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Huawei Mate 50 Pro rumored to feature 4G Snapdragon 898 chipset

Huawei Mate 50 Pro rumored to feature 4G Snapdragon 898 chipset
Last year, the U.S. wanted to tighten the screws on Huawei. Realizing that China is not self-sufficient when it comes to chips, the U.S. changed an export rule that prevents foundries using American technology to build semiconductors from shipping cutting-edge chips to Huawei. That includes 5G chips designed by Huawei's own HiSilicon unit.

Huawei's declining inventory of chips and the global chip shortage resulted in some serious delays for the manufacturer. Instead of getting its photography-focused P50 flagship series off the ground early in the year as it traditionally had done, the P50 and P50 Pro weren't unveiled until July. The latter was just released while the former will reportedly go on sale in China tomorrow.

Rumor calls for 4G Snapdragon 898 to power Huawei Mate 50 Pro

While both P50 models will be powered by Qualcomm's current top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 chipset, because of the U.S. export restrictions, the silicon will not support 5G connectivity. This how Huawei is working around the change to the U.S. export rules.

As current Huawei Chairman Guo Ping pointed out earlier this month, "At present, the biggest difficulty for us is the mobile phone business. As we all know, chips for mobile phone need advanced technology as they are small and have low power consumption. Huawei can design its own chip but no one can manufacture it for us. That's where we (are) stuck."

That leaves Huawei's most technologically advanced phones of the year, the flagship Mate 50 series. Normally released during the fourth quarter of a year, the Mate 50 line is expected to be released next year, although there have been rumors about an unveiling next month. Tipster Digital Chat Station disseminated a post on Weibo (via NotebookCheck) saying that Huawei is testing Qualcomm's next-generation flagship chip, the Snapdragon 898 SoC, for a phone likely to be the Mate 50 Pro.

While the tipster doesn't refer to the Mate 50 Pro by name, it is referred in the post as a business-focused flagship handset which pretty much sums up the series since it traditionally carries the newest features and the best specs available on a Huawei device.

The Snapdragon 898 chipset is rumored to be the chip that will reportedly drive the U.S. variants of the the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S22 line (although not if Verizon gets its way). The chip supposedly will be built by Samsung Foundry using its 4nm process node.

Once again, because the U.S. prevents foundries using American technology from shipping cutting-edge chips to Huawei, the variant of the Snapdragon 898 chips used in the Mate 50 and Mate 50 Pro will not support 5G. And to collaborate this, Digital Chat Station notes that while the version of the Snapdragon 898 that supports 5G carries a model number of SM8450, the model number being used by Huawei for testing with the Mate 50 Pro is SM8425.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro expected to have HarmonyOS 2.1 pre-installed

Huawei's homegrown Kirin 9000 chips were produced by TSMC using the foundry's 5nm process node. Last year's Mate 40 line was powered by that chip which does support 5G. But once the U.S. ban kicked in, Huawei reportedly did not have enough Kirin 9000 inventory to use with the P50 Pro. It seems hard to believe with the current restrictions, but prior to the change in U.S. export rules, Huawei was TSMC's second-largest customer behind only Apple.

The Mate 50 line, according to another Weibo tipster, is rumored to offer users the ability to send and receive texts via Beidou's satellite system. The phone could be launched with the latest version of Huawei's own HarmonyOS pre-installed. HarmonyOS 2.1 is believed to include a feature allowing for seamless connections between Huawei devices that are using the same Huawei ID.

For example, let's say you are playing a video game on your Mate 50 Pro and you want to finish playing on your MatePad tablet. HarmonyOS 2.1 will allow the user to pick up the game on the slate at exactly the same point he was at on the phone. Even better, the user won't even have to install the game on his MatePad.

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