Huawei's P40 inside joke trolls America
Is Huawei trying to send a message to the country whose supply chain it is banned from? After all, what can be more American than referencing a Disney movie? According to a tweet from tipster Evan Blass, Huawei has given its upcoming P40 and P40 Pro codenames of Anna and Elsa respectively. If you're not a Disney fan or don't have any kids under 12, these are the sisters who star in Frozen and Frozen 2. Anna is a princess and Elsa is a Queen with the ability to create ice and snow from her fingertips and control it.
The Huawei P40 phones will be the latest "P-Series" handsets created by the world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer. This series focuses on photography and the P40 should have three cameras on the back (primary, ultra-wide and a telephoto with 3x optical zoom). The module on the P40 Pro might carry four cameras (primary, ultra-wide, telephoto with 5x optical zoom, and a Time of Flight sensor). A ceramic-cased premium version of the latter model is expected to feature the aforementioned four cameras and add a Macro camera for extreme closeups.
Commerce Department rule change could hurt Huawei even more
Huawei remains shutout from its U.S. supply chain and things could get worse if the Commerce Department revises the de minimis rule. Under this rule, the U.S. can still impose export controls on a foreign-made product if it contains more than 25% controlled U.S.-origin content by value. But the Trump administration is weighing a change that would lower the threshold from 25% to 10%. At that point, almost any product made overseas with any bit of American content would be under U.S. export control.
Last year's P30 series was the last of Huawei's flagship phones to be equipped with Google Mobile Services and Google Play Service. Since it cannot license the Google version of Android for its new phones, Huawei has been using an open-source version with its own AppGallery storefront. In other words, these devices cannot use Google apps like Search, the PlayStore, Gmail, Maps and more. In China, this doesn't really matter since most Google apps are banned inside the country anyway. Where this does impact the manufacturer is with its international sales outside of China.
The P40 series will be the first to launch with Huawei Mobile Services. CEO Charles Peng says, "We have our own HMS and are trying to build a mobile ecosystem. Most of the key apps such as navigation, payments, gaming and messaging will be ready soon." Huawei is reportedly paying developers as much as $17,000 each to have their apps support HMS. The P40 will launch with an open-source version of Android 10 using Huawei's EMUI interface.
Even though the U.S. and China have signed Phase 1 of a trade deal between the two countries, there hasn't been any talk about removing Huawei from the Commerce Department's entity list. The manufacturer was placed on this list in the middle of May blocking access to the U.S. supply chain it spent $11 billion on in 2018. The U.S. considers Huawei to be a national security threat as American lawmakers fear that its devices contain backdoors that can send intelligence to Beijing. Huawei has denied this allegation repeatedly. It isn't clear whether the U.S. will use the company as a bargaining chip to obtain more favorable terms from China if the trade talks continue. President Donald Trump hinted that this could be the case less than a week after the ban started.
The head of Huawei's consumer unit, Richard Yu, said last month that the P40 and P40 Pro would be unveiled at the end of March. Tipster Blass says that the date will be March 26th.