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Old 11-21-2006, 06:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 8703e GPS hack?

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I am new to the world of Blackberrys so please forgive me if these are dumb questions. I want to get the 8703e but really want the GPS functional. I am committed to Verizon for a number of reasons and obviously the GPS is currently disabled on their version. Is there a hack to get it working on Verizon's version of the device? Is there a difference in the hardware between Verizon's device and Sprints that would preclude any kind of programming from activating the functionality? Is is possible to install Sprint's version of the os and get the full gps functionality while using the device on Verizons network? Will Verizon allow me to activate a device I bought from Sprint on their network? I know I could get a bluetooth gps reciever and get it working but I would rather not do that. Any information available is greatly appreciated as I am working to learn more about these devices.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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you can run the sprint OS on there but it doesn't enable the GPS
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Does anyone know how the gps is disabled? Is there actually hardware missing or is it programming? Can the programming be changed? Is it in flash memory or is it burned into the chip?
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Old 11-23-2006, 09:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I really think it's a carrier data block as others have paired the 8703 with a BT puck and got it to work.
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I complained about the broken GPS and the store gave me a card redeemable for a Magmic game or $5 off a $30 purchase from handango.

The service tech thought GPS was a signal FROM the phone. He seemed stunned that the phone is receiver.
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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GPS on CDMA devices is network initiated - not hardware initiated like on iDEN. There isn't a hack in the world that will get the GPS functionality to work on the VZ device until they decide to allow it to work.
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Old 11-24-2006, 07:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Stinsonddog Question.
On your web site you list a couple of BT GPS pucks that work with the 8700c but one question I have is , is it as easy as pairing the Puck and setting the options? Seems like Blackberry Maps and a Puck will offer all the function I need. It just looks too easy not to use.
Thanks for your help
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Old 11-25-2006, 06:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southwestcomm
GPS on CDMA devices is network initiated - not hardware initiated like on iDEN. There isn't a hack in the world that will get the GPS functionality to work on the VZ device until they decide to allow it to work.

I may be wrong, but the way I understand the technology GPS and cellular networks have nothing to do with one another. Some devices make use of both signals through the use of software to faster and more accurately determine your position, but the underlying systems are independent. GPS signals are open and can be recieved by any device capable of receiving them. That is why there is no subscription for the devices you buy from Garmin or TomTom etc. Theoretically properly programmed you should be able to use the GPS functions of the 8703e without even having a cellular service. You would not be able to use it for any kind of navigation because you could not get maps or directions into the phone without the cell network but it should be able to determine its position. Of course that still does not mean it is possible to get the 8703e working. My guess is that it is possible though. I bet that the GPS is disabled through programming in the devices software which has obviously been modified by Verizon. Someone with enough knowledge and the appropriate programming and development tools could probably make it work. I think the reason it is disabled right now is because Verizon has not developed a Blackberry OS version of their VZ Navigator software for it. There is no way for them to receive revenue from it with out that. If the GPS was enabled now we could pay Telenav and Verizon would not make any money. Untill they develop their own software and lock everyone else out we will be out of luck.

Last edited by jminio : 11-25-2006 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 11-26-2006, 12:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If that were the case GPS apps - like TeleNav - would work without network coverage - which they don't. CDMA devices do not have a dedicated GPS chipset - only iDEN devices do. I would imagine future CDMA devices will have the same hardware built into them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jminio
I may be wrong, but the way I understand the technology GPS and cellular networks have nothing to do with one another. Some devices make use of both signals through the use of software to faster and more accurately determine your position, but the underlying systems are independent. GPS signals are open and can be recieved by any device capable of receiving them. That is why there is no subscription for the devices you buy from Garmin or TomTom etc. Theoretically properly programmed you should be able to use the GPS functions of the 8703e without even having a cellular service. You would not be able to use it for any kind of navigation because you could not get maps or directions into the phone without the cell network but it should be able to determine its position. Of course that still does not mean it is possible to get the 8703e working. My guess is that it is possible though. I bet that the GPS is disabled through programming in the devices software which has obviously been modified by Verizon. Someone with enough knowledge and the appropriate programming and development tools could probably make it work. I think the reason it is disabled right now is because Verizon has not developed a Blackberry OS version of their VZ Navigator software for it. There is no way for them to receive revenue from it with out that. If the GPS was enabled now we could pay Telenav and Verizon would not make any money. Untill they develop their own software and lock everyone else out we will be out of luck.
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Old 11-26-2006, 04:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southwestcomm
If that were the case GPS apps - like TeleNav - would work without network coverage - which they don't. CDMA devices do not have a dedicated GPS chipset - only iDEN devices do. I would imagine future CDMA devices will have the same hardware built into them.

