Due to U.S. sanctions, Huawei abandoned the 5G of the new P50 phone
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On July 29, Huawei Technologies released its first high-end smartphone equipped with a Chinese group’s alternative Android software but without a 5G connection. This was a setback caused by its restricted access to American technology.
Huawei-the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer just last year-said its latest P50 and P50 Pro phones run on the Hongmeng operating system.
The CEO of the Consumer Electronics Group, Yu Chengdong, launched the phone in a low-key, Chinese-only online event-in stark contrast to previous press conferences for global audiences. Yu did not disclose whether the new model will be launched outside the Chinese market.
“Due to US sanctions, our new smartphones cannot run on 5G wireless connections, although we are definitely a global leader in 5G technology,” Yu said. “But with 4G, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and our AI computing algorithm, we can still provide the same powerful performance as all 5G phones.”
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Most of the new high-end smartphones from Samsung Electronics, Xiaomi and other Huawei competitors are 5G models.Apple switched to faster 5G technology for its top-of-the-line iPhone 12 series last year, and Plans to add 5G According to Nikkei Asia, a low-cost iPhone SE will be launched next year.
Huawei is an early adopter of 5G technology. The company’s Mate 30 series launched in 2019 is the industry’s first product with an integrated 5G chipset and built-in 5G modem-all designed by its semiconductor division HiSilicon.
Huawei said that the new P50 smartphone will be equipped with the Kirin 9000 processor developed by HiSilicon and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G processor.
This marks the first time the Chinese company has confirmed that it can obtain the US chip manufacturer’s chipset on the trade blacklist in Washington, although it cannot obtain a 5G version. Chinese rival Xiaomi uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 5G mobile processor in its latest flagship Xiaomi 11 mobile phone.
Yu said that the P50 Pro equipped with Kirin 9000 will be launched on August 12, with a retail price of up to RMB 7,488 (US$1,152), and the Qualcomm version will be available at the end of this year. The P50 model will only run on Qualcomm’s chipset and will go on sale in September.
Washington blacklisted Huawei for national security considerations in 2019, and later modified its export control rules to prevent all unauthorized shipments of chips and components to the company, even from non-US suppliers, if they contain any American technology.
Stricter regulations have cut off Huawei’s contact with most major chip suppliers, including TSMC, MediaTek and Qualcomm, and restricted its access to the most advanced chips in the world. The Chinese company has to rely on its recently released smartphone chip inventory and less advanced chipsets.
Huawei usually launches its P-series phones at high-profile technology events in Barcelona or other major European cities in February or March. However, due to the company’s efforts to ensure an important supply of chips and electronic components, the launch of its P50 was delayed.
Nevertheless, Yu remains optimistic about the new phone’s features, touting that the P50 series is better than the iPhone 12 Pro Max for taking pictures at long distances and in low light conditions.
“Every time we launch the P series, we are leading a new trend in the smartphone industry,” Yu said.
Yu said that 40 million users have updated their Huawei phones to the Hongmeng operating system-a key move by the Chinese company to build a new ecosystem that is not affected by American technology. Huawei said last month that its goal is to update 200 million existing mobile phones to the Hongmeng operating system by the end of this year.
The US government prohibits Huawei from accessing Google’s mobile services, including popular mobile applications such as Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play. Since May 2019, this has seriously affected the overseas smartphone performance of the Chinese company.
Huawei executives admitted that the suppression in Washington has severely affected the company’s smartphone business. The group has been allocating resources to develop Hongmeng-its own version of the Android mobile operating system, which is widely used in Samsung, OPPO and Xiaomi phones-hoping to rebuild an ecosystem of smartphones and Internet connectivity without American technology.
The Chinese technology giant is also actively investing in domestic chip companies and is promoting Overseas recruitmentNikkei Asia reported earlier that it was mainly in Europe, trying to maintain its technological prowess.
According to data from Counterpoint Research, Huawei’s market share in smartphones dropped by 20% between April and June 2020, reaching seventh place in the first quarter of this year, when it only had a 4% share.
In the domestic market, Huawei fell to No. 6 with a market share of 8.3%. IDC’s preliminary data shows that Honor — the cheap smartphone series that Huawei sold to a consortium in November last year — ranked fifth in China.
“this shipment [of components] The impact on Huawei this year is very limited. We ship tens of thousands of pieces every month instead of millions of pieces in the past,” a long-term Huawei supplier told Nikkei Shimbun. “We now hope that Honor can consolidate its position in the smartphone market and rise. “
According to data from Isaiah Research, Huawei’s smartphone shipments this year may drop to around 40 million units in 2021. It was still 189 million units last year, ranking third in the world, and its shipments reached a record 240.6 million units in 2019, second only to Samsung. , IDC data display.
“We believe that the outlook for Huawei’s smartphone business is not so bright,” said Eddie Han, an analyst at Isaiah Research. “On the contrary, Huawei may spend more resources on building software and applications, especially on its Hongmeng operating system and its ecosystem partners.”
“We think Huawei will switch to other non-5G products, such as laptops, TVs, wearables, the Internet of Things, and automotive electronics,” Han said.
A version of this article First published by Nikkei Asia on July 29, 2021. ©2021 Nikkei Inc. All rights reserved