September 8, 2022: -Huawei established a flagship smartphone that it claims is the first device to connect to China’s Beidou global navigation satellite system.
The company seeks to remain relevant in the mobile market after U.S. sanctions crippled its mobile phone business.
The Chinese technology company took the wraps off the Mate 50 smartphone on Tuesday, alongside the MatePad Pro tablet and Watched GT 3 Pro smartwatch.
Huawei’s Mate 50 boasts an updated camera with four lenses arranged in a circle on the back. The phone even operates Harmony 3.0, the latest version of Huawei’s self-developed operating procedure, which was first released in 2019 following the company was cut off from using Google’s Android software because of the U.S. sanctions.
The Mate 50 also does not have connectivity to super-fast 5G networks after the U.S. embargoes cut off the company from the vital chip required for this. Instead, the phone connects to previous generation 4G networks.
However, Huawei claims this is the first smartphone released to the public that can relate to China’s Beidou satellite networking. Beidou was completed in 2020 and is a rival to the U.S. government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS), widely used worldwide.
Connectivity to Beidou means users can still send messages even when they lose contact with a terrestrial mobile network, for example, if they’re in a remote area.
The Mate 50 went on pre-sale in China on Tuesday, and the starting price is 4,999 yuan ($718), with the higher-spec Mate 50 Pro starting at 6,799 yuan ($1,006).
Huawei tried to have relevance in the smartphone market after the U.S. cut the company from critical components and software and crushed its business. Huawei was once the number one smartphone player in the world but now holds a small market share.
The company hopes its other products, such as the tablet, smartwatch, and other accessories, can pick up some slack.