- Huawei’s placement on the US government’s trade blacklist will likely require the Chinese tech giant to rethink the way it develops key products across its smartphone, laptop, and wearable lines.
- Since the US government added Huawei to the list, companies such as Google, Qualcomm, and Intel have suspended business with the Chinese company.
- Here’s a look at the Huawei product lines that could be affected.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The US government recently placed the Chinese tech behemoth Huawei on a trade blacklist, a move that could require the second-largest smartphone maker to rethink everything from the way it designs its chips to the software that powers its line of smartphones and tablets.
Under the new requirements, US companies must obtain government permission before conducting business with Huawei. Following the announcement, a slew of technology companies have said they were suspending business with the company. These companies include Google, which operates the popular mobile operating system Android, as well as the chipmakers Qualcomm and Intel, according to Bloomberg.
Huawei has since downplayed the potential ramifications of these sanctions and severed ties. The company’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei recently said that he expects the company’s growth to slow only slightly when speaking with Nikkei Asian Review. Huawei has also said that it’s been working on its own mobile operating system to replace Android, and the company already develops its own Kirin mobile processors.
Those processors, however, rely heavily on designs from the UK-based Arm, which recently said it has suspended business with the tech giant. The company is also said to have stockpiled enough chips to last for three months as it designs its own chips, according to Bloomberg.
The government has since given Huawei a 90-day reprieve to continue maintaining its current products, but it’s unclear how its product line will change after that window closes.
Huawei may be best known for its line of smartphones, but the company makes a wide variety of products, including laptops and smartwatches.
Not every company or supplier mentioned below has said it would stop working with Huawei. In fact, many of them have not spoken publicly about how their business would change, if at all, given the new government requirements. But the list below demonstrates how large of a role US tech firms play in the development and production of Huawei’s gadgets.
Perhaps the most obvious product line that could be affected by Huawei’s placement on the US trade blacklist is its smartphones. Popular Huawei smartphone models such as the P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro were built using a variety of components from US tech companies.
The P30 Pro, for example, uses flash storage from Micron, according to iFixit, which was founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978. It also uses front-end modules from the Massachusetts-based Skyworks Solutions and the California-based Qorvo. The company’s popular Mate 20 Pro smartphone also includes Skyworks modules and a wireless power receiver from IDT, according to iFixit, which is also headquartered in California.
The supplier Lumentum also said it has stopped shipping parts to Huawei, according to Reuters. It’s unclear precisely how Lumentum’s components are used in Huawei’s phones, but the components maker said that Huawei was responsible for 18% of its revenue in its last reported quarter. Lumentum is also a supplier for Apple’s Face ID facial-recognition technology, so it’s possible that its parts have been used to power the facial-recognition features on phones such as the Mate 20.
But those are some of the more granular ways in which Huawei’s phones could be affected by the new requirements. Of course, Google’s revocation of Huawei’s Android licence means Huawei can no longer use the company’s widely popular software. And designs from Arm, which recently told employees to stop working with Huawei, play a big role in Huawei’s line of Kirin chips that power its smartphones and tablets. (However, because firms usually licence technology from Arm, it’s possible that Huawei has years’ worth of licenses stored for future use.)
The New York-based Corning’s Gorilla Glass can also be found on a wide variety of Huawei smartphones, including its Mate 20 Pro and its less expensive Honour V8, according to the glass maker.
Huawei works with many US-based companies on its laptop line as well.
Laptops such as the MateBook X and MateBook 13 run on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Like many other US companies that work with Huawei, Microsoft has not made any public statements about its relationship with Huawei since the company was blacklisted. But it did recently remove Huawei’s laptops from its online store.
Intel, a key supplier of chips for Huawei’s laptops, has also told employees that it would not supply Huawei until further notice, according to Bloomberg. Intel’s chips power a variety of Huawei laptops, including the MateBook 13, MateBook X Pro, MateBook X, and MateBook E.
Certain models, such as the MateBook 13 and the MateBook X Pro, also include an option for graphics powered by Nvidia, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.
Corning’s Gorilla Glass can also be found on laptop models such as the MateBook X Pro, MateBook 13, MateBook 14, and MateBook X, according to the company.
Huawei also sells a variety of tablets in different sizes and price points. There’s the MediaPad M5 line, which comes in 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch sizes, in addition to a cheaper “lite” model, as well as its T-series of MediaPad tablets.
But these slates run on Android, which means Huawei may have to use an alternative operating system for future MediaPad products. They also all run on Huawei’s Kirin chipsets, which are based on Arm’s underlying technology. While the company could continue manufacturing existing Arm-based chips, the ban may prevent it from using the company’s designs in new chips moving forward, according to the BBC.
Like many consumer tech giants, Huawei also has a stake in the wearables market – the company sells a variety of smartwatches, fitness trackers, and sports watches.
Some of these products use components from US-based companies as well. The company’s TalkBand B3 fitness tracker uses Corning Gorilla Glass, according to Corning’s website, as does the Huawei Fit, according to the Chinese company’s US product page.
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