Qualcomm has added support for the Russian version of the USA's GPS network, the GLONASS satellite system, along with the unique capability to utilize both the GPS and GLONASS networks simultaneously for greater location performance.
The first Glonass capable phone is the MTS 945 from ZTE, powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset.
Support for both satellite networks is currently integrated into Qualcomm's Snapdragon MSM7x30 chipset and software solution and will be supported moving forward on select Snapdragon and feature phone chipsets with Qualcomm's latest GPS engine.
"ZTE is first to market with a smartphone that supports both the Gps and GLONASS satellite systems, taking full advantage of the functionality which has been integrated into our Snapdragon MSM7x30 chipset and software," said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management for Qualcomm.
Development on the GLONASS began in 1976, with a goal of global coverage by 1991. Beginning on 12 October 1982, numerous rocket launches added satellites to the system until the constellation was completed in 1995. Following completion, the system rapidly fell into disrepair with the collapse of the Russian economy. Beginning in 2001, Russia committed to restoring the system and by April 2010 it is practically restored (21 of 24 satellites are operational).
The GLONASS system currently covers 100% of Russian territory.
The Russian parliament has previously threatened to block imports of mobile phones that do not support the GLONASS system.