According to recent reports, iPhone 4S and upcoming Nokia phones now include support for GLObalnaya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema—a global navigation satellite system operated by the Russian government and considered an alternative to GPS. It looks like Android vendors will also begin adding support for GLONASS, with Sony Ericsson announcing on its blog that the Xperia S, Xperia Ion, as well as its lineup of other 2011 Xperia devices will now have access to the Russian satellite navigation system.
The company said all of its devices using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S2 or S3 processor (its entire 2011 and 2012 Xperia lineup) and the latest software would have access to the GPS alternative. Sony explained the benefits of having access to both conventional GPS and GLONASS in a single device:
It’s simple math – by supporting both systems in a receiver, the number of available global satellites increases from 31 to 55. Therefore, more geographic locations are able to receive four or more signals from satellites, which in turn means more successful position calculations and also better accuracy of the calculated positions in challenging environments. Field tests in downtown San Francisco found that the positioning accuracy of adding GLONASS improved as much as 50%.