While GPS is very popular among smartphone users, what most people do not know is that GPS is not the only satellite navigation system. Russia uses its own GLONASS while the European Union and China have Galileo and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 launched NavIC satellite navigation system made by Isro and finally in 2020, we have NavIC making its way to smartphones. Isro has deployed eight satellites for NavIC out of which seven will provide positioning, location, navigation and timing (PNT) services while another one will offer messaging services (IRNSS-1A).
“Isro is satisfied with the efforts of Qualcomm Technologies, 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,” said Dr K Sivan, chairman, Isro.
NavIC only focuses on India and Isro considers it to be more accurate than GPS with position accuracy of 5 metre. NavIC is powered by dual frequency (S and L bands) while GPS is dependent only on L band making it more accurate than GPS.
Apart from smartphones, the Indian Air Force will use NavIC in fighter jets for navigation requirements. Other use cases of NavIC include disaster management, geodetic data capture, aerial and marine navigation and more. Also, commercial vehicles registered after April 1, 2019 are required to have NavIC trackers. Over 30 Indian companies are making NavIC trackers for vehicles after Isro procured multichip module (MCM) developed by Taiwanese SkyTraQ
Talking about the chipsets, all the three new Snapdragon chipsets — Snapdragon 720G, 662 and 460 — support 4G connectivity along with Wi-Fi 6, integrated Bluetooth 5.1 and Qualcomm FastConnect 6-series subsystems, support Dual-Frequency (L1 and L5) GNSS.
Meanwhile, Snapdragon 720G aims to offer superior gaming performance in affordable smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming features and HDR game. The chipset comes with the Qualcomm Spectra 350L ISP, along with support for 4K video and up to 192-megapixel photos. Snapdragon 720G also features the latest 5th generation Qualcomm AI Engine with the improved Hexagon Tensor Accelerator. The integrated Snapdragon X15 LTE modem supports 3-carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO on two carriers and 256-QAM modulation for fast download speeds up to 800 Mbps.