Huawei’s latest smartphone supports short message function enabled by BeiDou
Published: Sep 06, 2022 08:26 PM
Huawei's Richard Yu Chengdong showcases the Mate 50 series on September 6, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Huawei

Huawei's Richard Yu Chengdong showcases the Mate 50 series on September 6, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Huawei

Chinese tech giant Huawei unveiled a new flagship smartphone on Tuesday, which could be hooked to China's BeiDou satellite navigation system, allowing users to send short messages even when there is no communication signal on the ground.

"The short message communication is a major feature that distinguishes BeiDou from other satellite navigation systems in the world. Combination with mobile phones can greatly increase the scope of application of this function and reduces application costs," aerospace expert Pang Zhihao told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

The short message communication service of the BeiDou-3 system covers China and neighboring countries and regions. Successful application on smartphones may bring changes and create new business opportunities to the industry chain, analysts said. 

Linking with BeiDou navigation system is one of the most eye-catching features of Huawei's new handset series, which the company described as a technology that "pierces the sky upwards".

The service empowers Mate 50 to allow users to send short messages and map out routes using the BeiDou navigation satellite system, the Chinese version of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

The Mate 50 series is the first smartphone in the industry to support the BeiDou satellite short message function, and it allows users to send messages and location information to the outside world when they are in an environment without ground network signal coverage.

Apple has been working on satellite connectivity for iPhone 14, which is scheduled to be launched on Wednesday, but whether it will support satellite communications depends on "whether Apple and operators can settle on the business model," according to some media reports.

"Realizing the satellite function prior to Apple is a breakthrough for Huawei, making it a pioneer in the industry and indicating a gradual upgrading of its smartphone business despite the US ban," Ma Jihua, a close follower of Huawei and a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times in an interview on Tuesday.

"But the application scenario for the function is quite limited at the moment, so it's just a very first step," Ma said.