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HUAWEI confirms Mate 40 on the way, will be last Kirin chipset smartphone

The US ban on HUAWEI prevents the company from manufacturing the chips. It is unclear what it will use instead.

Published onAugust 7, 2020

HUAWEI Logo Mate 30 Pro version 2
  • HUAWEI confirmed that the expected HUAWEI Mate 40 smartphone series is definitely on the way.
  • However, the company also confirmed that the Mate 40 series will be the last to feature its own Kirin chipset.
  • A HUAWEI executive said losing its Kirin chipset business is “a very big loss,” but confirmed HUAWEI will press on.

Today, HUAWEI officially confirmed that the HUAWEI Mate 40 smartphone series is on the way (via IT Home). While this isn’t too surprising, the company did surprise us with another confirmation: the Mate 40 series will be the last to feature its homegrown Kirin chipset.

In a speech, HUAWEI’s consumer business CEO Yu Chengdong said that its line of Kirin chipsets “cannot be manufactured” after September 15, 2020. That is when the United States ban on HUAWEI working with US-based firms will take permanent effect.

HUAWEI Mate 40: The last of its kind?

Huawei’s chipsets are manufactured by TSMC which uses equipment sourced from the US. The rules related to the so-called Entity List instituted by the Trump administration state that any foreign chipset manufacturer needs to get a license to sell to HUAWEI. Recently, TSMC confirmed it will no longer sell chips to HUAWEI, which must mean it could not get a license.

More on the Kirin ban: Can HUAWEI survive without its custom Kirin chips?

While HUAWEI’s Kirin chipsets are by no means the best on the market, they certainly aren’t the worst, either. It will be a shame to see the company’s massive progress in that arena cut short.

It will also be interesting to see how the company moves forward. With the HUAWEI Mate 40 now the last to feature a Kirin chipset, HUAWEI will need to source processors from other companies. With the US ban in place, that list will be quite short. Previous rumors suggested MediaTek might be in the running, which would make sense considering HONOR already is using that brand’s products in its phones.

Oh, and what about Harmony OS?


Chengdong also referenced Harmony OS during his speech related to this news. He confirmed that all HUAWEI IoT products — including PCs, tablets, and yes, even mobile phones — will be based on Harmony OS rather than Android. Once again, this isn’t too surprising as the US ban also prevents HUAWEI from using Google’s apps and services, which are practically essential for Android to work as consumers expect.

However, Chengdong did not give a specific timeline for this change. We fully expect the HUAWEI Mate 40 series to still run Android, though. It’s possible that 2021 smartphones from the company could be the first to come with Harmony OS instead of EMUI-based Android, although that’s just speculation at this point.