Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said that it held a consultation with US chipmaker Qualcomm on enabling the Indian version of GPS in their Snapdragon mobile chipsets. The Indian version of GPS is facilitated by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), also known as Navigation with Indian Constellation or NavIC. The system is reportedly at par with the US, Russia and Europe’s GPS versions.
What
  1. The new 4G chipsets, known as Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 662 and 460, were released on 21 January 2020. They are the first system-on-chip solutions which are NavIC enabled. With this release, according to ISRO, the adoption of NavIC by smartphone makers would be accelerated.
  2. The manufacturers of smartphones would now be able to release new models in India which would be enabled with NavIC, making it a standard feature in the handsets, processors and applications to be released in the near future. 
  3. This would also further improve the geolocation capabilities of smartphones within the purview of NavIC coverage, the agency said. It would also bring indigenous solutions to India-based customers on a day-to-day basis.
  4. The new chipsets will enhance the user experience in terms of connectivity, entertainment and gaming. They will have key WiFi 6 features, come equipped with integrated Bluetooth 5.1, enable fast 4G connectivity, have advanced audio and support Dual-Frequency GNSS for improving accuracy in location positioning and robustness. 
  5. The chipsets will now be sent to various smartphone handset manufacturers. Based on these chipsets, Chinese smartphone makers Realme and Xiaomi will soon roll out devices having NavIC capabilities.
  6. Regardless of when the 5G technology reaches the Indian customers, ISRO has been able to unlock a major achievement with indigenous GPS-enabled chipsets having been released in the market.
Flashback
  1. IRNSS or NavIC is an independent regional navigation satellite system being developed by India. 
  2. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. 
  3. An Extended Service Area lies between primary service area and area enclosed by the rectangle from Latitude 30 deg South to 50 deg North, Longitude 30 deg East to 130 deg East.
  4. IRNSS will provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users. 
  5. The IRNSS System is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.