Skip to main content
Loading ...

Your Country

Your Country

Change your address

You are here

Great solution for GPS sports watches

March 15, 2017
sport watch

GPS  running watches such as Garmin Forerunner, Tomtom Spark or Polar M400, make up one of the fastest‑growing segments of the wearable device market, and for good reason. While simple wrist‑based fitness trackers need to tether to a smartphone for positioning and distance information, GPS watches have onboard GNSS reception. For runners, hikers, and other outdoor athletes, having accurate distance and location data available at a glance helps them pace themselves better, track performance, and navigate difficult terrain with ease.

But while GPS watches are invaluable for outdoor athletes, today’s watches have to be charged very often when GPS is used. GPS functionality is without a doubt the number one drain in a wearable device, and it’s no different for these advanced sports watches. Not only do athletes have to charge their watch often, but GPS watches also often come in bulky designs to accommodate the large batteries needed.

However bulky watches with poor battery life may soon be a thing of the past. A new GNSS technology from u‑blox is now on the market that promises watches with slimmer designs, better battery life, and even more features.

Slimmer Designs
When it comes to wearables, form factor rules. Worn on the body, these devices need to be comfortable and attractive. Ergonomics, weight, and aesthetics all need to be taken into account to a much higher degree than in any other consumer electronics category.

For GPS watches, the battery has been a significant barrier to slimming down the device. GNSS functionality currently is the biggest power consumer in the system, so to keep operating times sufficient, large batteries are needed.

With one‑third of the energy consumption of previous‑generation positioning technology, the u‑blox UBX‑M8230‑CT GNSS chip with Super‑E mode changes the game. Thanks to its ideal balance between power and performance, it allows GPS watches to sport much smaller batteries while still supporting the same battery life and without impact on tracking accuracy. For GPS watches, smaller batteries mean slimmer, lighter, better‑looking watches. Also very attractive to women who aren't fond of bulky devices, but certainly love running.


More Features
With more and more GPS watches coming on to the market, devices have to offer more features and benefits to stand out. While basic GNSS location tracking and recording functionality was once enough, these days the best GPS running watches offer advanced running metrics, music, on‑device route mapping, heart‑rate monitoring, and more.

More features unfortunately mean more processing, and more energy consumption. By saving energy with an efficient GNSS receiver, there’s more power budget for other watch features.

The u‑blox UBX‑M8230‑CT allows these watches to incorporate more functionality to stand out from the crowd: music storage and playback that allows users to be untethered from their phone; advanced running metrics for users to view detailed running performance data right, or even route‑mapping data on the watch itself. Heart‑rate monitors and other fitness data tracking sensors can also be accommodated, allowing GPS watches to merge fitness tracker functionality.

A Better Watch
With the newest generation of GNSS positioning technology, the biggest problem with wearables – power consumption – has been solved. The UBX‑M8230‑CT GNSS chip from u‑blox provides strong positioning performance with one‑third of the power consumption of standard parts, allowing these devices to be slimmer, easier to use, and more functional than ever. The future of GPS sports watches is looking bright.


Florian Bousquet
Market Development Manager, Product Center Positioning, u-blox


by Patty Felts

u‑blox has partnered with T‑Mobile US, the first operator to roll out a commercial Narrowband IoT (NB‑IoT or LTE Cat NB1) network in the US.

January 09, 2018
Boosting GNSS performance with sensor fusion


by Alexander Somieski

Has your car’s GPS ever led you astray? After following it blindly for an hour, it suddenly dawns on you that you’re heading in the wrong direction.

December 07, 2017

by Patrick Mannion

The Security Manifesto and accompanying Digital Social Contract are an industry‑wide call to action from Arm’s CEO at the recent Arm TechCon, but developers have to act now, using available tools and pushing back to ge

November 17, 2017
Galileo Satellite Constellation by Lukas Rohr:


by Clemens Buergi

Two decades after it was first conceived, the Galileo global navigation satellite system is raining down its signals across the globe.

November 14, 2017
Connecting cars for over 12 years

by Thomas Nigg

The automotive industry found u‑blox sometime around 2005. It was neither anticipated nor planned, but looking back, it’s been a fantastic adventure. Since, we’ve sold dozens of millions of positioning and communication devices to automotive Tier Ones and OEMs.

November 07, 2017
dog tracker

by Florian Bousquet

GPS trackers – small, wearable devices used to track people, pets and animals – have made life easier for parents, pet owners, wildlife researchers, farmers, and businesses alike.

November 02, 2017
Arm TechCon

There’s a lot that goes into making IoT applications run smoothly and securely. From designing the hardware to ensuring robust connectivity, security, privacy, and data collection, the success of a prototype or of an end product hinges on cleanly clearing all of these hurdles. Sound daunting?

October 25, 2017

by Florian Bousquet

From the Apple Watch, to the Samsung Gear and Huawei 2, more and more smartwatches are popping up every day on people’s wrists. What started as a luxurious fashion accessory is becoming increasingly respected as a useful wearable.

October 18, 2017

u‑blox is demoing the long range connectivity of its newly launched, full‑featured Bluetooth 5 wireless MCU (microcontroller unit) module, NINA‑B3, at booth #1G44 of the

October 04, 2017