OnQ Blog

GPS and GLONASS: “Dual-core” Location For Your Phone

In order to get a fix on your location, your phone needs an unobstructed view to at least four satellites.  Four out of 27 sounds like a lot, but the satellites are spread around the world and can’t always be accessed where you are.

But there’s a second network of 24 satellites called GLONASS. Combined access to GPS and GLONASS can improve location accuracy, reliability and speed. Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services jokingly calls it a “dual-core" location system.

This summer the world’s first smartphone to support GPS and GLONASS, the ZTE 945, was announced.

Today we’re announcing wider support for GPS and GLONASS. Any device with a Snapdragon ™ S2 or S3 processor is capable of accessing both satellite networks. Our upcoming Snapdragon S4 processor will also offer GPS and GLONASS connectivity. (You’ll have to check with the manufacturer to see if access to the GPS and GLONASS service has been enabled.) The Samsung Galaxy SII on T-Mobile is one new smartphone to offer this connectivity.

We’ve created a video to illustrate how our Snapdragon processor improves location services by accessing both GPS and GLONASS networks:

Battery Life

The Snapdragon processor automatically knows when to power on the GLONASS service, and when to leave it off. GLONASS will only engage when an adequate GPS signal can’t be found. This extends battery life while providing the best navigation experience possible.


GLONASS makes sure you can use location-based services in more places by accessing more satellites.

Increased Accuracy

Access to a larger blanket of satellites supplies your devices with more accurate location data. This allows your location to be pinpointed to as close as 2 meters.

Faster fix on location

The less time your smartphone spends searching for satellites, the faster you can start using your location-based services. Qualcomm’s dual-network approach to navigation provides a better solution for mobile users by delivering more accurate location information to more places than available with just a single network. Snapdragon S2, S3 and S4 systems provide direct access to this dual-network. You can find more information on GLONASS as well as other Qualcomm products at www.qualcomm.com.