With the government pushing for embedding support for home-grown navigation in made-in-India smartphones, some smartphones from Xiaomi, realme, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus, with NavIC support, are already available in the Indian market. However, the number is minuscule. Of the total 256 million smartphones shipped in India between January 2021 to June 22, roughly only 22 million were NavIC supported, as per CyberMedia Research.
NavIC stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation, which is an Indian regional navigation satellite system. According to ISRO, this is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India.
It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. An Extended Service Area lies between the primary service area and the area enclosed by the rectangle from Latitude 30 deg South to 50 deg North, Longitude 30 deg East to 130 deg East.
Over the last few years, the government of India has also been in talks with chip manufacturers. In 2019, Qualcomm announced support for India’s NavIC Satellite Navigation System in Commercial Chipset Platforms. Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 were the first SoCs to get NavIC support, and Qualcomm was to enable NavIC on Snapdragon 865 through a software update.
Smartphone manufacturers prefer Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek’s chips for mid-segment devices. Interestingly, all MediaTek’s 5G chips also support NavIC.
Some of the NavIC-supported smartphones in the market include Redmi Note 11 series, Redmi Note 10 Lite, Xiaomi 12 Pro, Redmi Note 11s, OnePlus Nord CE 2, CE 2 Lite, OnePlus Nord 2, OnePlus 10 Pro, 10R, Vivo Y33t, Vivo Y21T, Vivo V23 Pro, V20 Pro, Realme 9 Pro, 9, 9Pro Plus, Oppo F21 Pro, F21 Pro 5G to name a few.
With an increasing number of mid-level smartphone chips using these chips, some smartphones in India already have NavIC support. The market share of the top five smartphone brands with phones having navIC support between January to July 2022 includes Xiaomi (33 per cent), OnePlus (24 per cent), Vivo (22 per cent), realme (11 per cent) and OPPO (5 per cent).
Nothing to worry about
There are four global navigation systems: US-based GPS, Russia's Glonass, Europe’s Galileo and BeiDou from China. ISRO-developed NavIC is India’s attempt to have a regional navigation system.
If your smartphone isn’t NavIC-supported, worry not, as you can continue to use GPS for navigation. Contrary to the media reports suggesting the government is asking all smartphone manufacturers to use NavIC for navigation, the Ministry of IT and Telecom have clarified that it is in discussions with all the stakeholders on this matter, and no definitive timeline has been decided for the implementation.
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