Playbook GPS issues...
I have a PB and a bold 9930.. Absolutely love the combination.. I like playbook a lot but there are some areas, where it badly trails behind ( compared to its counterparts) . Similarly there are some areas, where it is just useless. Yeah, you heard it right-- It is UNUSABLE, when it comes to GPS functionality. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes, everytime it tries to fix my location.. It doesn't matter whether I'm over 54mbps wifi network, or 40mbps 4G network (I'm not sure whether it works offline or not. I tried using it offline, but it never fixed my location.) Initially I thought I had a defected unit. But the fact that I have 4 more playbook in my family and all behave the same way. So it has to be a device flaw. I tried in clear view of sky, away from buildings and closed space. Now while searching forums, its quite clear that many people have this issue. My 200$ nokia phone pinpoints my location in under 30 seconds. Question is, why is GPS not flawless, considering the fact that it was a 499$ to 699$ device????? Only RIM knows that....
- CrackBerry Abuser
11-26-2012, 01:27 AM #2
- 361 Posts
Playbook GPS issues...
I heard, rightly or wrongly, this response time is typical of mobile devices without a phone module so that they cannot establish quick but rough co-ordinates by A-GPS first. It so, it will be fair to compare PB to similar GPS-enabled tablets which are also wifi-only.
Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Tapatalk
Re: Playbook GPS issues...
- CrackBerry User
11-26-2012, 10:48 AM #6
- 17 Posts
Here are a few things I found out using the GPS on my PB:
1) Obviously, since it's unassisted GPS, you must have a clear view of the sky. Outside is best, but if you have to be inside put it at least in front of a window. You will also have a much better chance of it working if your on the top floor of the house than in the basement...
2) The initial GPS fix can take a long time (many minutes), so be patient. Things are much faster after that, unless you change location.
3) For the initial fix, it seems to work better if the PB is in a static position than moving.
4) Don't use Bing for the initial fix. Much better to use one of the free GPS apps for this.
5) Don't let the PB go to sleep during the initial position fix. Either change the sleep settings or touch the screen from time to time to keep it awake.
6) If it doesn't work from one location, just try somewhere else. For example, my PB will have a hard time getting an initial position from the back of my house but will get it in a few seconds if I move it to the front...
7) If possible, don't shutdown your PB since it seems to reset the GPS data and you will have to go again through to the long initial position fix. Instead, putting it to sleep keeps the GPS data and the PB remembers which satellites to look for.
8) Once this initial position fix is done, GPS works pretty well. If I take the example from my house, once the PB got his position in front of the house, it will still works if I move to the back of the house where it was unable to get its initial fix.
Hope these tips may help you!
- 11-26-2012, 07:58 PM #8
Here's some more that I've captured from threads so these are quotes:
"When you hold the PlayBook in landscape mode, generally your hands will "cup" the bottom two corners (left and right), obscuring the BT and GPS antennas partially. My experiments suggest that the Bluetooth antenna is able to cope with a fair bit of blockage (though this would depend on how far away your bridged phone is), while the GPS antenna is affected by almost any blockage.
The WiFi antennas (G and N) are in the top two corners, up near where you can see the two little microphone holes. If you held the PlayBook in portrait orientation, you'd block either G or N or both, depending on the position of your hands and whether you'd rotated it so the front-facing camera was on the left or the right.
- CrackBerry Addict
11-26-2012, 08:36 PM #9
- 704 Posts
The GPS is not the best there is out there, but it does qualify as functional.
It usually takes a few minutes to lock on a position. If it takes 25 minutes for you, you might be doing it wrong. What GPS applications do you use?
I have used Magellan Compass, Osmand, Maps for Google, Bing. It works, not as precise when travelling at high speed, but it does the job.
- CrackBerry User
11-26-2012, 08:59 PM #10
- 74 Posts
I have used it on my boat with the charting app from the app store. I think works. But the gps receiver is poor compared with the ones that a typical car gps would have. My car gps has no trouble getting fix in my office. Even a CF addon for my old iPaq does that. But not the PB. I wrote to RIM about that and the weak wifi receiver.
- 11-27-2012, 07:09 AM #12
On my wifi-only PB with no bridge and no network access of any kind (middle of nowhere), I get GPS lock in less than 30 seconds on average using Google Maps with a cached copy of the local map region. Occasionally, the PB will refuse to pick up the signal no matter how long I wait. Usually this is due to one or more Android apps having crashed and hosed that part of the runtime. A simple reboot restores it - I get a lock as soon as I load Google Maps.
Bottom Line: GPS on the PB has been highly reliable, even in an extremely remote location (Mauritius, in the middle of the Indian Ocean) without any assistance from wifi or bridge.
- 11-27-2012, 08:25 AM #15
- 11-27-2012, 08:53 AM #17
Rolled my own from an APK I downloaded off the web. I'd upload it but it's signed with my own key and I really try to avoid doing that.
Here's a link to the APK if you know how to convert it yourself:
- 11-27-2012, 09:48 AM #19
- CrackBerry Abuser
11-27-2012, 11:20 AM #20
- 186 Posts
Techinsights that said this:
Another MAJOR design win for TI and one that had our resident RF experts excited was the discovery of the Texas Instruments WL1283C WiLink 7.0 single-chip WLAN, GPS, Bluetooth and FM solution. This is the first time we’ve seen a four-in-one radio IC in use in a consumer application product and the decision to utilize this in the Playbook shows that RIM was willing to make daring decision designs.
It seems that even on the new lte Playbook, RIM retained the same TI chip, so presumably no improvement in Wifi/GPS receiver performance.
I also read that several high end phones (and perhaps tablets) use a Broadcom integrated chip. But it does not include gps. That is therefore implemented separately. Possibly not a bad thing!
From what I have experienced, the Playbook gps should work OK outdoors with a clear sky view - Just like the older pre SIRF GPSs. It will take a while to get an initial lock because it doesn't know where in the world you are and which satellites should be visible. After that it will lock on faster. If you NEED GPS, a dedicated GPS would be a much better bet.
- CrackBerry Genius
11-27-2012, 12:22 PM #22
- 4,255 Posts
With several different playbooks I've found that the gps seems to start working better the more it is used. Almost like it seems to learn how to obtain a fix. It took forever when they were all new but now I can get a fix in under 15 seconds in a variety of different apps. I use Poynt almost daily for a quick weather report and daily gas price report.
I can't explain it but it does seem to get "smarter" with use.
- 11-27-2012, 12:36 PM #23
It's natural, then, for warm starts to be fairly speedy (assuming you haven't moved physical location much). It's not so much an improvement over time, or any fuzzy logic or learning, per se - just that once a lock has been obtained, some info regarding the sat positions tends to be retained (not forever, though, think it has some time based aging applied to it).
- 11-27-2012, 12:48 PM #24
Even my garmin hiking unit and tomtom car unit can take its sweet time if I turn them on in a moving car as the satellites keep "moving" relative to the unit and my speed.
So, yes, it can be quick if used regularly.
That is not to say that some units are not working well for whatever reason.
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