Huawei announces the last big phone before U.S. ban forces rethink

(Bloomberg) – Huawei Technologies Co. introduced the Mate 40 smartphone series on Thursday, potentially its latest major launch driven by its self-designed Kirin chips.

China’s biggest tech company in sales has stocked chips to launch its exclusive device in time to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhone 12 over the holiday. Huawei will have to reform its smartphone line after the Trump administration’s sanctions that took effect in September reduced its ability to design and manufacture advanced internal chips, cutting it off from companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

The company’s consumer device group, led by Richard Yu, has already been banned from shipping devices with Google’s full Android experience. But that didn’t stop it from overtaking Samsung Electronics Co. and becoming the world’s best-selling smartphone maker in the summer, largely due to the growth in domestic sales. Without a contractor to produce their own chips or the ability to buy processors from a supplier like Qualcomm Inc., the prospects for the division’s future are less optimistic.

“We are suffering from the US government’s ban in the third round. This unfair ban, ”said Yu during a live presentation, saying that trade sanctions make things extremely difficult. Although he opened the event saying that “at Huawei, we continue to dare to dream of a bright future together.”

The 6.5 inch Mate 40 and the 6.76 inch Mate 40 Pro feature the 5 nm Kirin 9000 processor, behind Apple’s A14 chip to offer that advanced manufacturing knot in consumer devices. The system-on-chip contains 15.3 billion transistors, including a maximum of eight CPU cores at a speed of 3.13 GHz and 24 GPU cores that Huawei claims to have graphics 52% faster than the best offering on the market. Qualcomm.

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Both devices have slanted glass sides and fingerprint sensors on the display. The new “Space Ring” rear design that accommodates Huawei’s multi-camera system is reminiscent of the control wheel of iPods of yesteryear. It hosts a 50 megapixel main camera with zoom and ultra-wide lenses.

Although barred from doing business with technology partners and suppliers, Huawei still advertises Leica co-branding on its imaging hardware and once again offers a Porsche Design edition of its new flagship smartphone. The company also announced a new pair of headphones and new home speakers in collaboration with the French audio brand Devialet SA.

Huawei is a leader in China, where the mobile software ecosystem is developed with vendor-specific apps and stores, coupled with the reliance on Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s super-app WeChat as a mini operating system. Mate 40 gives Huawei a response to Apple’s new 5G-enabled iPhones and extends the time frame before it has to completely rethink its consumer device strategy.

The Mate 40 will go on sale for 899 euros ($ 1,064), the Mate 40 Pro will cost 1,199 euros and a Mate 40 Pro Plus with additional upgrades will cost 1,399 euros, although Huawei has not specified a release date.

© 2020 Bloomberg LP

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