If the US lifts the Huawei ban, Samsung and Apple have something to be worried about

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
If the US lifts the Huawei ban, Samsung and Apple have something to be worried about
Huawei — a name that you probably haven’t heard much about if you live in the States, or at least not before the past few months. But its a phone brand that has been well-known around the world for a while now. Huawei is a China-based telecommunications company (one of the oldest and biggest in the country), which has been in the smartphone industry for a while. Recently, however, it has made it big, with its name flashing in the mainstream often. It has landed in Europe with high success and, at one point, it was this close to selling its phones on American soil, but the US government pressured carriers and retailers to cut their ties with Huawei. And so they did.

And Apple and Samsung breathed a sigh of relief


OK, OK, that was a bit dramatic. Huawei’s phones may not be instant game-enders, but they definitely have the right things going for them. We’ve called the Mate 20 “the most underrated phone of 2018”, and we’ve called the Mate 20 Prowhat the Galaxy Note 9 should have been”.

Those are some strong words, that have been used by others on the Internet as well. Do Huawei phones really have what it takes to take a piece of the cake from the market leaders? I do think so… here’s why:

Huawei is a stylish trend-setter?


If I had to pinpoint a specific time when Huawei started piquing the interest of phone fans more and more, it would have to be the release of last year’s Huawei P20 Pro — the company’s flagship for 2018. It had a lot of things about it to draw attention — like the triple camera made in partnership with Leica, the huge battery, the powerful home-made Kirin 970 processor… the phone was interesting, at the very least for being something different.

But it wasn’t just internals — the Huawei P20 Pro had a very distinct feature about its design — the new Twilight color. It’s a super-shiny two-tone gradient that you just can’t help but be hypnotized by. Huawei kept making similar color options for future phones as well.



Since the P20’s release, more and more phone manufacturers are adding gradient color options to their phones, recognizing that there’s a market for this specific look and that it might turn into a trend very soon. A trend, seemingly started by Huawei. There’s no bigger recognition of success (or potential) than having your competitors do what you do.

Currently, there are two other companies in the industry who have the power to set trends. One is Apple, which (for example) started the headphone jack’s demise and made the black color cool again when it launched the iPhone 7, made the notch a thing with the iPhone X, and pioneered the Portrait Mode, which is present on pretty much every major phone now. The second is Samsung, which kick-started the “big smartphone” trend years ago, made the signature dual-curved Edge screen, which many tried to copy and most gave up on (it’s pretty hard to make), and is constantly pushing the boundaries when it comes to camera performance.

Huawei is joining the ranks of the trend-setters, but not just with its looks. Beneath that shiny hood, there's a lot of cutting-edge tech:

Advanced technologies


Over the past year, Huawei has really been pushing the boundaries with its smartphones. The P20 Pro was among the very first smartphones with triple cameras on the back, albeit not all three were that functional — it had a regular wide-angle camera, a telephoto camera, and the third one was just a monochrome camera. Not that exciting.



Then, the Huawei Mate 20 family sported the camera trio that is currently getting really popular — a regular wide-angle, a super wide-angle, and a telephoto camera on the back, all user-accessible, all giving us a ton of options to shoot with. The only other phone that had such a camera combo at the time was LG’s V40 ThinQ, which was announced and released in the same month as the Mate 20. Again, Huawei was ahead of the curve on that trend.

The Mate 20 Pro was also the very first smartphone to feature reverse wireless charging. Granted, back then we looked at the feature as a gimmick, and Samsung needed to envision it as a means to charge your smartwatch or wireless earbuds for reverse charging to shine. But that’s yet another “first” for Huawei.



And now, we have the foldable phones. Depending on how you look at it, Huawei is in the lead here — while other companies are tossing around concepts and teases, only three manufacturers came out with actual devices. One of them is the unknown Royole FlexPai, which may or may not be vaporware, and the other two are Huawei with the Mate X and Samsung with the Galaxy Fold. Both of them extremely impressive for their own reasons. The Mate X, in particular, shook the audience with its outward folding build and the fact that it is so thin and has no gap in the middle when folded.



It was only a couple of years ago when Huawei was synonymous with “knockoff phones” that try to copy iPhones sprinkled with some DNA from other random flagships. Since 2018, this perception has repeatedly been flipped on its head and the company is slowly gaining a following of devout fans.

