Huawei is saying ‘no’ to development of televisions, sidestepping the need to develop tuners and focusing instead on smart displays supported by 5G, AI and IoT technologies, according to unspecified sources in the Taiwan semiconductor supply chain. Because development of the tuners is difficult due to the differences between frequencies and channels used in various countries such as Europe and the US, the company has effectively decided to focus on multimedia instead.
The company is also said to be developing all of its own chips via its component subsidiary HiSilicon Technologies — also responsible for the Kirin series of AI-enabled mobile SoCs. Simultaneously, although the TV and multimedia chips will be 'developed' by that company, the sources point out that they'll be built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
The hardware will lean heavily toward use with interconnected IoT features and media streaming from movies to music, the sources claim.
No TVs … instead, we're building – TVs! Wait, what?
No details have been provided by the insider sources with regard to exactly what size and scale these new smart displays will be produced at. The description of the components included and the use cases described by the sources only seem to exacerbate matters further, especially with consideration for previous reports regarding Huawei televisions. Namely, less than a week ago, an executive from within Huawei’s TV supply chain revealed the company would be launching its "TVs" as earlier as April.
That, for all intents and purposes, seems to ultimately stack up and equate to the inevitable launch of smart televisions from the company. The key difference here would be that they simply don’t include television tuners for catching live broadcasts in the traditional sense.
It's an approach that's been taken by some OEMs before, notably with the VIZIO brand among others. Huawei may also plan to release smaller smart displays that are closer in functionality to Google’s Home Hub planned and that might be confusing the issue.
Conflict and Huawei's ongoing struggle
Another interesting note here is that insiders seem to believe that Huawei was initially concerned with getting the frequencies and channels used within the US accurately tuned before abandoning the idea of including tuner technology. Earlier sources noted that at least some of the smart displays or smart multimedia-focused televisions slated for April would be shipping with cameras on board.
Since the not-a-television tech would be multimedia and IoT-based, the cameras would presumably be used for live broadcasting, video chats, and similar features. Those could also be utilized for gesture controls and similar smart features.
Given Huawei's long-standing battle with the US government and the resulting negative impact on the perception of its brand in the region, that's an interesting decision for the company to make. The Chinese tech giant has been in and out of the news, with its brand associated with everything from the latest in AI chip design to spy film levels of intrigue and conspiracy.
With Huawei set to kick off new flagships today and possibly provide further details about these incoming smart displays as well since their rumored launch is approaching, it shouldn't be too much longer before confusion around the gadgets is cleared away.