This could be why Huawei has been more innovative than Apple

This could be why Huawei has been more innovative than Apple
Despite being considered a national security threat in the U.S., Huawei remains the largest supplier of networking equipment in the world. In the U.S., Australia, Japan and New Zealand, wireless providers are not allowed to use the company's gear for building out their 5G networks. That's because the company could be forced to gather intelligence (in other words, spy) on behalf of the communist Chinese government if requested to do so.

With countries making up 40% of global GDP fine with their carriers employing Huawei's networking equipment for the next generation of wireless connectivity, the company is spending big bucks on research & development (R&D). According to Bloomberg, Huawei spent $15.3 billion on research last year, twice the amount it coughed up five years ago. Among the top ten companies in the world based on R&D spending, only one has committed cash for this type of spending at a faster pace than Huawei. That would be Amazon. Huawei's research budget rose 149% from 2014 while Amazon's rose 210% over the same time period.

In fact, Huawei was the fourth largest company in terms of R&D last year, trailing only Amazon ($28.8 billion), Google parent Alphabet ($21.4 billion) and Samsung ($16.7 billion). Apple was seventh on the list after spending $14.2 billion in 2018. Looking at it another way, Huawei spent 14% of its revenue last year on research, second to the 16% of gross spent by Alphabet. Samsung's R&D spending in 2018 equaled 8% of its top line figure, and for Apple it was 5%.

Heavy spending on R&D leads to innovations


Some of these figures could explain why Huawei is expected to become the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world by next year; last year it shipped over 200 million handsets placing it third behind Samsung and Apple. Fueled by its heavy spending on research, the company has had some innovations that other smartphone companies have copied. For example, the Huawei P20 Pro was the first phone to sport a triple camera setup (since surpassed by the five cameras on the back of the Nokia 9 PureView), and the Mate 20 Pro carried a Reverse Wireless Charging feature that allowed the phone to be used like a wireless charging pad. This is something Samsung copied for the new Galaxy S10 line (it's called PowerShare) and the 2019 Apple iPhone models (possibly the OLED units only) are expected to offer the same feature. And perhaps not as important as other smartphone features, when Huawei introduced gradient finishes for its P20 line last year, other manufacturers quickly offered their new models with the same look.

Sometimes though, trying to be too innovative backfires. The P30 Pro includes an AI-driven feature called Moon Mode designed to allow users to shoot close up pictures of the moon using the P30 Pro's hybrid zooming capabilities. However, a researcher recently alleged that the phone adds images from previously published photographs of the moon to fill in areas that did not come out in a user's snapshot. Which only proves that if a company spending a lot of money on R&D shoots for the moon, some times it will fall short.

That Huawei is playing a huge role in the creation of 5G networks in so many countries upsets the U.S. government. The faster data speeds that 5G provides will help stimulate many economies and create new businesses and services that we can't even think about right now, including the use of driverless cars. The company denies putting any type of back door into its gear that could send information to the communist government. And while that might be true, another huge concern is that once 5G becomes widespread, Huawei could shut all of these networks down at the direction of Beijing.

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28 Comments

1. User123456789

Posts: 549; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I wonder how they spend the R&D money for phones. The sensor RYYB is a creation of Sony. Periscope style is from a company based in Israel that was already working with Oppo much longer. Samsung Gran Prime has night mode ( poor quality and artificial results, but it is there) ...

2. alanrock

Posts: 258; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

that sensor is Huawei / Leica design, not Sony.

3. QuantumRazer

Posts: 31; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

Not exactly Leica design.. it's a custom sensor developed by Huawei and manufactured by Sony. Just like iPhone's display is designed by Apple but Samsung is the one who makes it(hence the different polariser design and resolution from Samsung's regular AMOLED display).

18. User123456789

Posts: 549; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

It is not like CPU that you draw and somebody else makes. Apple designs the screen? LMAO ...

24. oldskool50

Posts: 711; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

No it is not the same. Apple does not design Samsung's displays. That is a complete and total false statement. Samsung makes displays. When Apple buys a display, Samsung sells them one based on what display matches the spec that Apple is looking for. Apple has never designed Samsung's display. Apple does not design Sony's camera sensors. Apple provides a spec and the OEM provides the component that best matches the spec. Most OEM's have to do a custom component build, in order to fit the spec that Apple requires. But Apple does not design any component made by a 3rd party. That has always been completely false.\ Apple did not design the display in the iPhone X or XS they got from Samsung. In fact, it was shown that the iPhone X display, was a slightly updated version of the one in the Galaxy S8. Same display, that adjusted resolution and spec to fit the iPhone design. The design of the display is 100% Samsung.

26. geordie8t1

Posts: 274; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

apple didnt make their own screen at all that is a flat out LIE, samsung made it and apple calibrated it, apple are currently working on their own display tech called microled i think, but they DID NOT build their own display, stop talking rubbish

13. Nevita

Posts: 39; Member since: Sep 01, 2018

If from Sony, the four sensors are from Sony, Leica just put their name, that is why Leica has been always doing even before their partnership with Huawei, its not the first time, Nor will it be the last time that Leica puts its name on any product.

15. c.m.s

Posts: 217; Member since: Dec 10, 2017

According to who? Teardowns has shown its using Sony sensors, which is natural since they design and manufacture most image sensors.

