload such large files trough WiFi... your phone will get really hot... the iPhone Tunnel Suite will work through USB, even when your phone is asleep so you can let it run in the background (it still takes a long time though).

Praveen said...


I reached this page while looking for a GSM/SIM module for iPod Touch and found this - nice work. I'd been tossing around this idea of ways to convert iPod Touch to a real GSM phone and was thinking of a small module that can house a SIM and Mic. I don't have the hardware know how so would like to know if that is a feasible solution. Could you please share your thoughts...