Huawei has confirmed the Mate 40 is coming, but also noted that the smartphone would be the last to use its in-house Kirin processors.
IT Home (via Android Authority) reports that Huawei’s consumer business CEO Yu Chengdong spoke about the device in a speech. Chengdong noted that Huawei could no longer manufacture Kirin chipsets on September 15th, 2020. That’s when the U.S. ban on Huawei will take permanent effect. Interestingly, it’s also a few days before new U.S. TikTok ban comes into effect.
The ban prevents companies that use U.S. equipment from selling to Huawei without a special licence. TSMC manufactures Huawei’s Kirin chips using U.S. equipment. The company recently said it would stop selling chipsets to Huawei, which likely means TSMC did not obtain a licence.
Further, the ban severely limits which companies Huawei can turn to for chips. MediaTek comes as the obvious choice, considering Huawei’s sub-brand Honor uses MediaTek.
Chengdong also referred to Huawei’s Harmony OS, confirming that all Huawei IoT products, including PCs, tablets and phones, will use Harmony OS instead of Android. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the U.S. ban also prevents Huawei from using Google apps and services.
While Android in and of itself is open-source and free to use, Google’s services form an important backbone of functionality. Most don’t realize just how deep Google’s roots go into Android. Play Services includes essential, OS-level infrastructure. Google’s services also include the Play Store, all the Google apps and more (things most people rely on). Many apps even rely on Firebase, a Google service, for managing and pushing notifications to users.
Suffice it to say that without Google services, it’d be difficult for Huawei to continue using Android as many apps wouldn’t work at all, or would lack important functionality.
Chengdong didn’t lay out a timeline for the change. Likely, the Mate 40 will still run Android, and we’ll see the first Harmony OS devices in 2021.