Young consumers are increasingly supportive towards locally developed products and services. This sentiment currently spans across gadgets, agricultural produce and entertainment; it is slowly but steadily permeating into other products and services.
A new and exciting service that young Indian mobile users are abuzz about is NavIC, a homegrown alternative to GPS. NavIC is an acronym for Navigation using Indian Constellation. Developed by ISRO (that is the Indian Space Research Organisation), NavIC was launched in order to offer accurate geopositioning in India.
What is NavIC?
To offer a quick background, NavIC will be available to any user with a smartphone that supports it. There will also be a restricted version of it for “authorized users”, or in other words, defense personnel. This is because NavIC is multi-purpose; that is, for the general users like us, NavIC simply helps us find our way to a meeting, an obscure restaurant or a location we are unfamiliar with. For the armed forces, however, NavIC will also help them monitor troop movements at borders and manage potential disasters. In fact, NavIC was developed when India realized that there was a lacuna in its defense monitoring.
Back in 1999, when Pakistani troops moved on Kargil, India could have used GPS as its eyes in the region but was denied access by the United States. India then came to the conclusion that it needed its own system. Russia and Europe already have dedicated homegrown geo-positioning systems known as Glonass and Galileo respectively. So how does NavIC work? It uses 8 satellites to provide geo-positioning. Accuracy remains to be seen by the common man, but ISRO is promising at least equivalent – if not better – accuracy as compared to GPS. Can you download it right now? Well, that depends on what phone you are using at present.
Smartphones that support NavIC
The smartphone industry and its allied industries have been quick to respond to the new development from the looks of it. Qualcomm has already introduced five chipsets that support NavIC geopositioning. These are the Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 765, Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662, and Snapdragon 460 chipsets. Phones with these processors are likely to be able to support NavIC.
Several new upcoming mobiles that support the geopositioning system are in the works, while other models have already been launched. These phones come with a world of delightful features, besides supporting NavIC.
Realme X50 Pro: This 8GB RAM mobile phone has many excellent features. It supports 5G and NavIC, promises 100% charge in a little over half an hour with its 65W dart charger, and comes with a 64MP quad rear camera and a 32MP dual lens selfie shooter. It offers a 90Hz refresh rate, which is excellent for live streaming and gaming. Realme X50 Pro is one of the first phones in India to come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset.
Realme 6 Pro: Another on-the-shelves option if you are looking for a phone that supports NavIC, is the Realme 6 Pro. With the gaming community becoming bigger everyday, it is no surprise that this too is an 8GB RAM mobile phone. The device comes with a 64MP quad rear camera and a 16MP front camera. It is powered by a 2.3GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor, and comes with a 30W fast charger.
Redmi is keen to join the fray with new, upcoming mobiles that also offer NavIC support. These models include the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. Both these phones are available for under Rs. 20,000, and come with 4GB RAM. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max comes with a 64MP quad rear camera and 32MP front camera, while the Redmi Note 9 comes with a 48MP quad rear camera and a 16MP selfie camera.
Additionally, we can also look forward to three to-be-launched mobiles that will offer NavIC support.
This phone is expected to be priced under Rs. 15,000 and a release date of late December 2020 has been touted. It is being reported that the phone comes with a 4GB RAM with 64GB storage, and a 13MP triple rear camera, and an 8MP punch hole selfie camera. The Nokia 3.4 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chipset, and it comes with a 4000mAh battery, along with a 5W charger. It also offers up to 10W charging capability, in case you have — or intend to — invest in a 10W charger.
OnePlus Nord 100
One can expect 4GB RAM and 64GB storage from the soon-to-be-launched OnePlus Nord 100. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 SoC, it also comes with the best-in-class battery: a 6000mAh battery that is accompanied by an 18W charger. OnePlus Nord 100 supports the NavIC GPS system, and will house a triple-rear camera setup.
Falling in the under Rs. 15,000 segment, users can expect 6GB RAM and 128GB storage from this smartphone. Realme C17 comes with a powerful 5000mAh battery and an 18W charger included, a quad-rear camera set-up, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chipset.
Consumers can expect an increasing number of NavIC-supported phones going forward, as Qualcomm and MediaTek have announced chipsets designed to support the GPS system. Furthermore, MediaTek 700 5G chipset is expected to be seen in smartphones available in India early next year. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 chipsets will also power several budget and mid-level NavIC-supported smartphone models.
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