GPS Just Can't Get a Fix? Qualcomm Gives You GLONASS

By Sam Gibbs on at

GPS is all fine and dandy when you're in an open field; but in a city, GPS starts to falter. The American system isn't the only service with navigation satellites up there in orbit, so why should you be limited to just one? Qualcomm's giving you the choice of two.

The Snapdragon manufacturer is adding GLONASS support to its current S2 and S3 mobile processor line, as well as the incoming S4, essentially more than doubling the number of satellites your phone has access to. GPS currently has 24 satellites in orbit, but you need line-of-sight to four of them to pinpoint your location. GLONASS has another 27 satellites up in the gods, which combined with GPS's 24, gives you over twice the chance of being able to get a fix.

Using cell tower and Wi-Fi location services smartphones can roughly work out your location pretty quickly. But in cities with tall buildings, seeing four satellites to get a precise location can be pretty hard, especially when the weather is a bit grim like it normally is in Blighty. So greater satellite support should be particularly handy for Brits; and considering Qualcomm has had the sense to restrict the GLONASS system from powering up to only when you can't get a fix with GPS -- it shouldn't affect battery life too much either. [YouTube via Electonista]