BDS, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, was developed and previously used by Chinese military and government. At the end of 2012 BDS announced to open to the private sector. It claims “positioning accuracy of 10 meters, velocity accuracy of 0.2 meters per second and one-way timing accuracy of 50 nanoseconds”, according a China Daily report.

BeiDou spokesman once said their goal was to take over 70 % – 80% of the domestic navigation system market that had been dominated by GPS by 2020. Qingdao, a mid-sized Chinese city, announced recently to cultivate a market for BeiDou applications that would be 2 billion yuan (about $330 mn) in size by 2015 and 10 billion yuan ($1.65 bn) by 2020, according to Qingdao Daily (in Chinese).

As Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip had been supported BeiDou, Samsung Note 3 with the chip built-in also supports it. Broadcom released BCM47531 to support BeiDou. Last week multiple reports by local media said that ZTE had developed the first Android smartphone that supports Beidou (report in Chinese).

The development team behind NavSpark has been working on GPS-related products for many years. NavSpark is a low-cost 32bit development board that is compatible Arduino and with GPS receiver as on-board peripheral. NavSpark has GPS built-in while adding GPS to Arduino needs additional GPS shield. It’s now on indiegogo raising funds.

The team decided to add Beidou to NavSpark. There came NavSpark-BD which is capable of dual-satellite positioning. NavSpark claims they are the first that has integrated BeiDou into such a product.

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Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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