NavIC which stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation is as the name suggests an indigenous alternative for GPS. Back in January, Qualcomm announced its collab with ISRO, the developer of NavIC. According to this, new phones running on Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662, and Snapdragon 460 chipsets would support NavIC out of the box. But, now Qualcomm’s latest announcement reveals the feature extension to Snapdragon 865 as well.

That said, still, there is something worth noting in the fine print.

NavIC on Snapdragon 865…but how?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 NavIC

Sachin Kalantri, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Qualcomm reportedly confirmed the support for SD865 and its sequels. The chip giant is currently baking a software patch that will be enroute to OEMs such as Realme, Xiaomi, Samsung, etc that activate the functionality.

From the OEMs-end, the devices must support radio frequency (out of slightly varied RF components) for the L5 band. This is an aeronautical navigation band just like the L1 band that’s primarily employed by GPS.

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So, in the words of Mr. Kalantri, “As long as your phone has a chipset which is NavIC capable, has L5 band enabled, and has the software for NavIC, it will work.”

This also sorts the recent confusion in the tech community about Realme X50 Pro’s claim of NavIC compatibility with its X50 Pro 5G (review) model. As you may know, this puzzling revelation came soon after Xiaomi declared it as one of the frontrunners for Navic-abled handset. Anyhoo, it seems the Realme phone will sport the function once it addresses the Qualcomm OTA update.

Some other concerns surrounding NavIC

Mr. Kalantri also added, “It’s agnostic to the user whether Galileo or Beidou or GPS or Glonass is being used. All the technologies which are possible from that phone typically will be used and the user does not have a choice in terms of switching from one to the other or selecting only one because it doesn’t make sense.”

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Further, for those of you flashholics out there, don’t worry since you won’t lose NavIC support by any custom ROM or Android version. It stays independent on the application level. Also, Qualcomm says NavIC won’t weigh down on smartphone battery life. So, that’s reassuring!

NavIC is said to be a quicker and more accurate navigation experience, even in dense urban areas that have skyscrapers. We are looking forward to testing it out upon its arrival.


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