Now, we the Huawei P30 Pro has crazy camera features like 5x optical (lossless) zoom, 50x digital zoom, a Time of Flight module attached, and still enough room for a super-wide-angle camera. Currently, the only mainstream smartphone to pack so much diversity, ToF camera included, is the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and that's not even out for sale yet. There's also the new RYYB sensor, which takes insane night time photos. That’s a lot of new tech that others need to catch up with. Sure, the practical user will say “When do I ever need 50x zoom on my phone?”. But having that much optical power on tap is certain to come in handy once or twice, at the very least for bragging purposes, and you can rest assured that competitors will be scrambling to get a similar feature within a generation or two.

1X


10X


Don’t get me wrong — you can still see a lot of things that Huawei does in its phones in order “to be like those other guys”. We’ve got navigation gestures lifted straight from iOS attached to curved screens that look like they come right from the Galaxy S production line.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing — new products often come to life through the combination of old inventions. It’s what you do with other's ideas that matters. Do you just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, or do you actually try to put together a device that has all the right things, working coherently in unison? The latter option is, of course, hard to achieve, as it requires resources, R&D, time, and a vision. Huawei’s recent products seem to be a testament that the company is putting the work in. It's not fully there yet, but it does look like it's moving towards a vision.

Yes, the phones are actually good



Now, truth be told, we still do have a beef with Huawei’s software when it comes to smartphones. At its worst, EMUI still looks like a bunch of ideas have been hacked together with zero time to polish and re-think. It’s had plenty of time to evolve and mature over the years, so we are not sure what’s going on there. Either Huawei has other things taking up its priority list, or it happens to find EMUI to be beautiful and functional as it is.

At its best, it’s “good enough to work with”, with a couple of good ideas sprinkled here and there, mostly ones that have been lifted from Apple’s iOS.

Even so, EMUI by itself just can’t force me to put down a flagship Huawei phone. Why?



Well, the phones are snappy — the home-made Kirin chip has come a long way and I get enjoyable performance out of it. I’ve spent considerable time with a couple of Huawei devices and everything felt smooth and fluid. Their form factors, dazzling looks, the diverse cameras, and pretty screens seal the deal.

Software-wise, whatever was lifted from iOS was done with style. Like the navigational gestures with their fluid feedback, the Face ID-like face recognition on the Mate 20 Pro, zooming the camera simply by sliding your finger in the viewfinder (Samsung has finally grabbed that gesture for One UI, too), and even small stuff like having the system keyboard pop up whenever you are typing a password.

The latter is a security measure, which makes sure that your password won’t be lifted by a malicious party when you are using a downloaded keyboard. It was first implemented by Apple when the company opened the doors for 3rd party keyboards and, interestingly, it is now copied by many Chinese manufacturers while the worldwide-known brands remain oblivious to the feature. But that brings me to my next point:

Do Huawei phones spy on us?



So, why is Huawei equipment banned from the US? With the construction of 5G networks being a hot topic right now, Huawei is looking to be a primary equipment supplier globally, but officials are expressing concerns that the company might be in cahoots with the Chinese government and using said equipment to install moles in the new infrastructures worldwide. Huawei's founder is a former People's Liberation Army soldier and his own daughter has been arrested in Canada over allegations of violating trade sanctions by selling equipment to Iran. The reasons are mostly political — the US and China are engaged in an ongoing trade dispute that doesn’t look like it’ll get settled soon, and the accusations that Huawei installs spy hardware or software in the products it sells abroad conveniently popped up during these times of turmoil.

T-Mobile also has a personal beef with Huawei because the phone manufacturer attempted to steal intellectual property from the carrier — the screen-testing robot named "Tappy".

So, the smartphones themselves are not the primary concern here, they just got burnt as a casualty of these bigger conflicts. Of course — if you think a company is shady, you will definitely put any communications device it produces in the "do not touch" list.

I can’t simply come out and say “It’s fine, guys, they are not spying”. In reality, there’s no proof whether they are or aren’t. IT companies and experts are on both sides of the fence — some are saying “We can’t find any evidence of Huawei equipment sending secure information to China”, while the others are arguing that “If it’s Chinese spyware, it won’t be that easy to detect! We need to dig deeper!”. Huawei is — of course — fully denying any claims of spying on users or governments.