17. User123456789

Posts: 549; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

How can you design a sensor when you do not have Imaging Division? Leica cameras use Sony sensors. Not even Canon today makes good sensors but you say Huawei can do without expertise of camera business that other companies have for decades.

20. alanrock

Posts: 258; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

made by Sony exclusively for Huawei , there must be some kind of input from Huawei side about that RYYB color filter , doesn't it ? ...

28. luihinwai

Posts: 1; Member since: May 04, 2019

It isn't that hard to design the physical RYYB sensor, you basically just change the color of the filter from green to Yellow. Whats hard is to develop the image processing algorithm that works on RYB, when all the existing algorithms work on RGB channels. And these algorithms are developed by Huawei and processed on the Kirin 980.

4. jjface

Posts: 210; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

Money helps but Huawei are more willing to take risks. They are actually interested in outdoing the competition and bring ing new tech to the market. And android manufacturers have greater competition to deal with amongst themselves. Apple has cruised for long enough and it is time for something special not some ugly 3 eyed monster.

6. Vogue1985

Posts: 383; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Huawei was the underdog and they know not to underestimate anyone,which is what Samsung has bee. Doing for years ,but Huawei takes it to another level with Sub Brands like Honor etc. Apple,is kinda in lala.learn from Blackberry,once one of the Best and richest,still relevant but not a giant.

5. Guseinguliev

Posts: 90; Member since: Mar 04, 2019

In recent years, Samsung has been releasing a lot of unfinished smartphones, and it seems to me that if this continues this way, as a result, Huawei will take its place. and Apple is another world.

7. Vogue1985

Posts: 383; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Samsung has really upped their mid-range phone last past year to compete with the like of Huawei Honor Brand and Motorola Nokia which are very affordable and sell well in emerging markets,with much younger Larger population who don't have iPhone Xs max/Huawei P Mate or Samsung S10 money . The next 5 is years unless Apple changes expect the gap wide, especially as those markets were Apple has no presence became richer

8. d1g1te

Posts: 57; Member since: Oct 04, 2016

Interesting article. Samsung and Apple should learn and spend more of their budget on R&D. Research that yeelds results is always good. As it moves all people on our planet forward.

9. Whitedot

Posts: 719; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

That's because they know where and how to spend R&D money. Not only Huawei but Xiaomi, Oppo are far more creative than a apple. It only proves saying "rest on the laurels". Far too many OEM's nearly or got broken for that reason. Apple os not exception.

19. User123456789

Posts: 549; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Xiaomi? I wonder why Mi Mix 1 and Mi Mix 3 are copy of Sharp Crystal and Honor Magic 2.

22. Whitedot

Posts: 719; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Win for all. These days most of the phones look alike.

10. iloveapps

Posts: 521; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Fact is that they added new features but its not perfect yet. Something has to do to make it more useful and not just gimmick. Apple is playing safe, putting more features in its phones where it has been present to android and making it fresh to all new users. Most apple fans don’t look to what android is offering. Only tech geeks and android die hard fans knows. Apple with its new products will be great in more years to come, ecosystem is the best of all, excellent services and great and quality products.

23. iushnt

Posts: 3060; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Be happy for companies like Huawei who take risks and perfect a feature so that some safe layers like Apple can provide its users in the future.

11. meanestgenius

Posts: 21453; Member since: May 28, 2014

So much for those that said Huawei doesn't spend any real money on R&D. This article certainly proves them wrong .

12. LEEDAQ

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 07, 2018

don't know about that

14. Habib111

Posts: 34; Member since: Feb 12, 2019

Democracy is weakened Infront of the communist. I think everything has its own limits even it's in the form of a thought or theory. I mean who would have thought that a communist nation will be in domination of world market. Well it looks like capitalism destroyed itself or it's a bull s**t of politics who thinks of itself rather than people

21. rossy

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 23, 2013

Oh boy, China is politically Communist but economically a mix of capitalist and state-run enterprises. The former are thriving including Huawei, the latter are barely surviving with state subsidies. State planned ghostowns waste billions. Capitalist economy is the only reason why China is #2 economy today.

16. japkoslav

Posts: 1424; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Huawei is certainly more creative, reason is simple they are not afraid to try. If the F-it up, they will fix it in new revision or they will release a new phone 6 months later anyway.

25. oldskool50

Posts: 711; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Anyone who spends more money on R&D than Apple, will be more innovative. This should go without saying. But thanks for writing yet another confirmation article, on how far behind Apple is on everyone else.

27. geordie8t1

Posts: 274; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

Huawei are more innovative because they have the eye for the top, apple have stagnated YEARS ago, look at all those product recycles of years gone by, iphone 4/s/5/s/SE, ipad mini 1/2/3/4/5, imac, macbook pros, apple TV, ipads, what else have they refreshed over the past decade? they are stale and boring, their only selling point is their OS which is perfect for kids and basic users galore, and that is fine, but boy is it a dull experience, rehashing old products over and over and selling them as the next best thing, laughable, at least most of the android manufacturers are trying new things and designs, its a competative market, appl isnt a competative market, if IOS was licenced out to droids to be more open sourced those boring overpriced iphones would be relegated in a second

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