India NavIC System: The Indian government wants smartphone makers to start making their phones compatible with the native NavIC system within a few months, to eventually replace the GPS widely used in the United States. However, this strategy has alarmed OEMs like Xiaomi, Samsung, and others.
Phones in India must support NavIC System!
According to Reuters, the Indian government wants smartphone makers to fully equip their devices with NavIC by January 23, 2023, but that seems unlikely.
At conferences in August and September, Apple, Xiaomi, and even Samsung expressed concerns that it might be difficult to roll out the technology to future phones too soon. This requires hardware upgrades and increased production costs.
In response, Binu George of Samsung India said, “This would add to cost as it requires hardware design changes and additional investments to support devices specific to India. Further, the companies have already prepared for models to be launched in 2024.“
This is a concern for Xiaomi and Samsung, especially for phones under $200, as the addition of NavIC functionality increases the cost of dual-band chipsets that support NavIC and GPS.
Also, this requires a test pass, which won’t be possible until the January 1st deadline. As a result, a release date of 2025 was proposed. In response, MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) said that no deadline had been set and that discussions are currently in progress with the relevant parties.
A media report has claimed citing a meeting that mobile cos were asked to make smartphones compatible with NavIC within months. This is to clarify: (1) No timeline has been fixed. (2) The cited meeting was consultative; and (3) the issue is under discussion with all stakeholders.
— Ministry of Electronics & IT (@GoI_MeitY) September 26, 2022
It remains to be seen whether the decision will be made, which will happen soon. For those who do not know, the Indian navigation system NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is developed by the Indian agency ISRO for commercial and military use.
On the other hand, the government wants to expand its database to replace GPS and Russian GLONASS. In terms of location accuracy and availability in the service area, NavIC is considered “as good as GPS of the United States in terms of position accuracy and availability in its service region.“
The NavIC protocol is already supported by many mobile phones. According to research, Counterpoint Research claims that 300 Indian mobile phones support NavIC.