So, where does this leave you, the regular user who just wants to use a Huawei phone? I would say that it’s extremely unlikely that Huawei would be lifting any type of sensitive data from your personal handset. At least nothing worse than what social media and other manufacturers are already trying to grab whenever they can. But, again, since there’s absolutely no evidence to go on, one needs to make up their own mind on this topic.

Me? I stay vigilant and mindful with whatever brand phone I am using.

So, does Huawei have what it takes to take on Apple and Samsung?



Across the Internet, reviewers and fans are raving about the company’s latest offerings. And Huawei has proven that it’s not shy to spend crazy amounts of money on marketing to gain more mainstream attention. So, it has the two major ingredients — have a good product, get noticed.

It’s no coincidence that Huawei managed to climb its way to being the 2nd biggest phone manufacturer in the world, trailing Samsung who’s in the number 1 spot (Huawei wants that spot next year, too).

That said, if Huawei flagships were to make it to the USA market (by the way, you can still get them from 3rd party resellers), I’m pretty sure that Apple and Samsung will feel a drop in sales while struggling companies like LG and Sony will get yet another competitor to be very, very concerned about.

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70 Comments

1. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Where is your photo comparison with the iPhone, lol Oh yeah, can't show the iPhones camera getting its azz kicked. The p30 pro does take some great pictures.

3. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 414; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

I phone that just came out being compared to a phone that came out last year of course camera going be better and I'm a pixel fan. Logic has been tossed out the window.

11. rsiders

Posts: 1960; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Well are we to wait until the iPhone XI comes out? You can only compare what's available at the current time. iPhone still wins for video anyway and portrait mode look IMO. But Huawei is just so versatile it's crazy.

29. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That is exactly it, you can only compare what is available and that is the iPhone 10s.

68. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Hypocrisy at its best. When the iPhone comes out and trashes all Androids in benchmarks and camera's... "Oh but the xxx is 6 months old, the new iPhone will compete with the xxx2 coming out in March.." It never ceases to amaze how you are exactly what you call out. Incredible how you can't see it in your own words.

20. lyndon420

Posts: 6793; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Careful sissy. They are on a rampage lately with people who put apple in a dim light lol.

37. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Android camera don’t come close to iphone’s naturalistic color. No wonder why there aren’t free ads for android where magazines or newstand uses their superior wanna camera.

47. wickedwilly

Posts: 698; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Dream on

52. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Sure. Phones like Pixel 2&3, P20Pro,Mate20 & P30Pro are humiliating iPhone XS series both in quality & features.

66. Not_Amused321

Posts: 65; Member since: Jan 06, 2013

Lift the gates!!!

2. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 414; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

So we just ignore that they stole trade secrets from Samsung and practice shady practice because they have a good camera. There phones truly are garbage offset by well their camera great. I feel like the payout they doing is insane every YouTuber has at least 4 videos all doing the same thing review. Huawei is gunning for Samsung and it shows, because they take everything. No one mentions they are charging $1000 plus dollars for a 1080p display or how they trying sell a foldable phone with no screen protection for $500 more than Samsung when they get their displays from Samsung.

4. Venom

Posts: 3589; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

The Huawei apologists will find some way to make excuses for their actions despite the overwhelming evidence of Huawei's shadiness.

10. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1422; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

What overwhelming evidence? Corporate espionage? Well you might wanna ban Apple, Samsung and just about any other consumer electronics manufacturer from selling their products in that case.

30. Subie

Posts: 2367; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

@Back_from_beyond, I guess you haven't been paying attention but here's a link to just one article on it.https://www.phonearena.com/news/Huawei-faces-U.S.-criminal-investigation_id112843 China is the world leader in industrial espionage and many know it. huawei is just one company that has benefited from this. This has been going on for quite some time and involves far more then just cell phones and tech covered by sites like phoneArena. Google it.

34. lyndon420

Posts: 6793; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

To be quite honest? I'd rather the Chinese were spying on me instead of my own government entities. Surely there is a lot more to this story than they want us to know.

36. TheOracle1

Posts: 2297; Member since: May 04, 2015

The only thing I can think of is revealing the truth would expose methods and sources. From that point of view it's understandable. But it really looks like politics.

