Broadcom has announced a new chip today, called the BCM4752, that promises to offer far improved indoor positioning support thanks to support for 802.11ac (5G Wi-Fi) and low-power Bluetooth, which should help determine your location even without a view of the sky. Of course, that will all depend on how soon Bluetooth beacons are built-out to provide location data, but the company says that tracking performance is also improved because the chip takes data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and altimeter. What does it all mean? Well, hopefully you'll be able to use Google Maps' indoor maps to navigate the catacombs of your local mall and find that elusive Hot Topic. The indoor positioning improvements should also help you get a lock in dense urban environments as well, so you should have better luck getting a lock after you step out of the subway, too.
Positioning improvements aside, the BCM4752 is said to offer a 50 percent improvement in battery life over the company's previous-generation GPS chip while taking up 44 percent less space inside your phone. One reason for the decrease in power usage is that geofencing applications like iOS Reminders, Tasker, and Locale can offload their background location services from of the CPU. Lastly, the chip has NFC built-in, so we suspect that we'll see support for contactless payments expand to far more devices once it comes out. Broadcom says the BCM4752 is shipping now, and that we should expect the first smartphones, tablets, and GPS units to utilize the chip to come out in Q4.