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Samsung GALAXY Nexus comes with a barometer, but why is that?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Samsung GALAXY Nexus comes with a barometer, but why is that?
You already know about the main highlights of the Samsung GALAXY Nexus - bigger, with amazing HD resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels on a gigantic 4.65-inch display and featuring a fast qual-core processor and most importantly Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. But some of you might have noticed that the GALAXY Nexus comes with one more sensor - a barometer. Actually, it’s one of the very few devices we’ve seen (the Motorola XOOM also has it) that have a barometer, usually used for measuring atmospheric pressure.

So why is it there? Turns out, it’s not just for the sake of those measurements, but for... faster GPS lock-on. Here’s the full explanation, coming from Google’s own Dan Morril:

The primary purpose of the barometer is (at least, I’ve been told) to make GPS lockons faster. Locking on to a GPS involves numerically solving a 4-dimensional set of linear equations — 3 dimensions in space, and time. (Yes, you get accurate time for free if you lock on to GPS.) Because of the way GPS works, this can take a few minutes.This goes much faster if you already have an estimate of your location. This is why “aGPS” (assisted GPS) services are so popular: by starting with a rough city-level coordinate fix through something like cell-tower network location, you can reduce the amount of math you have to do to lock on. This is where the barometer comes in.The 3 dimensions in space are latitude, longitude… and altitude. The barometer gives you a reasonable first-cut estimate for altitude. This gives you a bit of a leg up on one of the dimensions — especially combined with “2D” aGPS — which can help speed up lock-on in general.Now of course, the barometer can also be used for things like, well, determining atmospheric pressure (although I’m not sure it’s really weather grade.) But the main reason it’s in your phone is to help with GPS.

source: Google Plus

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posted on 21 Oct 2011, 06:40 2

1. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

I can't wait for the device to be compared against others with no barometer , supposedly it will make GPS faster and more actuate on its readings

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 07:02

3. iankellogg (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)

and maybe crowd sourced weather!

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 08:42

5. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

this is really neat. i never even heard of this technology coming soon, so for it to just pop up in the device i want is very exciting.

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 12:56

9. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

sensors should be exploited to the maximum, a phone that is capable of understanding its surroundings will also be capable of better stuff for the end user

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 06:57 4

2. shipstylin (Posts: 5; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


posted on 21 Oct 2011, 09:54

7. deeoh1084 (Posts: 50; Member since: 30 Dec 2009)

that's what i said when i first read that line... i was like what's a qual-core.. its not dual or quad.... hmm... something new i guess? lol

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 07:38 1

4. -RVM- (Posts: 331; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

Barometer is really useful feature for hikers like me, since u can easily determine your altitude, even in places like deep valleys, where GPS often fails to lock-on or give very innacurate results. Ofcourse it depends on how accurate this barometer is, but i will certainly like to have it in my N8.

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 09:28

6. Tux4g63 (Posts: 119; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

I don't want to sound like that conspiracy nut, but potentially could a barometer also be used by companies that sell warranties and insurance to deny a claim based upon water damage? I know their is a fine about what they will and will not cover sometimes. Certain plans say they will cover moisture and light water damage, but not full submersion. I just wonder if they could extract user data from a barometer to say that the phone will not be covered because of "excessive" water damage, even if it had not been fully submersed.

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 12:58

10. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

companies already do that XD they put a small sensor on every phone if goes off it water enters the device and it can be seen really easy

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 14:34

11. Tux4g63 (Posts: 119; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

I have seen those too, but as far as I know and have actually seen, they can be defeated. They are a specific type of adhesive with a chemical compound that changes color when wet. As they are a physical barrier, I have seen people get their phones wet, dry them out, take them apart, and restick new sensors in place where the old ones were. Ifixit, or other sites usually have detailed teardowns of each phone that shows how to take it apart, and where to look for these wet indicators. I was just wondering if this would be the next evolution in moisture/wet "detection."

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 19:10

12. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

we might see workarounds even if that happens, doubt it will work like that, but if it did will sure find a way to go though it

My saying if it exist it can be hacked

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 11:28

8. xenover (Posts: 174; Member since: 27 May 2011)


posted on 21 Oct 2011, 20:51

13. Forsaken77 (Posts: 553; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)

How could the barometer not be "weather grade?" lol... The thing is made for weather conditions. They could've just put an altimeter in there if they just wanted altitude. Oh well. I will never fully understand why companies do what they do.

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 23:03

14. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

Maybe a precise altimeter is too big

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