Huawei rumored to unveil 4G only Mate 50 series on September 7th

With the US restrictions still making life difficult for Huawei, the company has decided to cut back from releasing a pair of flagship models each year (the photographic P series and the technologically advanced Mate series) to only producing one flagship model in a calendar year. Huawei is replacing the P 50 flagship series released last year, leaving the Mate 50 flagship series to ship this year.

Huawei’s 2022 flagship line, the Mate 50, could be introduced on September 7

According to ITHome will introduce the line on September 7. These will be the first Mate phones made by Huawei since 2020’s Mate 40 series. The report says there could be as many as four different variants of the line, including the Huawei Mate 50e, Mate 50, Mate 50 Pro and Mate 50 RS. All three apart from the Mate 50 RS may be powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 9000S.

Huawei does not have enough inventory of its Kirin 9000S chip to cover all four models. That’s because the US changed an export rule in 2020 that prevented foundries that use US technology from sending chips to Huawei. As a result, while the flagship Huawei P50 series used Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset, the component was modified to prevent it from being used with 5G networks.

Last month, we relayed a rumor from a tipster posting on China’s Weibo social media site. First, we considered the speculation about Huawei would use chips produced using the mature 14nm process node for next year’s P60 flagship series to go bonkers. But then it dawned on us that 14nm is the most advanced complex chipset that China’s largest foundry, SMIC, can currently produce.

If Huawei wants to compete in the smartphone market and try to recapture the glory days when it came close to topping Samsung as the world’s largest handset shipper, it will need to offer 5G models eventually. But the Mate 50 series will continue to only support 4G, which is quite ironic considering Huawei’s position as one of the leading providers of telecommunications equipment worldwide means it has worked on more 5G networks than most companies in the field. Still, it is unable to offer 5G support on its latest and greatest phones. What the Mate 50 series will offer is the latest version of Huawei’s homegrown Harmony operating system, version 3.0.

The Chinese manufacturer lost its ability to use the Google Mobile Services (GMS) version of the open source Android OS thanks to action taken by the United States in 2019 that put Huawei on the device list. To be placed on this list for security reasons, Huawei still cannot access its US supply chain, which includes Google and the GMS version of Android.

Goodbye Leica, hello XMAGE

The Mate 50 will feature new features for the rear camera system, and a video of a concept version of the Mate 50 based on previous leaks and rumors reveals an iPhone-style notch on the screen. The Mate 30 series from 2019 was the last of the Mate models to feature a notch on the front display.

The Mate 50 rear camera is branded XMAGE, which is the company’s name for the new photography technologies it will use on its high-end phones. Previously, the company partnered with camera and lens maker Leica to supply the company with optics for its smartphone cameras. That partnership ended and Leica now supplies optics to Chinese phone supplier Xiaomi.

So Huawei will develop its own imaging and optical technologies under the XMAGE brand, which will feature prominently on the rear camera of the Mate 50, if the phone is anything like the concept in the video we embedded in the story.

Huawei is no longer the smartphone powerhouse it once was, but it still has the technological capabilities to innovate, which means we should continue to keep an eye on the phones the company releases.

William

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