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No GPS for the Kindle Fire HD?


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Showing 1-25 of 43 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 6, 2012 1:14:46 PM PDT
Jo MW says:
I don't see it on the spec list...that'd be a bummer.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 1:16:54 PM PDT
Jazzy_Jeff says:
For the price I can understand them leaving that out.

Posted on Sep 7, 2012 8:28:24 AM PDT
Carlos says:
I would have gladly paid an extra $10-20 for the GPS chip. It should not cost more than that. Right now it makes no sense to buy a non-gps unit when the Nexus 7 has one.

Posted on Sep 7, 2012 8:37:30 AM PDT
Omitting GPS is a serious error in the design of an otherwise great product. It limits the device profoundly! Location-based advertising is just one thing that is given up by omitting a GPS chip. More seriously, it moves the device out of a broader-based market and limits it to those whose interest is only in dealing with Amazon and its product offerings. Without GPS it's not a "real" tablet.

Posted on Sep 7, 2012 9:01:09 AM PDT
ParaSam45 says:
They'll probably add it on the next version. ;)

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 4:26:18 PM PDT
Uncle Ken says:
No GPS. That was the sale killer for me.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 4:31:58 PM PDT
Old Rocker says:
The 4G version has a GPS.

The iPad doesn't have a GPS. Its not a "real" tablet?

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 4:20:54 AM PDT
jpeinsc says:
Too bad about no GPS. That kills any sale to me, since I use GPS all the time on my iPad. I guess it's okay if the device never leaves your home.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 7:15:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 10, 2012 7:48:23 AM PDT
R. D. Clark says:
The 3G versions of the iPad do have actual GPS chips. The wifi-only versions do not, although many of their owners believe otherwise because the wifi-based location services work so well.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 7:19:46 AM PDT
jsh1120 says:
If you have true GPS (not reliant on a wifi connection) on your iPad it's because you have either 3G or 4G connectivity in your device. Otherwise, you're relying on the approximate location information provided by wifi locations and triangulation.

The Nexus 7 uses this same wifi-based triangulation system and Google Maps to provide initial routing information. However, since it does not offer 3G or 4G functionality, it cannot "re-route" if you stray from an original route.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 7:24:02 AM PDT
GLIverson says:
I just lifted this from teh spec page: "Location Services Location-based services via Wi-Fi and assisted-GPS "
I am NOT certain what "assisted GPS" is, but possibly, this is exactly what you wanted??

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 7:33:11 AM PDT
Assisted GPS is what the iPad and other tablets with GPS have. It augments the GPS data with data from other sources (like cell towers and WiFi signals) to improve accuracy. It allows for higher accuracy with the lower cost GPS chips used in phones and tablets. It also allows for higher accuracy in areas that phones/tablets go that have lower quality GPS signals such as the middle of a big city.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 7:51:50 AM PDT
jsh1120 says:
"Assisted GPS" is a technology that enables location information to be gathered from a cell phone network (i.e. 3G/4G). In a true GPS device (i.e. Garmin, TomTom, etc.) location information comes directly from a satellite that provides very specific location information. Doesn't need wifi, doesn't need a cell network. However, the signal from the satellite can be blocked rather easily by something like trees.

Cell phone "gps" information comes indirectly from the locations of nearby cell phone towers. By identifying the available cell tower locations, the "modem" can triangulate an approximate (but often quite accurate) location. This is what is called "assisted GPS."

If a device lacks both "true" GPS functionality AND cell network functionality, it must rely on the location of a wifi signal. That is what the Nexus 7 and wifi only iPad's and KFHD's provide. This is the least accurate form of "location" but in conjunction with "assisted GPS" it can derive an approximate location. That is the functionality provided by the 4G KFHD and the 3G/4G iPad's.

Finally, Google provides some neat tricks by integrating the least accurate form of GPS location in the Nexus 7 (wifi only) with Google Maps. Their excellent mapping software combined with (fairly accurate) wifi location information gives the illusion of being a true GPS. And for many purposes it's sufficient. But as noted, it's not able to track movement outside the range of wifi networks.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 8:21:05 AM PDT
Just to be clear, Assisted GPS does in fact include actual GPS hardware. Anyone who's had their Onstar (which is cell only and not assisted GPS) try and tell them their location knows that pure cell tower triangulation based location accuracy is very poor. That poor accuracy is part of the reason why Assisted GPS was invented. The Enhanced 911 directive required accurate location information in cell phone which cell only could not provide. Neither could GPS alone due to the problem of being easily blocked by heavy trees and buildings, esp in the low power small chipsets needed in cell phones. Another problem wit GPS alone is the time needed to obtain the detailed location info from the satellites. Thus assisted GPS was born. A combination of both cell and GPS (and WiFi now if available). The actual location is obtained via GPS while the location database used in the triangulation of the GPS data is obtained via cell/WiFi (the ephemeris and almanac data). This allows for faster startup in general as well as better location accuracy when the GPS signals are poor.

http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/cellulartelecomms/location_services/assisted_gps.php
http://cens.ucla.edu/~mhr/cs219/location/djunkic01.pdf
http://www.gpsreview.net/a-gps/
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2008/06/assisted-gps-and-the-iphone/

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 9:10:55 AM PDT
I live in Central America and have a Nexus 7 tethered to my cell phone. The assisted GPS and Google Map inteface work perfectly. I love it!

