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U-blox has announced the release of a surface-mount GSM transceiver module called Leon.

Leon – the first in a series of cellular surface-mount modules from U-blox – operates as a standalone GSM transceiver module or together with U-blox’s GPS modules via a I2C interface allowing for the interfacing of both modules via one single UART.

When combined with U-blox’s standard GPS modules, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are said to have a one-stop solution that merges GPS positioning and tracking with the power to communicate over the world’s largest mobile network.

The module is ideal for cost-sensitive industrial applications such as fleet management, asset and personnel tracking, vehicle recovery, point-of-sale terminals and metering.

Thomas Seiler, chief executive officer of U-blox, said: ‘Establishing core competencies in both GPS and GSM is a key part of U-blox’s strategy to provide the smallest, highest-performance, most cost-effective module solution to the fast-growing mobile tracking market.

‘Customers are increasingly demanding GPS with mobile connectivity to locate, track and manage valuable assets.

‘The combined GSM/GPS technologies from a single supplier will meet our customers’ needs for faster time to market and lower production costs,’ he added.

The module’s small footprint of 18.9mm x 29.5mm x 2.84mm and SMT pads on only two sides of the package are said to facilitate mounting and offer cheaper PCB layout and easier quality control compared with Ball-Grid or Land-Grid Array solutions.

Leon features a low-current consumption (1.6mA in standby mode) and a wide operating temperature (- 30dC to +85C).

The module supports GPRS class 10 as well as voice communications, such as for emergency services, and comes equipped with embedded TCP/IP stack and the Assistnow client.

Production ramp-up is targeted for the third quarter of 2009.

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