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Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9 Pro series comes with NaVIC support: What does it mean?

Redmi Note 9 Pro series was announced yesterday and it comes with support for NaVIC, which is India's satellite navigation system. So what does NaVIC support on a device really mean? We take a look.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 13, 2020 11:54:46 am
NaVIC, Redmi Note 9 Pro NaVIC, Redmi Note 9 Pro ISRO, Xiaomi ISRO Navic, What is Navic, NaVIC on my phone, How to check for NaVIC on device, Redmi Note 9 Pro Max NaVIC, Realme 6 Pro with NaVIC Redmi Note 9 Pro comes with support for NaVIC. Here’s what this means on the device. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The Redmi Note 9 Pro series made its global debut in India yesterday, with the company announcing two variants: Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. The major differentiating feature on both phones is the camera, as the Redmi Note 9 Pro has a 48MP main camera, while the Max variant gets a 64MP main camera. Both phones however, run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor, which comes with integration for India’s own navigational system: NaVIC.

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9 Pro series not the only one with the chipset. The Realme 6 Pro also runs the same chipset, and comes with NaVIC support as well. Further, Qualcomm confirmed that its flagship processor, the Snapdragon 865 will also get support for NaVIC via a software update in April 2020. This would mean the Realme X50 Pro, which launched this year in India, will also support the feature. But what is NaVIC and what does the support on a phone really mean? We explain below

Also read:  Redmi Note 9 Pro first impressions: What has really changed this time? 

What is NaVIC?

Just like the United States has its own navigation system called GPS or the Global Positioning System, India has developed its own navigation satellite system called NaVIC, which is the operational name. The full name for the satellite system is Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

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Explained: Why you could soon be checking your location on NavIC instead of GPS 

There are other navigation systems as well such as GLONASS of Russia, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System by China and European Union’s Galileo. India’s NaVIC has a total of seven satellites.

What is the purpose of NaVIC?

NaVIC covers the entire Indian territorial region and the area extending beyond the boundaries by up to 1,500 kms. This is the Primary Service Area. The Extended Service Area for NaVIC goes up to the edges of the area enclosed by the rectangle imagined by latitudes 30 degrees South and 50 degrees North, and longitudes 30 degrees East and 130 degrees East.

NaVIC, Redmi Note 9 Pro NaVIC, Redmi Note 9 Pro ISRO, Xiaomi ISRO Navic, What is Navic, NaVIC on my phone, How to check for NaVIC on device, Redmi Note 9 Pro Max NaVIC, Realme 6 Pro with NaVIC Xiaomi’s Manu Kumar Jain with ISRO chief K Sivan. (Image via Manu Jain Twitter account)

With NaVIC the idea is to provide much better position accuracy and location data within India. It can provide a Standard Positioning Service (SPS), which is available to all users. There is also an encrypted Restricted Service (RS), which as the name suggests it limited to only authorised users and for defence purposes.

The IRNSS system comes with position accuracy better than 20 metres in the primary service area. This can be used to help with disaster management, vehicle tracking, integration with mobiles, navigation on automobiles, etc.

The NaVIC system also means a lesser Time to fix (TTF). In GPS navigation, this is the amount of time required for the navigation device to acquire satellite signals and navigation data, and thus calculate a position solution, which is called a fix. A lesser Time to fix will ensure faster location data access when using devices which are NaVIC-enabled in India.

So what does it mean when Redmi Note 9 Pro supports NaVIC?

Xiaomi had announced the partnership with ISRO and Qualcomm around bringing NaVIC support back in October 2019 itself. The inclusion of NaVIC means that the Redmi Note 9 Pro, and even the Realme 6 Pro are all NaVIC ready when it comes to using satellites for location data.

So in comparison, the Redmi Note 8 Pro supports GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou for navigation. With Redmi Note 9 Pro, the NaVIC support is mentioned right in the beginning in the list of specifications for navigation and positioning.

As pointed out, the NaVIC support feature on phones like Redmi Note 9 Pro series, Realme 6 Pro will ensure better accuracy for mobiles when it comes to location data within India and 1500 km around the Indian subcontinent.

What other Qualcomm processors will support NaVIC ?

The Snapdragon 720G along with Snapdragon 662 and 460 processors will also support NaVIC and come with Dual-Frequency (L1 and L5) GNSS or Global Navigation Satellite System. These are design to improve location positioning accuracy and robustness. The chipsets were announced in January 2020.

At the time of the announcement, Dr K Sivan, chairman, ISRO had said, “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.”

How to check if NaVIC is supported on my device?

There is an app called GPSTest by barbeauDev on Google Play Store, which will let you see if your phone supports NaVIC. The app shows the real-time information for satellites, which are in view of device and is an open-source testing tool. In case your GPS is not working or working inaccurately, the app can also help you understand why this could be the case.

When you open the app, it will show the list of satellites available to your phone. If your phone is NaVIC supported, you will see the India flag appear and the satellites in range. Again, these will only appear if your device is NaVIC supported.

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