Thanks to the United States, Huawei is no longer the smartphone powerhouse it once was. Just a few years ago, the Chinese manufacturer was on the cusp of becoming the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. But after being enlisted by the US in 2019, it lost access to its US supply chain, preventing it from doing business with some of its key suppliers, including Google.
Exactly a year later that day, a change in US export regulations made things worse for Huawei
because it prevented the company from obtaining advanced chipsets from foundries that use American technology. These new export rules would prevent Huawei from replenishing its stocks of the latest chips after its stock has run out. To prevent this US ban from taking down its Honor subunit, Huawei sold the unit two years ago for more than $15 billion.
Huawei has not been able to produce 5G handsets thanks to the US ban
Unable to get advanced chips with 5G support for its flagship P50 phone released last year Huawei used a 4G-only version of the Snapdragon 888 chipset. That said, it was manufactured using the 5nm process node, meaning the chip contained a large number of transistors, allowing it to deliver strong performance and energy efficiency. The lower the process node, the higher the number of transistors that can fit in a chip.
Tipster publishes wild rumor about chipset to be used on Huawei P60 series
With this in mind, according to Huawei Central
, a tipster posted an interesting rumor on the Chinese social media site Weibo about the next iteration of the photography-based P-series flagship series. The tipster says the 2022 P60 handsets will be powered by a 14nm Kirin 9100 chip. The Kirin chips were designed by Huawei’s HiSilicon unit, and once before the US took the air out of Huawei’s balloon, Huawei was the second largest TSMC customer after Apple.
Despite being produced with a 14nm process node, the tipster adds that the performance of the Kirin 9100 chip will be comparable to that of a 5nm chipset. Huawei has yet to comment on the rumor. We recommend taking this rumor with a grain of salt. There is no way a 14nm chipset can deliver 5nm performance. In comparison, Samsung’s version of the A9 chip used on the 2015 iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus used Samsung’s 14nm process node that contained 2 billion transistors. Compare that to Apple’s current 5nm A15 Bionic, which contains 15 billion transistors.
The rumor also doesn’t mention whether the 14nm Kirin 9100 will support 5G, although that also seems impossible. The only reason we could see Huawei using a 14nm chipset on a new flagship is to regain some control over the production of its own integrated circuits.
Some Mate 50 Pro units are powered by a 4G-only Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset
The latest news is that the Mate 50 series will be unveiled next month. Thanks to the US ban, Huawei has decided instead of releasing two flagships every year (the P series and Mate series), only one flagship phone per year, alternating between the P series and the Mate series. With the P50 released last year, the Mate 50 is expected in 2022 and could be unveiled next month.
The high-end version of the Mate 50 Pro will reportedly be powered by a 4G-only version of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. Other models will feature the only 4G Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, while the Mate 50 RS will carry the Kirin 9000S chip. The series is expected to have Harmony OS 3.0 pre-installed.
Huawei is no longer among the top five global smartphone manufacturers. In 2019, the company shipped 240.6 million phones. The company had one report only 35 million phones shipped last year due to the US ban and Honor sales. That was an 81% year-over-year decline.
Can Huawei make a comeback? It will require the US to pull its hands away from Huawei’s throat, something we don’t see happening in 16 months in a new administration that apparently shares the same views on Huawei as the last.