Google Pixel 4 December update enables dual-band GPS for better location quality

Location sits at the center of everything and forms an integral part of our day to day smartphone life. There are plenty of things we do on our phones that rely heavily on location, be it finding a cool restaurant to meet your friends, hailing a cab, or even shopping online.

Given the increasingly needful location services in our daily life, the accuracy of location data on the devices we heavily rely on for this data – smartphones – isn’t debatable.

A smartphone uses either radio signals or Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS) to locate its position. Today, most smartphones rely on a single-frequency GNSS to identify their location, but this tech often suffers from multipath errors.

Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 4

With dual-frequency GNSS or basically dual-band GPS, smartphones should be able to overcome the multipath errors and provide better positional accuracy by pulling more data from satellites. But as usual, not every smartphone out there has this capability.

A handful of Android smartphones have capable hardware to support dual-band GPS and one of them is the Google Pixel 4. Sure, the Galaxy S10 also has this feature, but for some reason it is unavailable on U.S. models.

A quick look at the Google Pixel 4 specs page reveals that the devices’ dual-band GPS is unavailable out of the box, but it has been marked as “coming soon.”

⁸Dual Band (L1+L5) or (E1 +E5a) coming soon.

Google never gave out any specific date, but in a blog post detailing the latest December update for the Pixel 4, the search giant hinted at the addition of dual-band GPS with the mention of improved Google Maps accuracy and location quality.

With the latest update to Pixel 4, you’ll also get amazingly fast accuracy in Google Maps with improved on-device computing for much better location quality.

With the Pixel 4 December update now rolling out after a week’s delay, we are getting reports that the update also enables dual-band GPS on the devices.

Google Pixel 4 dual-band GPS enabled after December update (Source)

What this means for Google Pixel 4 owners is that going forward they should get more accurate navigation data, especially in some tricky urban centers.

Overall, the Pixel 4 duo should be able to identify its location with a higher degree of accuracy as opposed to when the device had the November patch installed. Of course, this requires hands-on testing, so let us know your experience in the comments section.

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.