This feature is mandated by the Indian government for all smartphones sold in India from 2023.
Beginning January 1, 2023, the Indian government has mandated that all smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and others, include NavIC in all of their handsets sold in India. NavIC is India's native navigation system, created by the Indian Research Space Organization (ISRO) for military and commercial purposes.
What exactly is NavIC and how does it work?
ISRO designed India's satellite system, NavIC. Its development began in 2006. At the time, the approved budget was $174 million, with a completion date of 2011. However, NavIC ultimately went live in 2018.
So, that was a quick overview of NavIC, but how does it operate and what advantages does it have over competitors like GPS and GLONASS?
India has launched eight satellites into space, covering the whole Indian landmass and up to 1,500 kilometres beyond its borders. Now, with all of these satellites covering the entire Indian landmass, position accuracy is greater than that of GPS or GLONASS, with claims of less than 10 metres in its core service region.
What exactly is the government's mandate?
The government has mandated that smartphone manufacturers incorporate NavIC on all phones released beginning in 2023. But did you know that NavIC is already present on a large number of phones? In fact, over 300 phones are currently sold in India that use NavIC, with the Realme X50 Pro being the first to do so in February 2020.
For starters, it aligns with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's goal of "Atmanirbhar Bharat." The second reason is that, as good as foreign navigation systems are, the government believes that our country should not be dependent on them because, at the end of the day, foreign navigation systems are operated by respective nations' defence organisations. So, if a situation arises, there is always the possibility that civilian services may be reduced or denied, which should not be the case with NavIC because it is completely controlled by India.