The reason a service like Telenav does not work without network coverage is because the maps and directions are downloaded to the device over the cell providers data network as opposed to being stored on the device like a dedicated GPS unit. That is what you pay TeleNav for, access to their maps in real time. You are not paying for GPS reception. The Blackberry 8703e does in fact have a GPS receiver built into it. It is however disabled in some way by Verizon. The ability to recieve GPS signals is in no way related to any specific cellular technology wether it be CDMA, GSM, iDen or anything else.
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jminio
The Blackberry 8703e does in fact have a GPS receiver built into it.
Wow, I was not aware of this - I thought this "GPS" on the blackberries was ONLY available via internet/data connection. You're telling me that it has the hardware to be able to navigate WITHOUT a network signal, ie with GPS satellite signal only? Reason I ask is that I'm planning on driving cross country, and was going to buy a TomTom or Garmin (so I don't pull a James Kim, RIP) assuming my BB wouldn't work without signal (many places in the midwest with no reception). You're telling me my bb COULD indeed work in this manner, without network reception?

Thats completely BS! Isn't that a freakin rip off? I'm paying for the freakin technology (its in the phone!), yet am not allowed to use it? Isn't that wrong from a legal perspective?

If i were Chrysler, and I sold you a car with 6 gears for $20 K, I'm guessing you're paying for the costs for me to build ALL 6 gears. What would you think if I suddenly disabled the last gear and said:

"You can only use gears 1-5, you got gear 6 but you can't use it. Oh and by the way, you still have to buy it for $20 K."

That doesn't seem right now does it?
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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You need maps one way or another to really utilize the GPS positioning data.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wangta01
=Thats completely BS! Isn't that a freakin rip off? I'm paying for the freakin technology (its in the phone!), yet am not allowed to use it? Isn't that wrong from a legal perspective?
Depends on the carrier's TOS that the subscriber agreed to... That's why I won't sign on with Verizon.

Last edited by takeshi : 12-07-2006 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If you get a Telenav route while in coverage you can go out of coverage and still use it. Just don't get lost as it won't reroute.
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:02 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Nav Chipset?

Does anyone know for sure what the navigation chipset in an 8700 is? I'm guessing it's some variation of the SiRFStar III chipset? I have read that it is an incomplete (partial) chipset designed to be network dependant like a dumb client. Even if it were a full chipset, storage remains a serious issue and to my knowledge there is no source of loadable map data available?

Can VZ subscribers use location based programs like naggie or features like emergency gps?
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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In regards to this function being deactivated by the network, I phoned verizon blackberry Technical support, which they conferenced RIM in on our converstion.

They could not tell me how to "unlock" or activate this. The rep from Verizon said all verizon phones are deactived, and we take no part in 3rd party GPS software. I then brought up the fact that sprint /nextel/altel using the SAME BB 8703e can use the internal GPS feature that comes with this phone with no problem. I may consider switching if Verizon doesn't allow this, it makes NO SENSE what so ever. The RIM rep added unfortuantley your network doesn't support this on your phone.

The representative then suggested and told me, I cannot tell you how to unlock /activate the internal GPS feature on your phone, being a Verizon rep I cannot violate this policty. However you can find someone who knows how to enable the the GPS on your phone, which would be a hacker of some sort, and who knows how to get into the blackberry to unlock this code.

If thats the case then why did the rep tell me I would have to activate this function myself and find some sort of hacker to do this?
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:25 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default There is no hack...

The 8703e uses a network-based "assist" on the GPS. Because it doesn't have the processing power to calculate your position using the signal received from the built in GPS (which involves triangulating on the time signals broadcast from multiple satelites) onboard the blackberry, it sends that information to a server over the network, and the server does the processing, then returns the lat/long to the Blackberry to plot you on the map.

Therefore, there is no "hack" that can turn on the GPS...you can turn it on, but without a network server to process the signals it receives, it won't do you any good. The BB simply doesn't have the horsepower to turn the time signals into a lat/long. So, they truly can control it from the network...which is why Sprint can turn it on, but Verizon can leave it off.

Btw, using the network to perform the calculations also introduces latency...so when the network returns your position, it should return the position accurately...but it will be the position you were in when you received the satelite signals...not where you are after they've been transmitted over the network, converted to lat/long, and passed back. Therefore, I'd imagine the 8703e navigation on Sprint isn't that great for making quick turns...where latency would play a factor.

