Will the Mate 40 Pro be the last Huawei phone of its kind?

Huawei Mate 40 series was launch on October 22, together with the latest chip Kirin 9000.

It is worth noting that with the Huawei-US ban in effect, this may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer division admitted that: "For Huawei nowadays, we are in a very difficult time. But no matter how difficult the situation, Huawei is committed to continue to launch technological innovation, bringing the best technology and innovation to consumers."

For the Mate 40 series, Huawei has upgraded its terminal cloud service (HMS) again. Meanwhile, it has also launched applications such as search engines, maps, office and other applications for overseas. In this context, can Huawei regain its overseas market?

 

New flagship Mate 40 series was unveiled to against Apple

Just a few days ago, Apple has also officially unveiled its first 5G phone, the iPhone 12 series, through an online launch event.

This year's iPhone 12 series includes four models: iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The price of iPhone 12 mini starts at $699.

From Apple's strategy, all four products have been upgraded with 5G, which is a choice against the backdrop of higher penetration of 5G phones in China and around the world. From the Chinese market, according to ICTI data, in September 2020, the domestic market 5G mobile phone shipments of 13.99 million units, accounting for 60.0% of the mobile phone shipments in the same period; and from January to September 2020, the domestic market 5G mobile phone shipments totaled 108 million units.

Meanwhile Apple hopes to further capture the mid-range market with the iPhone 12 mini, which is also the price range of the flagship models of Android phones, including Huawei.

The Mate 40 series from Huawei also includes four handsets: the Mate 40, Mate 40 Pro, Mate 40 Pro+, and the premium Porsche-designed Mate 40 RS. However, in terms of price, Huawei's Mate40 series has a slightly higher global starting price than the iPhone 12 series.

During the press conference, Richard Yu also made several comparisons between the Mate 40 series and the iPhone 12 series. For example, Apple has just launched the first generation of 5G phones, while Huawei has already launched the third generation.

One of the major upgrades to the Mate 40 series is the camera, which is the focus of the iPhone 12 series.The main lens of the Mate 40 series are all 50 megapixels, 1/2.8-inch large sensor. The Mate40 Pro+ features a rear-facing five-camera design that supports up to 100x digital zoom, making it the most powerful Mate series. The Mate40 Pro+ also comes with a 20-megapixel curved lens that Huawei says solves the photo distortion problem.

In DXOMark's latest list, the Mate 40 Pro received an overall score of 136, beating the No. 1 ranked Xiaomi Mi 10; the iPhone 12 series' score has yet to be released. 

 

Huawei Kirin high-end chips may become the last generation

In addition to the phones, another highlight of the conference was Huawei's new generation flagship chip, the Kirin 9000.

The Kirin 9000 contains two variants, the Kirin 9000 and Kirin 9000E. Kirin 9000E is powered by the Mate 40, while the Mate 40 Pro and Mate 40 Pro+ are powered by the Kirin 9000.

The Kirin 9000 chip integrated 15.3 billion transistors, octa-core CPU, up to 3.13 GHz, 24-core Mali-G78 GPU, dual-core + micro-core NPU architecture. The difference between Kirin 9000 and Kirin 9000E is mainly in the GPU and NPU. As for the GPU, the Kirin 9000 is a 24-core Mali-G78 while the Kirin 9000E is a 22-core Mali-G78. In terms of NPU, the Kirin 9000 is a 3-core (dual large-cores and small-cores), and the Kirin 9000E is a dual-core (one large core and one small core).

Although Richard Yu claimed that the Kirin 9000 chip surpasses rivals such as the Snapdragon 865 and Apple A14 in several parameters, it may be the last generation of Huawei's self-developed flagship chip.

At a public event in August this year, Richard Yu personally admitted to the outside world, under multiple rounds of U.S. sanctions, Huawei Kirin 9000 chip only to accept orders before September 15, so the Kirin high-end chip will be the last Huawei phone of its kind.

Industry sources say that the Kirin 9000 is expected to be stocked at around 10 million pieces, which also means that there are about 10 million units of Huawei Mate 40 series phones that can use this chip.

If you look at the sales of the previous generation Mate 30 series, Huawei Mate 30 series listed two months shipments of more than 7 million units, when the end of the year shipments of more than 10 million. At this rate, the Kirin 9000 stockpile is only enough to support the Huawei Mate 40 series supply until the end of the year.

Due to limited chip inventory, there have also been many rumors that Huawei in talks to sell parts of its Honor smartphone business.

 

Can Huawei regain its overseas market?

In addition to the hardware, the Mate 40 series also comes with HMS and EMUI 11, which can be upgraded across the range.

HMS is arguably a key part of Huawei's response to the lack of GMS overseas. Huawei is launching several new HMS apps for overseas users, including the universal search engine Petal Search, the mapping app Petal Maps, and the office app HUAWEI Docs.

Among them, Petal Search now is available in over 170 countries and regions and supports over 50 languages, letting users conveniently and instantly find out the information and services they need. Petal Maps, meanwhile, is Huawei's quality and convenient mapping and navigational tool, offering positioning services, immersive map displays, place searches, driving navigation and favorite place lists to users in over 140 countries and regions. Petal Maps supports map displays in multiple languages, with voice notifications in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Mandarin.

Huawei has also launched its own office application, Huawei Docs, which is available in more than 100 countries and regions, supports document viewing and editing across over 50 formats including PDF, PPT, and DOC. 

According to data announced by Yu at the press conference, Huawei's app market has gathered 2 million developers worldwide and has more than 500 million monthly active users; the number of monthly active users of the fast app has increased 260% year-on-year.
According to data released by Richard Yu at the conference, Huawei's app market has gathered 2 million developers worldwide, with more than 500 million monthly active users; the number of monthly active users of Quick app has increased 260 percent year-on-year.

In fact, the HMS upgrade is crucial for Huawei's European market. Huawei's overseas markets, including Europe, have seen a sharp decline since 2019 when Huawei phones could not be built with Google's GMS service.

According to official Huawei data, global shipments of Huawei phones were 105 million units in the first half of this year, down 11 percent from 118 million units in the first half of 2019.

With chips out of supply and HMS replacing GMS still on the way, the subsequent performance of Huawei's phones in overseas markets is not optimistic. Competitors including Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are already fighting back.

The European market is becoming the focus of competition. Xiaomi Chairman and CEO Lei Jun said in a recent interview that Xiaomi will be steadfastly globalized, the goal is to rank No. 1 in Europe in the next few years; Oppo set up its Western European headquarters in Germany in May this year, and recently entered into a strategic partnership with European telecom operator Deutsche Telekom; Vivo also recently officially announced its entry into European countries, including Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

From the current situation, in the short term, to solve the problem of chip supply, Huawei can only hope that Qualcomm, MediaTek and other suppliers to apply for a license to the United States; and in the long term, it needs a joint attack on the domestic chip industry, to solve the problems of chip production and manufacturing.

To get out of the current predicament, Huawei still need to wait for a turnaround.

This is an article from Sina, written by Zhang Jun, translated by Chris Yuan.