The Indian government wants brands to include NavIC support in smartphones sold in India starting in 2023
The Indian government is now using smartphone makers to include support for India’s own navigation system NavIC in smartphones sold in India from next year. Although a few smartphones sold in India support NavIC, but not all due to additional costs.
Qualcomm launched Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 with support to NavIC but we didn’t hear anything about NavIC in smartphones after that. ISRO says that less than 10% of smartphones in India had NavIC capability by mid-2021. We are not sure if it increased in 2022.
With this move, the Indian government wants to reduce dependence on foreign systems such as GPS. Government officials also held a meeting with smartphone giants on this matter. As per reports, smartphone makers are worried about cost. Adding NavIC support should require a chipset supporting NavIC along with hardware design changes and additional investments. It will surely increase the cost of the product.
Most smartphone companies have already designed the models to be launched in 2024. So, including support for NavIC in already designed smartphones is not possible. So, smartphone OEMs have asked for time until 2025 to implement NavIC in all smartphones.
NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is India’s stand-alone navigation satellite system developed by ISRO. The project was approved in 2006 and became operational in 2018. ISRO sent eight satellites into space to cover India and surrounding areas.
GPS is owned by the US and is the most popular navigation system. It offers global coverage. Similar to GPS, European Union has Galileo, Russia has its own GLONASS, China has Beidou and Japan operates QZSS. Just like, NavIC, QZSS is a regional navigation system that covers the Asia-Oceania region. The Indian Government also aims to expand the coverage of NavIC from regional to global.