Last edited by skinswin : 09-08-2007 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I bought an 8703e and Verizon service. GPS was turned on and I could readily find my position LAT/LON in one of the options. Then, after the 15 days were up, the GPS was disabled by Verizon. When I asked about this, they essentially told me they do not support the GPS service. It doesn't seem fair to bait and switch like that during a 15 day trial and then take it away after the trial period is over. So, GPS does work at least in some places with VERIZON and 8703e, but, they can disable the feature at their discretion.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:20 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UOldGoat View Post
I bought an 8703e and Verizon service. GPS was turned on and I could readily find my position LAT/LON in one of the options. Then, after the 15 days were up, the GPS was disabled by Verizon. When I asked about this, they essentially told me they do not support the GPS service. It doesn't seem fair to bait and switch like that during a 15 day trial and then take it away after the trial period is over. So, GPS does work at least in some places with VERIZON and 8703e, but, they can disable the feature at their discretion.
Welcome to the forums and please enjoy them but kindly refrain from double posting.....Thanks
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Old 12-01-2007, 10:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinswin View Post
The 8703e uses a network-based "assist" on the GPS. Because it doesn't have the processing power to calculate your position using the signal received from the built in GPS (which involves triangulating on the time signals broadcast from multiple satelites) onboard the blackberry, it sends that information to a server over the network, and the server does the processing, then returns the lat/long to the Blackberry to plot you on the map.

Therefore, there is no "hack" that can turn on the GPS...you can turn it on, but without a network server to process the signals it receives, it won't do you any good. The BB simply doesn't have the horsepower to turn the time signals into a lat/long. So, they truly can control it from the network...which is why Sprint can turn it on, but Verizon can leave it off.

Btw, using the network to perform the calculations also introduces latency...so when the network returns your position, it should return the position accurately...but it will be the position you were in when you received the satelite signals...not where you are after they've been transmitted over the network, converted to lat/long, and passed back. Therefore, I'd imagine the 8703e navigation on Sprint isn't that great for making quick turns...where latency would play a factor.
I would certainly disagree with the above concept and would propose some ways to test it. First, my experience working with GPS receivers as an electronics engineer is that the receiver chipset performs all of the calculations internally then communicates the useful information to the device CPU through simple serial communication protocols. Many GPS receivers have a radio enable/disable function that usually serves as a power save function. I believe it is software at the phone that holds the GPS disabled and Verizon can enable it if they want to. Just like dish network could activate your DVR if they wanted to.
If the BB relied on a network server to process raw GPS data then pass it back to the phone, you've gained nothing. In fact, you've increased the amount of data that needs to be passed for a mapping program such as vz navigator to run. The cellular network only needs the Lat / Long to determine which map to send to the phone.
So, I as a question; If someone with a working/enabled GPS receiver roams out of the wireless coverage, will their GPS cease to function? Or will it continue to function by giving LAT and LONG information? Another test would be to see if the GPS would work after loading another company’s firmware. You wouldn’t have any maps to work with but it would prove a point. Then perhaps you could later mix and match backup device databases.
Just an FYI Verizon has released (v4.2.1.106) a new firmware dated 10/29/07 for the 8703e. There is some speculation it is fixing something to allow for VZ Navigator to be run on these blackberries BlackBerry® Software Updates . The update did make changes in how blackberry maps reacts to the “start GPS” command. I used to get a displayed location as “0 N” now I get “searching for satellites….” And it never finds even one.
I think this is an issue a hacker or developer could find a work around for. But lets face it, these are not as popular as the iPhone or something. For now I will just have to live with google’s mobile maps with the “my location”(beta) that uses cell tower information to locate you on a map….not the most accurate but better than nothing
Google Maps
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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^ I have to agree with him. I'm a software engineer with a bit of hardware background and what he said is correct. I have also confirmed this with a friend of mine who is an EE and specializes in hardware engineering.

Now, disabling the network to test if the GPS still works is not going to work as a test, since the GPS antenna and the wireless antenna are shared, so if you shut off wireless, you shut off the means for GPS to be used (catch 22).

If your network is enabled, but you have no coverage (hard to test, maybe very high up on some mountain) your GPS should still work. However, it won't be much use to you unless you have somehow cached map data from before as BB's have no internal map storage.

Last edited by dejanh : 12-02-2007 at 01:26 PM.
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