The smartphone-verse has been in a bit of a tizzy lately as far as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 supporting (or not supporting) NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is concerned. To put a timeline of sorts on things, we have to start with ISRO announcing NavIC.
Once Indian Space Research Organisation announced the indigenous alternative to the GPS (Global Positioning System), smartphone makers like Realme and Xiaomi announced soon after that they would be brining the tech to their smartphones this year.
Xiaomi made an announcement this week where they mentioned that the company was going to launch smartphones this year that will come equipped with NavIC tech.
On the other hand, Realme launched its 5G-ready Realme X50 Pro in India on Monday. After Xiaomi’s announcement, Realme CEO Madhav Sheth mentioned in a tweet that the X50 Pro comes with NavIC tech.
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.
Plan to talk more on 5th March. See you there with 1500 #realme fans. https://t.co/SXwcu1vYyI
— Madhav 5G (@MadhavSheth1) February 27, 2020
This is where the confusion started.
While Qualcomm had already announced that they would be making chips with NavIC support, the SoCs that were on the list were the Snapdragon 765, 720G, 662 and the 460. There was no mention of the Snapdragon 865 that the X50 Pro runs on.
So, that ideally meant two things – either Realme had forgotten to mention NavIC support on its latest flagship during launch or it did not come with NavIC support at all since Qualcomm did not have the 865 on its NavIC-capable list.
Hindustan Times got in touch with Qualcomm for clarity.
Qualcomm’s spokesperson clarified today that the Snapdragon 865 is NavIC capable but “with the final software update” coming to OEMs around April 2020.
Here’s what the Qualcomm spokesperson had to say:
“In October 2019, Qualcomm announced support for India’s NavIC Satellite Navigation System in commercial chipset platforms and we are pleased to be working with ISRO in bringing NavIC to Indian consumers and enhance their navigation experience via more accurate location performance, faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) position acquisition, and improved robustness. Recent Snapdragon Mobile Platform launches such as Snapdragon 765, 720G, 662 and 460 support NavIC. Snapdragon 865 is NaviC capable with the final software update coming to our OEMs around April 2020.”
This effectively means that the Realme X50 Pro has a chip that is NavIC capable, but support for the tech is not available yet and users will have to wait for Qualcomm’s April update to get it and use it. So, the tech support for NavIC is available in the market right now, the tech itself is not here yet.
So does the Realme X50 Pro have NavIC tech? The answer is – not yet, not out of the box. The hardware support exists and it can be used after Qualcomm’s software update.