GPS and Wi-Fi Positioning Coming to the Mini 10


With the recent buzz around the forthcoming TomTom navigation app for the iPhone and recent report that demand for GPS devices is expected to grow steadily over the next few years, there's no question that there's a lot of interest in the technology. We're betting that location services will be a hit in netbooks as well. Starting next week in the United States, we're offering the Dell Wireless 700 location solution for our Mini 10 netbook that is a combination of hardware and software.

The hardware part is an internal GPS card with built-in Wi-Fi locationing.  These two technologies work in tandem, which means the technology works both indoors and out. In other words, it can calculate your position using Wi-Fi access points or using GPS satellites. The Dell Wireless 700 is powered by Broadcom's A-GPS and Skyhook Wireless' Wi-Fi position solutions.

I asked our wireless team for a bit more about the underlying technology, and here's what they told me: The Dell Wireless 700 uses Wi-Fi access points and Long Term Orbit (LTO)-based Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) technology to determine location information. It provides a fast, accurate and reliable location source to applications and services by leveraging the strength of each underlying position technology.

 And here's how the wireless team explained Wi-Fi positioning:

The Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) can determine the location of Wi-Fi enabled devices. All Wi-Fi Access Points broadcast a signal beacon known as a MAC address, notifying nearby devices of their presence. WPS refers to the mapped locations of millions of Wi-Fi MAC addresses to pinpoint the device location. WPS is complementary to GPS. It works best indoors and in urban areas, while GPS is limited by physical obstructions of ceilings and tall buildings.

On the software side, the Dell Wireless 700 location system features CoPilot navigation software to provide turn by turn directions. I offers things like 2D and 3D map views, lets you save up to 50 addresses for one trip, offers trip optimization to provide the most efficient route, can provide instant detour information when you encounter expected delays and provides continuously updated information about the trip.

Another piece of the location-based services that we're bringing to market is a location aware portal. For it, we've partnered with Skyhook Wireless and Loki.  Loki is a browser plugin that comes preconfigured for Internet Explorer and Firefox. It works with Loki-supported sites to improve local search functionality by providing you details from nearby restaurants store locations and your friends' location information from supported social media sites like Flickr, Loopt and  BrightKite.

In the OS department, initially, it will support Windows XP. Vista and Windows 7 support will come later. The Mini 10 is the first system that we'll offer with the optional Dell 700 Wireless location solution. Stay tuned for more details about more supported systems, accessories and more regions.

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21 thoughts on “GPS and Wi-Fi Positioning Coming to the Mini 10

  1. Do you know what happened in Dell Taiwan site?  Dell announced There are wrong orders in the period of  25 Jun 2009 11PM to 26 Jun 2009 6AM .  But my order was not in this period. So I think my order is effective. I wait my sales representative cantact me. But I have already  wait 5 days. Nobody cantact me or tell me my order has anything wrong.

  2. efghijk8320. Sorry to hear you're having problems with your order. Feel free to send me a direct message with your order details and let me know if there's anything else besides the delay.

  3. It is nice to see Dell offering a netbook with built-in GPS hardware and installed GPS navigation software! Are there immediate plans for offering GPS-enabled mini-laptops to regions other than USA? I'm sure we will soon hear from your customers at our site 🙂

  4. Thank you for the update Lionel.  Any indication on when this will be available for purchase in Canada?  Also any timing for the other "coming soon" features on the Mini 10:  2GB memory, 250GB hard drive, digitial TV tuner?


  5. I'm going to be a college freshman next year and I am in love with the mini 10, but I am not buying one until I can get 2 gb of ram and the 250 gb hard drive. What's the hold up on these upgrades? We've heard April, May, and June, but it still hasn't happened. I'm wicked excited, but if I can't spec it out by September, I'll probably be getting an HP.

  6. Brad,

    With a strong caveat of "if you've never done work on a laptop before" I would say it is possible to add the GPS card to the Mini 10.   There are user manuals on our support site, for our system models.  Here is a direct link to the Online Manual for the Mini 10.  

    If you click on the link for Communications Cards it will give you instructions and diagrams on how to install those GPS cards (they're considered WWAN mini-cards).  It involves removing the keyboard and battery at the very least.

    If you've done work on laptops before then I dont think it would be difficult to do this upgrade.  If you haven't, well lets just say the first time I ever worked on a laptop I had 5 extra screws left over and it never powered up right again.  Laptops are a lot more difficult to work with than desktops.

    Have you called into our Customer Care departments to see whether its possible to modify your order to include the GPS card?  Honestly, even though it might delay your delivery by a bit more I think in the long run it would be easier.


  7. I just purchased a mini 10 with HD screen a few weeks ago. Infact I havent even recieved it yet but should be here any day now. Is the GPS an option I want to add it to my mini. The GPS feature is a card and software…



  8. The GPS option isn't available yet here in Denmark. The support here don't have any information on when it be possible to order the Mini 10 with that option, so I'm thinking of ordering one without and then add the GPS module myself. I talked to the US Dell support and was told that the module won't be available as a spare part. I thought it was because of antenna placement and stuff like that, but reading Todd S' reply it seems like it should be possible 🙂

    Can someone confirm that it is actually possible to add the GPS module later? And is there a parts number and price for it already?

  9. Thnking of buying the mini with GPS– will the GPS have maps for Spain & will it work there?

  10. My company usually installs a disk image of XP with various security and VPN stuff already configured onto new laptops. This would certainly banish

    Is it easy or even possible for me to reinstall the Dell Wireless Location 700 software (drivers, copilot, etc..) onto a Mini10 post-hoc?

  11. I'm very interested in adding this card to my current mini. I have experience adding hardware to laptops. However, I haven't been able to find the card. Can you post a link to purchase the card? I'm assuming that this would fit in my Mini 9, right?

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