NaVIC: Indian Smartphones To Function On Native Navigation System
India’s own navigation system – NaVIC is going to be implemented across the country. Smartphone companies are asked to utilize NaVIC instead of American GPS.
India is asking tech giants to make smartphones compatible with its in-house navigation system within months, which is concerning companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Apple who fear increased costs & interruptions as the action requires hardware changes.
India has increased the usage of its national navigation satellite system called NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) over the years in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s campaign for self-reliance.
The Indian government claims that NavIC offers more accurate native navigation and that its use would boost the economy in an effort to lessen reliance on foreign systems, such as the commonly used U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).
In order to compete with GPS, China, the European Union, Japan, and Russia all have their own regional or global navigation systems.
Despite being in use since 2018, NavIC has seen little adoption; for instance, it is required in public car location trackers.
However, according to government and industry records, Modi’s government and space officials want to expand its use.
As a result, they have driven smartphone brands to make hardware changes this year so that new phones they will start selling in January 2023 will support NavIC in addition to GPS.
Representatives of Apple Inc., Xiaomi Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and other companies resisted in private meetings in August & September, citing concerns that making phones NavIC-compliant would result in increased research and production expenses.
As per two smartphone business sources and documentation, the modifications would also call for further testing certifications, which with a January 1 deadline would strongly impact scheduled launches.
Apple and Xiaomi did not react to demands for comment, while Samsung declined to make any remarks about the meetings.
Both the project’s involved space agency ISRO and the IT ministry of India remained silent.
Samsung in particular expressed issues during a Sept. 2 closed-door meeting between leading smartphone companies and chipmakers with the Indian IT ministry as well as space agency officials.
Binu George, an executive with Samsung in India, cautioned against cost concerns by informing officials that new smartphone chipsets are only one part of what is needed for NavIC support. He said,
“This would raise the price because it necessitates modifying the hardware’s design and making additional efforts to support devices unique to India. Additionally, the businesses are already set up for models to debut in 2024.”
According to a senior government official, a final decision is anticipated in the coming days. The smartphone industry has requested an extension till 2025 for the upgrades.
The Indian space agency will offer technical assistance for integrating NavIC into new handsets, and a subsequent meeting may be scheduled.