I don’t usually write about smartphones but this news is peripherally relevant to GPS sports watches as it heralds yet more companies taking dual-band GNSS accuracy more seriously. These initiatives MIGHT herald copycat technical imprvements in the sports watch realm. Well…that is…someone might finally soon START doing it! ie Garmin
Here are the specs for the new Google Pixel 4 phone, you can see in the image below that I’ve lifted from the spec sheet that GPS/GLONASS and Galileo are all supported. There’s nothing new there, as you know.
But look more closely at the footnotes and clearly, dual-band support is coming. No ifs, no buts…it’s coming.
In the terminology I use, it would be dual-frequency GNSS, where L1, L5, E1 and E5a represent the frequencies that GPS and Galileo utilise. ie this news does NOT mean that GPS and Galileo will be used together
Dual frequency (dual-band as Google call it) will mean that the Pixel 4 phone can reduce GNSS accuracy errors by using a bit of maths on either two lots of GPS signals or two lots of Galileo signals. With a second, correcting signal the receiver better calculates the extent of the error to the signal caused by the Galileo/GPS signal travelling through the atmosphere. Potentially, with a second, corrective signal bein used, accuracy down to +/- 1m or so can be delivered. This table might explain which frequencies come from which system/constellation
|Galileo||GLONASS – K||GPS II||GPS III|
|1.559–1.592 GHz (E1)||1.593–1.610 GHz (G1)||1.563–1.587 GHz (L1)||1575.42 MHz L1 (Civilian)|
|1.237–1.254 GHz (G2)||1.215–1.2396 GHz (L2)||1227.6 MHz L2C (Civilian)|
|1.189–1.214 GHz (G3)|
|1.164–1.215 GHz (E5a/b)||1.164–1.189 GHz (L5)||1176.45 MHz L5 (Civilian)|
|1.260–1.300 GHz (E6)|
The Pixel 4 uses the Snapdragon 855 platform/processor and it is that which supports the dual frequencies, again here are the specs sheets for the 855. The Kirin 980 and Kirin 990 processors also support dual-frequency and indeed the following phones already use the same 855 processor as the Pixel so it’s not just Google that can enable dual-frequency.
- Asus RoG Phone 2
- Asus Zenfone 6Z
- Blackshark 2 SKywalker
- Galaxy Note 10
- Garmin Fenix 7 (just kidding)
- LG G8 ThinQ
- LG V50 ThinQ
- OnePlus 7
- OnePlus 7 Pro
- OPPO Reno
- Samsung Galaxy S10
- Sony Xperia 1
- Xiaomi Mi 9
- Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro
- Xiaomi Mi MIX 3
- Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
- ZTE Axon 10 Pro
- ZTE Nubia Red Magic 3
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