Satellite wars: Xiaomi challenges Apple and Huawei with 14 Ultra

Allen Hsieh, Taipei; Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: Xiaomi

In the wake of Apple and Huawei's trailblazing efforts, Xiaomi's latest offering, the 14 Ultra, is making waves yet again, heralding a new era in mobile communication. With satellite connectivity now firmly established as more than just a fad, the industry is witnessing a seismic shift towards a future where satellite-powered mobile communication reigns supreme.

Equipped with a proprietary signal enhancement chip, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra boasts seamless integration with China's geosynchronous orbit satellite, "Tiantong," facilitating two-way satellite communication encompassing voice calls, text messaging, and location tracking.

As giants like Apple and Huawei continue to champion satellite-enabled smartphones, the landscape is evolving rapidly, with players like Honor and Xiaomi joining the fray, introducing their own satellite-capable devices. What was once a niche feature is now poised to become ubiquitous, as satellite communication trickles down from flagship models to mid-range offerings, it will eventually permeate into every smartphone on the market.

Xiaomi's strategic focus on satellite communication directly challenges industry stalwarts like Huawei. As competition intensifies, major players are optimizing features to stay ahead in the satellite communication race, ensuring they remain relevant in an increasingly connected world.

However, despite the industry's bullish outlook, challenges persist. The decision by Samsung Electronics to exclude satellite communication capabilities in its latest Galaxy S24 series underscores lingering concerns regarding ecosystem readiness and technological maturity.

Looking ahead to 2024, the proliferation of satellite-enabled smartphones is inevitable. While satellite communication may not yet be a mainstream feature, its importance cannot be overstated. With the advent of 6G technology and its emphasis on seamless connectivity, satellite communication is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of mobile communication.

For mobile manufacturers, the race to leverage satellite technology represents a strategic imperative, ensuring they remain at the forefront of innovation and do not miss out on the transformative potential of this emerging technology landscape.