Huawei may need to delay the production of its Mate 40 series flagships due to US sanctions. That’s according to reports out of the company’s home region citing unnamed insider sources. The postponement stems from the fact that Huawei is being forced, sources say, to reexamine its inventory. In particular, Huawei is uncertain it will have enough in-house HiSilicon Kirin chipsets.
It’s also been forced to verify its other mobile platforms built by MediaTek and Qualcomm. And that could be the real sticking point here. Those are two companies the Chinese smartphone giant can no longer rely on due to restrictions. If the verification of those platforms it does have forces design changes that will delay the launch.
The sources indicate that delay is going to push the release of the Mate 40 series back at least one or two months. For reference, the Huawei Mate 30 series launched in September while the prior entries launched in October. So any delays to the company’s usual end-of-the-year launch could be disastrous. In fact, it potentially pushes the Huawei Mate 40 series into a timeframe anywhere between November of this year and early 2021.
The supply chain for Huawei appears to be crumbling
The latest report, while based on uncited sources, contradicts earlier news about the upcoming flagships.
Now, reports have widely commented on shortcomings in the company’s supply chain. And those aren’t brought about without reason.
Not only does Huawei’s position on the US Entity List prohibit US company’s from working with or supplying the company without a special license. The company has had a reasonable amount of difficulty with partners from its own region as well. In most cases, unsurprisingly, those have stemmed from US sanctions too.
For instance, TSMC won’t be providing any chips made after a predetermined date to the company. And it’s set up shop in the US, working more closely with US companies to offset the losses. Huawei was among TSMC’s most prominent and largest clients. MediaTek and others won’t be supplying chipsets either.
Although Huawei largely builds its own solutions via HiSilicon, that subsidiary is running out of components to work with. As a result, it may be forced to turn to less tried-and-true suppliers in China.
This report conflicts and contradicts
Despite all of those issues and others, Huawei has also been reported to be readying its Mate 40 series without delay. Purported leaks from within the company, shared via the Chinese social media site Weibo, have stated that this phone series will arrive in October.
Perhaps equally pertinent, those reports indicated that the devices would ship with a brand new 5nm Kirin chipset on-board.
HiSilicon’s Kirin chips are arguably some of the best on the market. Especially with regard to AI processing. And tests on the chips have, at times, pinned them as better performers than even Qualcomm’s top-level Snapdragon SoCs. That chipset is therefore integral to the company’s smartphones. So if there’s any disruption in supply that could force delays in shipments, delaying the launch may be the best course of action Huawei can take.