Smartphones differ on their GPS Capabilities and accuracies

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smartphone gps
  • 4 weeks ago
  • Posted: October 15, 2019 at 8:54 am

By Ephraim Njega – Originally posted on his Facebook Timeline under the title PHONE GPS CAPABILITIES ARE NOT EQUAL


Sometime back I wrote about having issues with the global positioning system on my phone. I use the phone to track activities such as walking and I noticed it was becoming unreliable due to inaccuracy in measuring distance.

I did some troubleshooting to isolate the issues. I opened two different activity tracking Apps and noticed that both Apps were experiencing the same issue. This meant that this was NOT a software issue.

I then took an old Nokia Lumia 520 phone and used it to track activity alongside the Tecno C9 phone. I realised that the old Nokia Lumia was pinpoint accurate while the Tecno was struggling. I also tested with an iPad mini and noticed it was also pinpoint accurate in terms of location.

After further research I realized that the phones we have do not have the same location accuracy capacity.

There are four main GPS systems namely; GPS which is American, GLONASS which is Rusian, Galileo which is European and BeiDou which is Chinese.

Depending on your phone Chipset you will have different location accuracy. This is because some of the chipsets allow you to receive GPS from more than one of the GPS systems above.

For instance, in the example above the Nokia Lumia has a Qualcom Snapdragon chipset and can access both GPS and GLONASS. The Tecno has a Mediatek chipset and can only access the GPS system. The more GPS systems the phone can receive the more accurate it will be in determining location. Such a phone will also be faster in detecting location due to stronger GPS signal.

This is something we never bother about when buying a phone yet it can cause issues when you are using location dependent Apps such as the tax hailing ones.

If you need to check the specifications for your phone and its global positioning system capability you can do so using GSMArena website. Search for your phone make and model then go to Comms section as shown below.

See also: Apple on a mission to upgrade navigation technology in new GPS firm purchase

What is your opinion on the topic?
Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Analytics Ltd
Film Director, Tech and Business Blogger, Chess Player, and Photographer. God is Science.
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