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August 30, 2023
Embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei quietly launched the Mate 60 Pro in China but has omitted any reference to its application and baseband processors from the published spec sheet.
We’re not aware of any press releases on the matter, even in Chinese, let alone a launch event. Nonetheless you can find out all about this new device on the Chinese version of Huawei’s consumer-focused site. Well, not quite all. Conspicuous by its absence in the spec sheet is any mention of either the processor or network support. In contrast, the spec sheet for the P60 Pro goes into exhaustive detail on those matters.
Radio Free Mobile speculates that the main reason for the omissions was to disguise the fact that the phone doesn’t support 5G connectivity. Meanwhile Reuters reports that Chinese chip stocks have rallied on the hope that Huawei has managed to make a competitive phone entirely using domestic semiconductor resources.
US sanctions against Huawei have prevented it from buying chips from the likes of Qualcomm or Mediatek, or even getting its own Kirin chips manufactured by non-Chinese foundries. So it seems likely that Huawei has turned to SMIC to make its Kirin chips, but that would mean they were manufactured on much older processes than offered by, for example, TSMC, thus making the device underpowered. And, to the best of our knowledge, there are no Chinese 5G modem makers either.
Huawei Central has got hold of evidence that the Mate 60 Pro does indeed sport a Kirin 9000s chip but we haven’t seen anything that sheds light on the modem situation. Nonetheless, some in China are treating this as a significant act of defiance. It feels like the launch of the Mate 60 Pro is more of a symbolic gesture than a serious commercial initiative, but even that’s probably enough to trouble US China hawks.
As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno
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