After U.S. Sanctions, Huawei Starts Selling Smartphones With No Google


Following sanctions imposed by the U.S on sales of American components and technology to the company, which Washington says is a security risk, the Chinese global tech brand Huawei scrambled to preserve its business.

For the Chinese tech giant, the show must go on. With or without Google, the company must continue its profiting smartphone business.

And here, Huawei starts selling its first folding smartphone, the Mate X, without Google apps or U.S.-made processor chips.

The Mate X, which unfolds to 5.8" wide, went on sale Friday on Huawei’s online store in China priced at 16,999 yuan ($2,422). The smartphone competes with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which was launched back in September.

Huawei Mate X
Huawei Mate X

The phone's specifications include:

  • Foldable OLED capacitive touchscreen, with 16 million colors.
  • Resolution of 2200 x 2480 pixels (~414 ppi density).
  • Android 9.0 (Pie); EMUI 9.1.
  • Octa-core (2x2.6 GHz Cortex-A76 & 2x1.92 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A55), and GPU with Mali-G76 MP10.
  • 512GB internal memory, and up to 256GB of external storage.
  • 8GB of RAM.
  • Quad-camera setup: 40MP for main camera, 8MP for telephoto, 16MP for ultrawide, and a ToF 3D camera.
  • Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer.
  • Non-removable 4500mAh battery.
  • Fast charging with 55W, and Huawei SuperCharge.

Donald Trump's administration is lobbying European and other allies to exclude Huawei equipment as they prepare to upgrade to next-generation telecommunication networks.

Huawei denies U.S. accusations the company's products might facilitate Chinese spying. But with the sanctions, the company is severely restricted.

As the number two company behind Samsung Electronics Ltd., Huawei is the biggest maker of network gear for phone carriers. With Mate X selling in the market, Huawei is trying to prove that it's smartphone business can continue even without Google's and the other U.S. companies' help.

For example, the Mate X uses Huawei’s own Kirin 980 and Balong 5000 chipset instead of chips from Qualcomm or others coming from U.S. suppliers. Without Google powering its apps, Huawei's Mate X comes loaded with Chinese alternatives to Google music, maps and other apps.

Huawei Mate X
Huawei Mate X

As for the operating system, the phone relies on the open-source version of Android, customized by Huawei as EMUI 9.

The company can still use the open-source version of Android, but if U.S. sanctions are fully enforced, it will lose access to Google’s popular music and other apps, making it harder to compete with Samsung.

This is where Huawei has a backup plan it calls 'HarmonyOS. First announced back in August, the company said that it can replace Android if necessary.

As thanks for its 90,000 employees and those in chip development as well as others, Huawei said that it would pay bonuses totaling 2 billion yuan ($285 million).

The full 180,000 employees behind the workforce are also getting an extra month’s salary, the company said.