Huawei’s latest flagship phone has HarmonyOS, a Qualcomm SoC, and no 5G

Despite facing down a global chip shortage, a US export ban, and plummeting market share, Huawei is still plowing ahead and announcing its next flagship smartphone, the Huawei P50 Pro. The phone, which was teased back in June, is the company’s first smartphone launching with HarmonyOS, Huawei’s in-house operating system (though it’s just a fork of Android).

Huawei is weathering several storms as best it can, but these storms are leading to a lot of wild product decisions with the P50 Pro. Huawei devices are usually based on the company’s in-house “Kirin” SoCs, made by subsidiary HiSilicon. While the initial versions of the phones will use the 5 nm Kirin 9000 SoC, once the supply on those runs out, Huawei says it will switch to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC. But wait—didn’t the US Government ban companies from exporting US-origin goods to Huawei?

It did, but Qualcomm was granted a license to sell chips to Huawei back in November 2020.

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