Sorry Xiaomi, this Realme phone already offers ISRO's 'NavIC' tech
A few days ago, Xiaomi India MD Manu Kumar Jain announced that an upcoming phone under the company's Redmi sub-brand will use ISRO's own NavIC navigation system. Jain claimed it will be the first-ever device to use the home-grown tech, but as it turns out, a Realme phone already has NavIC on offer - and it's also available for purchase. Here's all about it.
Jain met ISRO chief, tweeted about NavIC on Redmi phones
On February 25, Jain met ISRO's Chief K Sivan and announced that the company has finalized the terms to use the space agency's own NavIC navigation system on Redmi phones. "We are extremely proud of the sophisticated geo-positioning tech which ISRO has devised, and even more proud to integrate it into several Xiaomi devices," Jain said while speaking on the ISRO-Xiaomi partnership.
But, apparently, NavIC is already available on Realme X50 Pro
While Xiaomi's partnership, as Jain said, marks the beginning of a 'glorious chapter' for tech in India, part of his claim was found to be wrong. Soon after his announcement, a number of Twitter users highlighted that X50 Pro by Realme (OPPO's spin off) is already NavIC-enabled. So, technically, Realme is the first company in the world to offer NavIC on a phone.
Even Realme's Madhav Sheth confirmed the same
Realme CEO Madhav Seth also confirmed the same, touting on Twitter that Realme X50 Pro packs NavIC inside. "Yes, our ultimate flagship, #realmeX50Pro features #NavIC & even our upcoming phone will feature it as well. So World's first, World's second, coming in a row, all for India," Sheth said while adding that he will talk more about it on March 5.
Here is Sheth's tweet
Yes, our ultimate flagship, #realmeX50Pro features #NavIC even our upcoming phone will feature it as well.— Madhav 5G (@MadhavSheth1) February 27, 2020
So World's first, World's second, coming in a row, all for India.
Plan to talk more on 5th March. See you there with 1500 #realme fans. https://t.co/SXwcu1vYyI
Realme 6 series to debut on March 5
On March 5, Realme plans to launch its Realme 6 and Realme 6 Pro budget and mid-range smartphones. Going by Sheth's tweet, there is a good chance that those two phones will also pack NavIC, making it even more difficult for Xiaomi to garner attention with the ISRO-built tech. In fact, at this stage, it is not clear which Redmi phone will get NavIC.
Meanwhile, here's what NavIC is capable of doing
The ISRO-built NavIC tech that both companies are racing to offer can be described as India's answer to the US' Global Position System and the Russian GLONASS, which already run on millions of devices worldwide. NavIC focuses on positioning services in India and 1,500km around the Indian mainland and is said to be accurate up to 5 meters, making it far better than GPS.
Key applications of NavIC
According to ISRO, the satellite-backed NavIC system can provide mobile devices with precise location mapping in remote, difficult to access areas, precise timing, as well as visual and voice navigation capabilities.