Galileo Goes Live

The Galileo satelite system has finally gone live after 17 years. This service is the European funded version of the US owned GPS service and has a stated accuracy of 1m for most, and 1cm for paying customers. While there are currently only 18 satelites in the service, this number is expected to rise to up to 30 in the near future. All cars sold in Europe from 2018 will have to include a Galileo capable chip for the European eCall system.

What this means for gadget fans, of course, is that all of the devices we’re expecting at CES will likely include new chips that support Galileo. Whether that will translate to better accuracy or not we’ll have to wait and see. Most of the accuracy issues on current watches are not down to GPS accuracy but rather antenna and chipset issues and tradeoffs – battery being the biggest one.

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9 comments on “Galileo Goes Live
  1. Kristian Frost says:

    Is it (in theory) possible for watches like e.g. Fenix 3 to be updated via firmware, so they can use the Galileo system?

    • lusty says:

      No I believe this needs a new chipset. Also at this stage it’s unlikely Garmin would do this via firmware when a new watch is due.

    • the5krunner says:

      I believe it is ‘yes’. I believe that many chips are already able to do it and ‘just’ require firmware. ‘Just’ could be fairly involved for Garmin.
      We’re looking at 2020 for Galileo, I believe. ie Garmin Fenix 6 territory!! It will NEVER happen on the F3. EVER. for marketing reasons not technical ones.

      I don’t specifically know the answer to the F3, maybe that is why Mr Lusty has given that answer. Mr Google will know a more definitive answer than Mr Lusty!

      • lusty says:

        From a technical perspective the exitsing chips might be able to work. There are various differences between GPS and Galileo though which I would say make this unlikely to work well, and would probably drain the battery doing processing. Anything involving radio though will need type approval and that’s why new chipsets will come along. The various chip manufacturers wouldn’t get approval for old chips to use Galileo as it’s expensive and doesn’t help their business sell units. A new chipset with approval might be virtually identical but the ability to use the logo and officially support a new standard will sell. I’d expect these to be available already, and so it’s likely the devices at CES will have the Galileo logo on the box even if the firmware isn’t thoroughly tested. It was the same when Glonass was added.

    • Luís Pinto says:

      Yes because Garmin Fenix 3 uses the chipset Mediatek 3333: https://labs.mediatek.com/en/chipset/MT3333

      • Luís Pinto says:

        This is What Garmin says about it: “On December 15th the European Commission announced that the European satellite system Galileo will start offering its initial services. Over the next few years Galileo will increase the number of satellites from the existing 18 to the full operational capacity of 30 satellites. We at Garmin have been tracking the development of Galileo for over a decade and will continue to track its development. Many of our products are Galileo capable, and now that the Galileo system has reached its initial operational capability, we will carefully test and validate our Galileo capable products and provide selected updates at a future date. We are committed to delighting our customers with best in class positioning capabilities, and look forward to integrating the Galileo service into many of our products.” https://support.garmin.com/faqSearch/en-US/faq/content/gwhwlwegEx3iAUBY9UEbd9

  2. the5krunner says:

    currently it is just the initial service that went live a few days ago. here is the original source: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Navigation/Galileo_begins_serving_the_globe

  3. Rodrigo says:

    If Galileo system could not be operational on current GPS devices, is a huge dumb mistake. Imagine how many devices around the globe as potential clients (open mode, of course) and they simply ask them “hey, trash it…I provide a new service that does the same!”. It is suicide, don’t you agree?
    I’ve to take some paper to know more about the system, but for commercial reasons it must be able to provide signal to at least a plenty of new GPS devices.

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