57. mootu

Posts: 1525; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Anyone can throw those up. Apple has been convicted multiple times on ip theft charges. In 2017 they were fined $2 billion for ip theft from Nokia. Qualcomm are sueing them for ip theft. There's a pending court case from a Isreal company where Apple requested a camera sample and 6 months later the exact same design ended up in iPhones. There are numerous more cases against Apple. That alone in my view makes Apple one of the shadiest companies out there but they get a free pass because they are American.

65. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1422; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

That was actually exactly what I was on about. It's corporate espionage that every company does. Apple has done it multiple times, Samsung has done it countless times, hell i don't think there's a single company that hasn't at one point or another stolen secrets from another company. That was the entire point i was making. It hardly justifies a ban on their products for doing something every company does. The US government has stolen tech from companies for military purposes, maybe we should ban the US government too.

56. mootu

Posts: 1525; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

The US has asked both the UK and German governments to ban Huawei equipment. Both countries said give us proof of any spying and we will consider it. The US could not present any proof to either government and both have now refused the US's request. India and Canada were both pressured by the US as well, both have decided not to ban Huawei. The US Gov. fears what it cannot control and they cannot control the Chinese.

26. TheOracle1

Posts: 2297; Member since: May 04, 2015

I find these comments amusing especially when most people here have never seen or even used one. I have a P10 and several friends have the P20, Mate 10 and Mate 20. They all love their phones, however I'm lukewarm on my P10 but that's because it's my backup and nowhere near as good as my NexS but it's still very good. It was also a gift so I didn't choose it. Huawei, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi have become very polished and the only company keeping up with them in terms of innovation is Samsung.

60. Poptart2828

Posts: 400; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Agreed. I recently bought a Vivo nex dual display and the device is chock full of tech no one oem that does business in America is even doing. BTW the dual display is a more refined version of the nex S with much better low light photography and in display scanner is much faster and accurate. The main screen has smaller bezels all the way around and more pleasant to look at than the nex s. Check it out Oracle.

70. TheOracle1

Posts: 2297; Member since: May 04, 2015

I've looked at it extensively Poptart and still prefer the NexS. Bigger battery, bigger screen and I don't want the unnecessary second screen when the pop-up camera is a better solution in my opinion. I've installed Gcam on mine and the low-light photography has improved markedly. The fp scanner has also improved in the time I've owned the phone due to various updates.

5. Venom

Posts: 3589; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Worry about what? I don't think any Android OEM has to worry about Huawei other than them copying what they are doing or spreading malware.

35. TheOracle1

Posts: 2297; Member since: May 04, 2015

And you know all this because you have used one and carried out all the necessary analysis I presume? I don't think so. I've used various data analyzers on my phones and my P10 is cleaner than my old Xiaomi Mix2 in terms of sending data to Chinese servers. Copying is an interesting accusation when Apple are so far behind the curve it's embarrassing. Other than the fugly notches (and cutouts and teardrops) that Huawei and others have copied they look nothing like any Samsung or iPhone in real life. Give real world assessments or stfu.

59. Aruminiumaian

Posts: 209; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

Anybody who thinks the company with the second largest smartphone market share wouldn't be a threat to those with the first and the third share is an idiot. Maybe you should learn how the market works before posting an emotionally charged comment which only reveals your ignorance about the current situation.

62. Plutonium239

Posts: 1217; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Huawei has no chance of threatening Apple or Samsung's sales in the states, even if they were allowed here. This is due to the simple fact that as far as smart phones go in the US, consumers don't leave their brands. They stick with the brands they know and trust. Could they get a little traction? Probably, because the price point is so low. But there is no threat to Samsung or Apple.

6. Nimbus

Posts: 442; Member since: Apr 02, 2018

After Galaxy note 10 or 11 huawei will surely may beat samsung to 2nd position if they continue turn out to be popular against apple & Samsung and other brand fans and general consumers.I may see things change in 2020 or 2021 at most if Samsung get down in their sector of smartphones offerings.

14. Fred3

Posts: 532; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Now that Samsung have a smaller Note10 coming. Their sales will skyrocket. That'll pull them ahead

38. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Android fans thought that S10 will pull off Samsung from disgusting mobile profit for decades.

41. cmdacos

Posts: 4216; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Check your facts lady

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