Huawei’s Latest Smartphones, Network Gear are “America-Free”

Posted on December 2, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Hardware, Mobile, Windows 10 with 53 Comments

Here’s one thing the U.S. government might not have considered when it banned Huawei from doing business in the country: The Chinese networking and smartphone giant doesn’t necessarily need the U.S. to thrive. In fact, its latest smartphones and 5G networking equipment are now “America-free.”

According to an analysis by UBS and Fomalhaut Techno Solutions and cited first by The Wall Street Journal, the Huawei Mate 30 series of handsets are made entirely without any U.S. parts, a first. The expectation is that all 2020 Huawei smartphones will be made similarly.

And it’s not just handsets.

“All of our 5G [hardware] is now America-free,” Huawei cybersecurity official John Suffolk told the Journal. “We would like to continue using American components. It’s good for American industry. It’s good for Huawei. That has been taken out of our hands.”

The net result is harmful to U.S. component makers, of course: Huawei is the world leader in the networking hardware market and is number two in smartphones. And this change mirrors the effect of Huawei not using software made by U.S. corporations like Google and Microsoft, a situation these tech giants warned the U.S. government about when it blacklisted Huawei: This action will make the U.S. weaker, not stronger, because Huawei and other Chinese tech firms will no longer rely on products and services that originate here.

What this change signifies, of course, replacing hardware components is simpler than replacing core software platforms like Android and Windows. But it’s only a matter of time before China catches up in the software arena. The clock is ticking.

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