(File photo) ISRO Chairman K Sivan (PTI)
(File photo) ISRO Chairman K Sivan (PTI)

Qualcomm announces first chipsets with Isro's NavIC GPS for Android smartphones

  • In addition to NavIC, these chipsets will also support the widely used GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System)
  • NavIC has seven satellites and their range is within India and its adjoining regions extending up to 1,500km from the country's border

Smartphones running on new Qualcomm chipsets will be using Indian regional satellite navigation system NavIC within the Indian region and neighbouring countries.

This means when people will use their smartphone to travel from point A to B anywhere in India, the receiver inside the phone will turn to the constellation of seven NavIC satellites which will be sending radio signals to each other and then to the receiver allowing it to determine the location and time at any point.

"ISRO is satisfied with the efforts of Qualcomm towards incorporating NavIC and we urge OEMs to leverage it for future handset launches in India. The availability of NavIC across multiple mobile platforms will help enhance the geolocation capabilities of smartphones in the region and bring the benefits of this indigenous solution to Indian consumers for their day-to-day use," Dr. K Sivan, chairman, ISRO said in a press statement.

In addition to NavIC, these chipsets will also support the widely used GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) which includes USA's GPS (global positioning system), European Union's Galileo, Russia's GLONASS and China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System for global coverage.

Unlike the widely used GPS which includes 24 satellites, NavIC has seven satellites and their range is within India and its adjoining regions extending up to 1,500km from the country's border.

Technically satellite systems with more satellites provide more accurate positioning information. However, GPS' 24 satellites provide coverage to the entire planet, whereas NavIC's seven satellites will only cover India and its adjoining countries. Which is why many believe that compared to GPS which has a position accuracy of 20-30 metres, the NavIC will be able to pinpoint location to an estimated accuracy of under 20 metres.

Also, NavIC satellites are in geosynchronous orbits and are vertically positioned which makes them always visible to a receiver.

Named after Indian fishermen and navigators, NavIC will provide two types of services- the Standard Positioning Service (SPS), which is meant for the general public and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service meant for authorised users and agencies.

The new chipsets that will support NavIC include Snapdragon 720G, 662 and 460. Aimed at mid and entry level smartphones, the new chipsets support WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 along with faster 4G speeds.

According to reports, Xiaomi has showed keen interest in adopting NavIC enabled chipsets in its smartphones and might use it in the next lineup of Redmi smartphones.

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