Huawei continues to innovate with one arm tied behind its back and it makes you wonder what it could achieve without the sanctions imposed against it by the U.S. You might not remember, but back on September 7th, 2022, Huawei was actually the first to offer satellite connectivity on a smartphone. Beating Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone 14 series with Emergency SOS via Satellite by hours, the Mate 50 and Mate 50 Pro supported short text messages and navigation via satellite using China’s BeiDou satellite network.

The innovation continued with last year’s Mate 60 Pro which allowed users to make satellite calls. And remember, because of U.S. export rules that prevent foundries using American tech to produce chips from shipping cutting-edge silicon to Huawei, the Mate 60 series had to make do with a 7nm Kirin 9000 application processor (AP) two generations behind the 3nm A17 Pro powering the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Recently, Huawei announced its first flagship series of 2024, the Pura 70 line. Formerly known as the P-series, Huawei traditionally opens each year with these photography-based phones, and giving them a new name didn’t change the focus of the line (no pun intended). Per Huawei Central, Huawei has added a new photography-related satellite feature to the messaging and the calls that will be available to Pura 70 Ultra users. This feature, not available on any other phone including the iPhone, will allow photographs taken with the device to be shared by satellite when no cellular signal is available.

In addition to sharing images via satellite on the Pura 70 Ultra, users will also be able to make satellite calls and send SMS messages. All of these satellite-based capabilities are promoted as features to be used in an emergency and there is no cellular signal available. Sharing photos over satellite requires both the sender and the recipient of the image to install the Changlian app on their handsets. Without the app installed, the recipient will only receive a text message, not the image sent.

The bandwidth available for sending images by satellite is limited. As a result, image files are heavily compressed which leads to the pictures appearing distorted or blurry. This is one reason why users are told that this feature is for emergency use only.  One possible scenario would have a user facing an emergency in an unfamiliar location sending a photo showing where help needs to be sent.

Alan, an ardent smartphone enthusiast and a veteran writer at PhoneArena since 2009, has witnessed and chronicled the transformative years of mobile technology. Owning iconic phones from the original iPhone to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, he has seen smartphones evolve into a global phenomenon. Beyond smartphones, Alan has covered the emergence of tablets, smartwatches, and smart speakers.

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