By Stephen Schenck | November 24, 2010 3:18 PM
Palm users have been so far forced to put up with Verizon’s quirky GPS restrictions, leading to excessive waits before the phone is able to fix its position. A new patch from some Pre enthusiasts may be the work-around those users have been waiting for, restoring GPS performance to a usable level.
The root of the problem is how Verizon treats GPS versus aGPS. Whereas the GPS signal comes from satellites, aGPS broadcast stations are terrestrial. By using information from both sources, devices can speed up their signal acquisition times. Verizon, though, charges extra to Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus owners who want to access aGPS transmissions; you’ll need to sign on for the paid VZ Navigator app.
Now, if that were the end of it, there wouldn’t be much of an issue. You could pay more for faster aGPS locks or just use the satellite-based system for free. The wrench in the gears here is that even when you don’t have aGPS access, the phone still tries to get an aGPS signal. As these requests are ignored, the phone just sits there and waits before eventually falling back to GPS mode, causing the delay.
A work-around posted on the PreCentral forums has users block the request to the aGPS server, so the connection is denied rather than ignored. Since it doesn’t have to keep waiting for a response, the phone is free to move on to GPS tracking without pause.
There may be other issues at play here, as some of the forum users report mixed results when applying the patch that makes the requisite system changes. While there are those who have found improved location lock times, others have yet to see the same results, or get a location lock with very low accuracy. Let us know if you have any success using the patch on your Verizon Palm device.