Huawei has released the Mate 50, a smartphone that works with the GPS network in China.
When the US blocked Huawei’s access to 5G wireless technologies, the company built satellite communication into its next flagship phone as a workaround.
Using the Chinese version of the more popular U.S. Air Force-created Global Positioning System (BeiDou), users of the Mate 50 series will be able to send short messages and map out routes.
To beat out competitors like Apple, which is also working on satellite connectivity, Huawei is the first major smartphone company to release such a feature.
In 2020, the BeiDou network covered the whole world. This was a big step in Beijing’s plan to make its own system for future communications, navigation, and scientific research that would not depend on GPS or other global navigation systems like Russia’s GLONASS, the European Union’s Galileo, or India’s IRNSS.
“It will be the first smartphone in the world to support message linkages with the BeiDou satellite navigation network. We are about to usher in a new era of widespread commercial use of such satellite technologies, “said Richard Yu, executive director and chief executive officer of Huawei’s consumer business group.
Huawei, which has been subject to a U.S. crackdown since 2018,
Huawei, which has been subject to a U.S. crackdown since 2018, does not have access to the premium 5G mobile chips that are currently standard in Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi flagship smartphones. According to IDC data, its smartphone shipments decreased to 37.5 million units in 2021 from 240.6 million in 2019, when it was the world’s second-largest handset manufacturer, after Samsung.
China’s tech giant owns Honor, a low-priced smartphone brand. It will be sold off by the end of 2020. The former division has placed significant bets on international growth, most notably with the release of a new line of mobile devices at the IFA Berlin trade show. Honor has said that its high-end foldable phone will come out in Europe in early 2023.
Since its introduction, satellite communications have found widespread application in the fields of defense and emergency management. So that they can work in dangerous situations when there is no other way to talk or find out where you are.
In contrast, the wireless mobile internet requires the presence of base stations in order to transfer data and make phone calls. The newest Huawei phone will have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile chipset, which is a 4G variant of the original Snapdragon 8+.
Huawei can’t use the Android platform that Google made
Because of U.S. restrictions, Huawei can’t use the Android platform that Google made. So it has developed its own, called Harmony OS, which will be preinstalled on the Mate 50.
Additionally, the company has created cutting-edge materials to make the glass covers of the phones more resilient to drops and crashes. Huawei created an alternative to Corning’s Gorilla Glass and called it “Kunlun glass.”
Yu, a Huawei representative, said that the Mate 50 series stands out because of its better cameras, its ability to translate instantly, and its ability to respond to calls through text.
According to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Haitong International Securities, Huawei used a chip made by CETC Acoustic-Optical-Electronic Technology to facilitate satellite communication. He thought that Huawei’s move might be the start of a large-scale commercial use of similar technologies in consumer electronics.
At the present time, only Chinese chip designers are allowed to work on chips that can communicate with China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system. Companies from China are the only ones who can really compete in this market.
Pu’s official statement On the other hand, he stressed that the new Huawei feature does not necessitate relying solely on satellite-based communication for all users. For both your wallet and your phone’s battery, that could be a huge drain.
IDC analyst Joey Yen told Nikkei Asia that Huawei may have created a new battleground in the global struggle for technological supremacy. The space industry and navigation satellites are now part of the “tech battleground,” alongside 5G and AI.