Posted on Oct 12, 2012 6:06:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 12, 2012 6:10:44 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 6:14:43 PM PDT
@Kevin: I understand that you will be able to get a GPS app for the new 8.9" Fire HD when it is released. Check the product page for that device.

Otherwise, if you want to be certain that someone from Amazon hears your feedback, please send an email to kindle-feedback@amazon.com or kindle-fire-feedback@amazon.com if you have a Fire - we are mainly Kindle owners here, not from Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 6:15:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 13, 2012 6:25:12 AM PDT
D.L.C says:
The GPS isn't wifi triangulation. The reason it doesn't recalculate is because it uses wifi to generate the route. it doesnt use wifi to find where you are. I use navfree USA on my nexus 7 and it uses the GPS to recalculate on the fly adjustments. And I'm not tethering. You don't need wifi to use the GPS on the nexus 7. Navfree picks up where google maps drops off by storing map details and using them within the software to recalculate. You seems to be confusing how the nexus uses GPS vs wifi.

Furthermore I know you're wrong because I took my nexus out hiking where my friends on AT&T, Verizon and tmobile all had no connections but the nexus 7 still tracked our progress as we moved towards the summit. There was no wifi and no cell reception. How you explain the nexus 7 GPS map function tracking us up the trail if its wifi only?

FYI the tear down shows a dedicated Broadcom GPS receiver chip. That's irrefutable evidence the nexus 7 has a real GPS

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 6:28:51 AM PDT
jsh1120 says:
D.L.C.,

Duh...I think I must have been terminally confused in the post you referenced. If I didn't know that I don't post while drinking, I'd assume I was. :)

Here's what I should have said. Most manufacturers include GPS on the same chip as the 3G/4G capability. That's why iPads don't provide GPS unless you purchase a "4G" version. That's true of Amazon as well. On the other hand, Google includes a GPS chip in the Nexus 7 even though they offer no 3G/4G connectivity (at least not currently.)

Thanks for pointing out the error.

Posted on Oct 13, 2012 6:30:02 AM PDT
NavFree looks like a great app for the US and other supported countries. Unfortunately, I live in Costa Rica and they don't yet support it here. Open Street Maps, which the app is based on, are available for Costa Rica so hopefully we'll get the app someday. In the meantime, Google Maps work okay with my tethered Nexus 7.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 2:41:33 PM PDT
D.L.C says:
Haha. Drunk posting for the win?

A rumor 3G nexus is coming. Allegedly. Like the iPad Mini. And synthetic Unicorns.

But you're right, most devices to save money have fake GPS capabilities. A couple phones like the Galaxy SIII do have real GPS chips though. That said, cellular triangulation is much easier on the battery. Real GPS is a crazy power hog. I can go 8 days on my Nexus on light usage. I use the GPS for a two hours hiking and I'm down to 20%. Ouch.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 2:44:24 PM PDT
D.L.C says:
If you can tether, it will do the job. But I don't recall it the map function talking. I do like the turn by turn audio directions from NavFree. Even though they are occasionally off. Like when it told me to make a left turn. Across a dividend highway. That had a fence and trees between the opposite lanes. Uh no thanks? I'll just take the next actual turn.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 2:44:49 PM PDT
Dragi Raos says:
Yes, my ancient Garmin nüvi750 works on (freshly changed) battery for perhaps two hours.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 2:55:03 PM PDT
jsh1120 says:
I promise I'm sober at the moment. ;)

I think we're in agreement except possibly for one point. When I said that manufacturers include GPS on their 3G/4G chips, I didn't mean to imply that it's "fake GPS." In fact, they simply use a chip with both cellular and GPS radios on the same chip. This is cheaper and requires less space than separate components devoted to the two functions. And it allows for "assisted" GPS using cell towers to improve GPS performance (i.e. speed).

As for the power requirements of a device that has a GPS radio, we agree. My original Motorola Droid was the first device I owned with true GPS capabilities and I could exhaust its battery in a couple of hours with Google's turn by turn navigation. My Droid Razr Maxx is much, much better but that's because it has a monster battery capability crammed into a relatively small package. GPS is a major battery hog regardless of the device on which it sits. And that's one reason that dedicated GPS units can be very expensive if they're outfitted with high performance batteries.

Frankly, I suspect that one reason that Amazon has not published the battery life for the 8.9" KFHD may be because they are still tweaking the device to mediate a major battery drain in the version with 4G/GPS capabilities with software tweaks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 2:57:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 13, 2012 3:02:00 PM PDT
jsh1120 says:
Story about the first GPS installed in a BMW. Probably an urban legend but funny. Man buys his (very expensive) BMW and drives it off the lot in Germany. A few hours later, the vehicle is found in a canal. The problem was that the GPS recognized the canal but wasn't aware that crossing it involved a ferry ride.

True story. I once had to go from LAX to the Biltmore Hotel in LA late at night. Used the GPS provided in the rental car. It was dark and I was unfamiliar with the route. Eventually, the happy little voice informed me I had "reached my destination." Unfortunately, I was sitting next to a vacant lot in Long Beach. When I finally arrived at the hotel a couple of hours later, I mentioned to the desk clerk that I would have checked in earlier except for the fact that the GPS had taken me to Long Beach. He replied, "Oh, really? You're the third person this week to have that problem. We've typed a list of instructions for the hotel operator to give to people who call from that vacant lot."
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  43
Initial post:  Sep 6, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 1, 2012

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