Technology Huawei's Mate 40 Pro could be firm's last hurrah in the smartphone world
Merkel Resists Full Ban on Huawei, Making Germany an Outlier
(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding the line against security hawks in Berlin to prevent a formal ban on China’s Huawei Technologies Co. as negotiators finalize the rules for keeping Germany’s fifth-generation wireless networks secure. The draft regulations would tighten the government’s scrutiny over equipment vendors, giving key cabinet members more room to flag security risks to Germany’s data, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
Huawei on Thursday welcomed into the world the latest addition to its flagship lineup: the Mate 40 Pro. But the phone's arrival was bittersweet. The device launched under a dark cloud, with a combination of US sanctions and reputational damage to the company raising the question of whether the Mate 40 Pro will be the last Huawei phone of its kind.
Since 2018, the US government has been imposing increasingly harsh sanctions on Huawei due to the company's purported links to the Chinese Communist Party. That's the reason Huawei's phones , which are popular elsewhere in the world, including Europe, aren't on sale in the US.
India: Hundreds of thousands of tea pickers in Assam on indefinite strike
© Biju BORO / AFP Tea pickers joined farmers in protesting the liberalization of the sale of fruits and vegetables. The strike began this Friday, October 9 to demand wage increases. These workers joined the farmers, who have been protesting for two weeks now against the new selling prices for fruit and vegetables. With our correspondent in Bangalore, Côme Bastin The State of Assam produces nearly 50% of India's tea, and it is found on many tables around the world.
It's also why the Mate 40 series is the third lot of Huawei flagships (after the Mate 30 and P40 series) to arrive without access to Google services. Over the past year, Huawei has made great strides to beef up its app offering and homegrown Harmony operating system, but it still doesn't match up to Google and Apple . That's made it hard to recommend Huawei devices over Android rivals.
The lack of access to Android's key services is taking its toll. Despite the company clinging to its No. 1 position in the global smartphone market in the first half of 2022 -- largely because of its strong performance in China --to 16% in August, from 21% in April, according to the latest Monthly Market Report by Counterpoint Research.
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In comparison, its closest competitor, Samsung , has jumped from 20% to 22%. Not only has this seen Huawei drop to second in global rankings, it's also created a 6% gap between first and second place.
"Many of the restrictions imposed on Huawei by the US government are beginning to bite now, so it is losing share in many markets outside China," Counterpoint VP of Research Peter Richardson said over email. "Assuming there is no relaxation in the restrictions placed on Huawei by the US administration, it is likely that its market share will continue to suffer."
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It's a bad time to be vulnerable if you're a phone manufacturer, because the global rollout is really beginning to gain momentum. Every jump to the next generation of network technology creates wiggle room at the top for a reshuffle. Ambitious companies can use this to their advantage, but just as there are always winners, there are always losers.
Huawei's Mate 40 Pro looks beautiful but don't buy it
A gorgeous design, great screen and capable camera don't make up for this phone's biggest problem.Due to the ongoing restrictions imposed by the US government, Huawei's phones can't use any Google services, including Gmail, Maps and Chrome and, most importantly of all, the Google Play store. While Huawei has its own app store (which I'll come to later) it's nowhere close to rivalling Google's and it makes this phone difficult to recommend over any of its rivals.
The big loser in the leap from 3G to 4G was HTC -- once one of the most popular phone makers in the world, now nowhere to be seen in global rankings. Huawei will be keen to avoid a similar fate.
It's not as though Huawei isn't well prepared for 5G. As one of the world leaders in building 5G equipment, it has an inside knowledge of what's required of 5G devices. Its homegrown Kirin 9000 chip, which powers the Mate 40, is a prime example of this: It's the first and only 5 nanometer, 5G system-on-a-chip with the modem built-in.
Huawei's 5G credentials should put it ahead of the game. But unfortunately, the Kirin 9000 is the last such chipset the company will be able to produce for its phones. US trade restrictions introduced this year mean Huawei no longer has access to many of the components it needs, and the company stopped manufacturing Kirin chips last month.
It's a big loss for the company. Kirin has been the secret sauce allowing Huawei to get ahead of the competition -- particularly setting it apart from rival upstarts from within China. Boosting everything from speed to camera performance, the chip is responsible for many of the things CNET has praised Huawei phones for over the years in our. Two years ago, Huawei touted that an older version of its .
Sick of Camera Bumps, How 'Bout a Camera Ring?
Right now it’s not a stretch to say that a lot of mainstream phones end up sporting very similar glass brick designs, but with Huawei’s new flagship phones—the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro—the company ditched the familiar camera bump for a head-turning “Space Ring.” © Image: Huawei As you’d expect from a company that’s vying with Apple and Samsung for smartphone supremacy, the Mate 40 comes with a boatload of premium features including 3D face recognition, an in-display fingerprint sensor, a 6.76-inch 90Hz OLED display that wraps around the edges of the phone, and one of Huawei’s 5G-capable Kirin 9000 processors.
During a phone briefing this week, Huawei declined to answer any questions about what the loss of Kirin would mean for phones beyond the Mate 40. But without clarity on what post-Kirin Huawei phones might look like, it's hard not to see the Mate 40 as the last of its kind.
"It is a tragedy to see Huawei's difficulties in its smartphone division," said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. "Having once been close to challenging Samsung as the market leader for mobile phones, the division is now fighting for survival as it finds it increasingly difficult to get components and its brand is eroded."
For now the company is still the No. 2 phone maker in the world, and the newest addition to the Mate line, which has always been especially popular in China, could help buoy its sales for the next six months or so.
But while this might buy it some time, there's a huge question mark over what's next for Huawei phones. If analyst predictions are correct, the company might need to brace itself for a tumble down the global rankings. One report, from Digitimes Research in Taipei, hasby April 2021.
"Outside of China there is a real risk that the Huawei Mate 40 family of devices could be the company's last hurrah in smartphones," said Wood.
Huawei has a hidden advantage in its push for global dominance. Now the U.S. is trying to counter it. .
USAID announced a new financing plan to help countries buy from other telecom vendors. Early analysis suggests the incoming Biden administration may continue to see Huawei’s growing dominance as a security threat. While offering U.S.-backed loans to compete with Huawei marks a significant change in how Washington aims to push against Huawei’s success, there’s more to the company’s global reach than Chinese state-backed export loans. Beijing’s domestic support and influence in international organizations also help Huawei gain a competitive advantage.