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  1. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default 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....
  2. hkkelvinlee's Avatar
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    Default 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
  3. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkelvinlee View Post
    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
    You are right but still, off the mark.... I have two android tablets-- Samsung Galaxy 7 plus, and Galaxy wifi only. The former fixes my location in seconds and the later (wifi only) has never taken more than 5 minutes at the latest (normally it takes a minute or two). Also Google Nexus GPS works the same way. I don't have it but I have tested it myself. So the problem is playbook related..
  4. pacoman03's Avatar
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    FWIW, my wifi only PB picks up my location in about 5 seconds or so.
  5. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by pacoman03 View Post
    FWIW, my wifi only PB picks up my location in about 5 seconds or so.
    So glad, it works for you. though a bit surprised.. It has never worked for me. Its clearly not reliable.
  6. CarlJF's Avatar
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    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!
    Thanked by:
    adadadad (11-26-2012) 
    F2, curve-20 and adadadad like this.
  7. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlJF View Post
    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!
    Thanks a lot for all the effort. So many tips show that PB gps isn't intuitive. It does fix my location but takes ages.
  8. #8  

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    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.
    "
  9. thecsman's Avatar
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    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.
  10. Kwela123's Avatar
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    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. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by thecsman View Post
    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.
    I have already mentioned it. I don't do anything wrong. Infact I have tried it in different possible ways to get faster lock ups. Its just that gps receiver is very week (to be precise, weakest of anything I've seen so far)
  12. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    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.

    RCK
  13. Wongsky's Avatar
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    #13  

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkennedy01 View Post
    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.

    RCK
    The remote location shouldn't have any bearing - may even help.

    Built-up areas with a lot of buildings - especially high-rise may have an impact on long acquiring times for the sats.
  14. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by rkennedy01 View Post
    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.

    RCK
    Care to say which version of google maps do you use?? I use 6.2 and it says 'unable to determine your location' .
  15. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adadadad View Post
    Care to say which version of google maps do you use?? I use 6.2 and it says 'unable to determine your location' .
    Version 6.11.1. Has been the most reliable for me to date and also the last version to start in the Map view as opposed to the "Local" view. Rock solid - I just stepped outside and it locked on immediately...literally the second the app loaded. And this is standing next to a three story house surrounded by huge (40-50ft tall) fruit trees (Litches, Mangoes, Longan, etc.).

    Playbook GPS issues...-img_00000022.jpg

    Maybe I'm just lucky and got a good one?

    RCK
    Thanked by:
    adadadad (11-27-2012) 
  16. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by rkennedy01 View Post
    Version 6.11.1. Has been the most reliable for me to date and also the last version to start in the Map view as opposed to the "Local" view. Rock solid - I just stepped outside and it locked on immediately...literally the second the app loaded. And this is standing next to a three story house surrounded by huge (40-50ft tall) fruit trees (Litches, Mangoes, Longan, etc.).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_00000022.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	49.5 KB 
ID:	126545

    Maybe I'm just lucky and got a good one?

    RCK
    Do u have the link to download this??
  17. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    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:

    http://dl.apktops.com/app/201208/Google_Maps_6.11.1.apk

    RCK
  18. bay1902's Avatar
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    #18  

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    Thanks for the share - I' ve never managed to get gps to work on my PB - just sits and hangs all the time. Will sign this myself & see if it works.
    I own a Playbook - who says men can't multitask!
  19. rkennedy01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bay1902 View Post
    Thanks for the share - I' ve never managed to get gps to work on my PB - just sits and hangs all the time. Will sign this myself & see if it works.
    No problem. For best results, first uninstall any previous version of Maps, reboot, install this new version, reboot one more time (just to make sure), then open the app.

    Again, it's been rock solid for me. Give it a try and let us know how you fare...

    RCK
  20. kwelamnp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkennedy01 View Post
    Version 6.11.1. Has been the most reliable for me to date and also the last version to start in the Map view as opposed to the "Local" view. Rock solid - I just stepped outside and it locked on immediately...literally the second the app loaded. And this is standing next to a three story house surrounded by huge (40-50ft tall) fruit trees (Litches, Mangoes, Longan, etc.).
    Any gps should work if you are outside with a view of the sky. But modern GPSs with Sirf III or IV chipsets will get a lock withing minutes even inside my house. These chipsets are very low cost, so it is hard to understand why RIM used an inferior technology on the Playbook. After some research I found a review on 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.
    More on the chip design here.
    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.
  21. Wongsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwelamnp View Post
    Any gps should work if you are outside with a view of the sky. But modern GPSs with Sirf III or IV chipsets will get a lock withing minutes even inside my house. These chipsets are very low cost, so it is hard to understand why RIM used an inferior technology on the Playbook. After some research I found a review on Techinsights that said this:

    More on the chip design here.
    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.
    What I can't understand - given the settings available, is why no A-GPS?

    There's potential - either through WiFi connectivity, or tethered 3G connectivity.
  22. Cynycl's Avatar
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    #22  

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    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.
  23. Wongsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynycl View Post
    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.
    Most GPS equipped devices will improve after doing a cold start, and obtaining some sat location info.

    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).
  24. #24  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynycl View Post
    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.
    GENERALLY, a gps will download an ALMANAC - that is a "chart" or "doc" that says where satellites will be for a certain period in the future. It does this when first turned on and, I'd guess, based on its programming, when it has been off for a certain period of time (one week, two, a month, more???) or when it discovers that none of the satellites in its current Almanac do not match what it is seeing (it has been moved a certain distance). If the criteria for "outdated" almanac are found, it will take time downloading a new almanac. So, when you first turn it on, it will have an almanac of wherever it was initially tested/built. After that, if you use it regularly and not moved too far, it will keep its almanac up-to-date and be quick to ascertain its location and start tracking. If it has not been used for moved, it will again have to initialized its almanac and that can take some time - and needs a clear view of sky.

    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.
  25. adadadad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Playbook GPS issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynycl View Post
    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.
    I don't get it how you guys get gps fix in under 15 seconds. Will you mind saying what apps do you use???? It would be great gelp for us it it works.
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