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First Russian GPS GLONASS Android smartphone barricades from GPS iPhone by extra custom fees

by Rus Abz 2011-07-19 12:18


Russian Glonass SmartphoneThis year is adjusting the balance between USA GPS and Russian GLONASS started in 1976. The currently available GLONASS-M phase and, hopefully, the upcoming 2011-2020 GLONASS-K phase of Russian GPS project. The Glonass-K benefits from its newer and innovative design described by team of authors from Russian Space Systems. "It functions somewhat better at northern latitudes because its satellite orbits are located higher in the sky and we see them better than we do the GPS satellites," said Bo Jonsson, deputy head of a geodesic research unit at Sweden's Swepos, according to  Reuters. Swepos, the national network of satellite reference stations which provides data for real-time positioning with meter accuracy. Sweden GPS community may be considering to use GLONASS because in northern countries, at northern latitudes GLONASS satellite constellation has an orbiting advantage over GPS satellite constellation.

There are other factors that constitute the complex GLONASS umbrella for an extended suite of GLONASS specific services and regulations. Among them, farther from satellite navigational system orbital parameters and GPS math but close to the international trade brute force practices, Russia plans for the next year to introduce a significant increase of the import custom duties for foreign manufactured mobile phones, smartphones, and other GPS aware devices which are not enabled to work with Russian GLONASS. The Russian GLONASS phone is known to be an extension of the Vodafone 945 smartphone. So far this only GLONASS capable smartphone is distributed by Russian local phone companies, as an alternative to iPhone, which, as well as any other foreign GPS capable device, will become subject to extra customs fees unless iPhone gets GLONASS-ed. Among US GPS manufacturers the Garmin (GRMN) eTrex 30, eTrex 20 and eTrex 10 handheld GPS navigators family, which becomes available end of Summer, supports both GPS and GLONASS. 

The Russian MTC 945 smartphone is using Android operating system and has the MSM7230 Qualcomm Snapdragon originated processor along with the GLONASS enabled chipset, which in concert decipher the GPS and GLONASS navigational signals from the dedicated GPS quad helix antenna. It is not clear whether this phone is completely GLONASS capable out of the box, or only demonstrates the visibility of GPS satellites and GLONASS satellites using the built-in application utility. We are watching for more information from Qualcomm to learn more about the capabilities of the first GLONASS smartphone. 

To encourage the wider adoption of the GLONASS services, which are promised to be free of charge to the civilian users, the Russian  GLONASS state representatives are going through touch base discussions with Nokia, Motorola and Qualcomm. The matters of talks include potential of Russian chip manufacturers towards the mass production of global positioning system GPS and GLONASS unified navigational handheld and stationary devices, accessories, navigational application software and positioning services with geotagging of topographic maps and real time images, as well as financial positioning of potential partners. 

While Russia are planning the next launch, after the previous Soyuz platform went into space this February from the Space Forces Plesetsk cosmodrom and successfully put into orbit a medium-sized new generation Glonass-K spacecraft. The U.S. Air Force days ago successfully launched Delta IV rocket with GPS IIF-2 Space Vehicle Number Sixty Three from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the second of twelve Boeing's GPS satellites.



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