updated 05:15 am EST, Fri January 20, 2012
Sony's latest Xperia mobiles support GLONASS
Sony's forthcoming Xperia S and Xperia Ion phones will support both GLONASS and GPS, the result of using the latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets. According to Sony's Magnus Persson, existing Xperia phones that use Qualcomm's Snapdragon S2 or S3 chipsets also offer support for the Russian equivalent to GPS. By using both systems in tandem, Sony's Xperia smartphones can get a position lock in half the time it would normally take using GPS only.
Currently, the GPS system incorporates the use of 31 active satellites transmitting signals and is owned and maintained by the US Air Force. GLONASS is owned and maintained by the Russian Space Forces, which started its development in 1976, but was stalled due to a lack of funds and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was only in October 2011 that GLONASS become fully active using 24 satellites.
For a GPS system requires four satellite signals to position itself, which can sometimes prove difficult in built up areas like cities, or mountainous surrounds. With a receiver able to support both systems simultaneously, the number of active satellites that it can use to position itself increases from 31 to 55. This results in a faster, as well as more accurate signal lock.
Apple's iPhone 4S is also capable of supporting GLONASS, but it hasn't been confirmed that Apple has enabled the functionality. Other smartphones using the same Qualcomm chipsets Sony's smartphones are also capable of supporting the standard, although at this stage, Sony is one of the few to acknowledge that their smartphones are actually employing the additional capability. [via Just Another Mobile Phone Blog]