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ZTE smartphones to carry BeiDou chips

2014-12-01 09:50 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Report says enables devices to use local BDS navigational service

A Shanghai high-tech company has rolled out a navigation chip utilizing the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) service that will be used on over 1 million smartphones made by Chinese smartphone maker ZTE from early 2015, Shanghai-based newspaper Wen Hui Bao reported over the weekend.

Experts said the chip, a key component in the navigation service, will help to promote the civil and commercial use of BDS in China.

Shanghai Beiga Satellite Technology Co displayed the newly developed chip on Thursday at an industry exhibition in Shanghai for promoting the civilian use of military technologies, according to the report.

Wang Yongping, general manager of Beiga, said they are improving the chip that debuted at the exhibition and will start mass production and consolidate it into about 1 million ZTE smartphones from next March, the report said.

Wang further predicted the figure could hit 10 million by the end of 2016.

ZTE could not be reached for confirmation by press time over the weekend.

A chip that can be used on smartphones is a technological improvement and positive for the whole industry due to the chance of winning orders to be used on a vast number of devices, Xiang Ligang, CEO of industry information portal cctime.com, told the Global Times Sunday.

"In China, the civilian use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) has some limitations. For instance, it cannot recognize the differences between main roads and side roads with its accuracy performance lingering at around 10 meters. BDS is said to have better performance in this regard, which boosts its value for Chinese consumers," Xiang said.

Previous chips using the BDS were too large and consumed too much energy to be logical for daily use, Wen Hui Bao reported.

China started to build its own space-based positioning, navigation and timing system in 2000 as an alternative to GPS, which is maintained by the US government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.

The BDS network, which initially was for military usage and currently consists of 16 operational satellites, started providing public service to the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012.

Gu Zhengxi, deputy general manager of Beijing-based CenNavi Technologies Co, a traffic information service provider based on satellite technology, said the majority of chips sold in the domestic market are so called dual-mode chips, receiving both signals sent from satellites belonging to the BDS as well as the GPS system.

China is steadily pushing forward the usage of its homegrown BDS.

China plans to cooperate with several countries, including Mexico, Israel and Sweden, to expand the reach of its BeiDou navigation satellite system, China National Radio reported on October 22.

By the end of 2013, BDS had been installed on over 50,000 Chinese fishing vessels with subsidies from the government, Reuters reported on July 27.

"Strong policy support and the necessity of a homegrown system for national defense indicate BDS will carve out market share from the domestic market dominated by GPS," Gu told the Global Times Sunday.

"The proliferation of its application, especially in the field of civilian use, will help the system to achieve the economy of scale at an earlier date and bring down its cost," Gu said.

In addition to GPS and BDS, there are other systems in use or under development, such as the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and the EU's Galileo positioning system, media reports said.

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