Xiaomi Global Vice President and India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain recently revealed plans about multiple Xiaomi and Redmi smartphones with NavIC support. As per the announcement, Xiaomi became the first major smartphone maker to bring NavIC to smartphones. For some context, ISRO developed NavIC in India, a regional geo-positioning system. NavIC is designed to provide accurate positioning in India and 1500km around the country with the help of 7 satellites. Also Read - Xiaomi teams up with ISRO and Qualcomm to bring NavIC technology to Redmi smartphones
Days later, Realme CEO Madhav Sheth stated that the Realme X50 Pro 5G already supports NavIC. He went ahead to add that this makes Realme X50 Pro 5G as the first NavIC sporting smartphone. Further, Sheth also claimed that Realme is working on a second Realme-branded smartphone with NavIC support. This likely hints at the upcoming Realme 6 series devices scheduled to launch on March 5, 2020. It is possible that Sheth was referring to the Realme 6 Pro with NavIC support. However, these claims caused a controversy on social media website Twitter. Several journalists pointed out that Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC does not come with NavIC support. We will cover this part in detail below. Also Read - Realme X50 Pro 5G first impressions: 5G-ready phone hits India
Watch: Realme X50 Pro 5G First Impressions
Qualcomm’s official statement (over email) to @HTTech by Sachin Kalantri, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Qualcomm India. https://t.co/fomNQs7cia pic.twitter.com/2S4UWoa9qR Also Read - Xiaomi, Realme to launch phones with India's own NavIC GPS tech
— Robin Sinha (@RobSin91) February 27, 2020
The claims about the first NavIC supporting smartphone are likely to escalate the war between both the companies. Both the device makers have been competing both on and off Twitter for quite some time. Xiaomi had Realme have launched a number of aggressively priced value-for-money smartphones in India to try and take the bigger slice of the market share. They have also been competing with each other to become the first company to offer hardware features. This competition is likely to secure bragging rights of being “first” company to launch a smartphone with a particular feature. In the recent past, the companies have tried to beat each other in the war to launch the first 64-megapixel camera, a high refresh rate or the first 5G smartphone. Xiaomi and Realme were also involved in a quite recent brawl on Twitter when Manu Kumar Jain accused Realme of being a “copy-cat brand”.
NavIC support on Snapdragon 865?
As mentioned above, the bigger question is how Realme X50 Pro 5G will support NavIC. According to a tweet recently shared by Robin Sinha, the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC is not equipped to support NavIC. Xiaomi could likely implement the technology in upcoming smartphones featuring newer mid-range processors. These include the Snapdragon 765 and 720G SoC. However, the Realme X50 Pro already launched with the Snapdragon 865 SoC.
The NavIC system is designed to provide accurate positioning in India and 1500km around the country. Talking about the 7 satellites, three are in geostationary orbit over the Indian ocean. The remaining four are in geosynchronous orbit. ISRO claims that NavIC will be able to provide a location with an accuracy “better than 20 meters.”
We have reached out to Qualcomm for a statement on the same. We will update this article as soon as we have confirmation on the matter.