Monday, 02 December 2019 10:13

Huawei using non-US chips in latest smartphones: report Featured

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Huawei using non-US chips in latest smartphones: report Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Faced with a lack of American parts for assembling its smartphones, the Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies has now started building its devices with components sourced elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal reported that analysis by UBS and Japanese technology firm Fomalhaut Techno Solutions found that Huawei's latest phones — the Mate 30 — had no US parts.

The Trump administration placed Huawei and 68 of its affiliates on its Entity List on 16 May, meaning that the company would have to seek permission to purchase any American components it needed to manufacture its products.

This came after many years of accusations that Huawei posed a danger to the US because the Chinese Government could use its technology as a means of spying.

On 21 May, the US Commerce Department eased some of the restrictions until August, allowing Huawei to maintain and update existing networks and handsets. The company has since been granted two more extensions.

The ban applies to US-based companies and the report said that since May, Huawei had added a number of non-US suppliers and used components from companies based in other countries.

The Fomalhaut analysis showed that Huawei had cut down its reliance on American suppliers in smartphones launched after May, including the Y9 Prime and Mate devices.

For example, the Mate devices contained chips made by Holland's NXP Semiconductors as replacements for those made by US firm Cirrus Logic.

A Huawei spokesperson was quoted as saying that while the company preferred to buy from US supply partners, "If that proves impossible because of the decisions of the US Government, we will have no choice but to find alternative supply from non-US sources.”

The company's John Suffolk, the head of cyber security, told the WSJ that it was now able to produce its 5G base stations without using US components.

But the Chinese firm is yet to find a suitable replacement for Google's Android operating system that it was using on its smartphones. The Mate 30 launched without Google's Maps, Gmail and other proprietary apps.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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