Sunday, 21 June 2020 06:36

Huawei delaying next Mate release until it sorts out chip issues: report Featured

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Huawei delaying next Mate release until it sorts out chip issues: report Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies has informed some of its suppliers to hold off on production for its next flagship device following fresh US moves to crack down on the company and disrupt its access to semiconductors.

The Nikkei Asian Review reported that the Chinese firm, which ranks second in smartphone shipments right now, had told suppliers to stop making components for its next Mate device.

Huawei normally releases a Mate smartphone to coincide with Apple's release of a new iPhone in the latter part of the year. This device is normally made with the latest tech available, using chips designed by its own unit, HiSilicon.

But there are now worries over the continued supply of advanced semiconductors following moves by Washington to block Huawei's access to advanced semiconductors.

If the Shenzhen-based company changes its suppliers, then there will be design changes in mechanical parts of the phone, hence the decision to put production on hold.

There have been reports that South Korean giant Samsung Electronics, currently the top smartphone seller globally, is considering deal with Huawei whereby it would help the Chinese firm obtain its requirement of advanced semiconductors in exchange for Huawei ceding a part of its smartphone market share to Samsung.

Last month, the US announced that it would be making changes to its Foreign Direct Product Rule. Under the terms of this rule, companies, no matter their origins or where they are based, will need a licence to sell products made using American technology or machinery to Huawei.

The Huawei decision to delay production is being interpreted as a move to balance this year's production against next year's demand.

The Nikkei report said a delay of a couple of months was expected in production of the next Mate device, until Huawei sorted out arrangements to ensure a steady supply of semiconductors.

The company's smartphone sales in Europe have already taken a big hit due to its being unable to use the proprietary version of Google's Android mobile operating system which includes YouTube, Maps, Drive and Gmail.

The ban on using this version of Android was part of the fallout of the first set of sanctions imposed on Huawei in May last year. Instead, it is now forced to use the open-source version of Android and try to make up for the missing apps with its own substitutes.

The US is involved in a multi-year effort to force countries it considers allies not to use 5G equipment from Huawei in their networks. Only Australia and Vietnam have said openly that they would follow the American lead.

Japan, South Korea and Poland have indicated they toe the US line, but public pronouncements are yet to be made.

The UK announced in January it would allow Huawei to supply up to a third of equipment for non-core parts of its 5G networks but has more recently twice changed stance, once saying it would remove Huawei gear completely by 2023 and later saying it would block the use of such equipment after 2023. The change of stance came following US pressure as the UK seeks to negotiate a trade deal with Washington.

More recently, India, the UAE and Cambodia have said they would allow Huawei to participate in 5G trials. But New Delhi may change its stance after its soldiers clashed with Chinese troops on the border on 15 June.

iTWire has contacted Huawei for comment,


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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