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  1. Brazilian government allows Huawei to take part in 5G auction Reuters, citing the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, has said that Brazil is likely to allow Huawei to participate in the 5G auction that’s set to take place in June. The Bolsonaro government of Brazil has been looking for ways to exclude the Chinese company from the country’s networks, following the lead of the United States, but between Trump’s upcoming departure from the White House and the cost of excluding Huawei, Jair Bolsonaro is being forced to backtrack on his plans. The Brazilian newspaper had cited government and industry sources to back up claims that Brazil will allow Huawei into the 5G network auctions later this year. It said that with China being Brazil’s biggest trade partner and Huawei being more cost-competitive, Bolsonaro has faced resistance to banning the Chinese firm from industry and members of his government including Vice President Hamilton Mourao. VP Mourao told the newspaper that any company that takes part in the auction will be subject to the country’s data protection laws and must respect Brazil’s sovereignty. One of the arguments put forth by the current U.S. administration is that Huawei has links to the Communist Party of China and therefore data won’t be safe if Huawei is allowed into 5G networks. While Trump’s departure may have saved Huawei’s prospects in Brazil, it has come too late for the company in other countries like Poland and the United Kingdom which have already moved to ban Huawei from their 5G networks and remove it where it has already been installed. Source: Estadao (Portuguese) via Reuters Source: Brazilian government allows Huawei to take part in 5G auction
  2. Huawei’s HarmonyOS: “Fake it till you make it” meets OS development No discernible difference between Huawei's "all-new" OS and Android. Enlarge / What a lovely little green robot! Have we met before? Huawei is China's—and formerly the world's—largest smartphone vendor, and over the past 18 months, it learned an important lesson: the company can't rely on the US supply chain. In 2019, the US government banned US exports to Huawei, which cut the company off from access to most chip and software suppliers. Building a phone is hard without access to key parts and apps. Huawei's latest Q4 2020 numbers show its phone sales in free fall, dropping 42 percent year-over-year. Because of this, Huawei wants independence from the worldwide smartphone supply chain. While hardware independence is something the company needs to work on, Huawei also needs to get free of Google's software. So, as many companies have tried to do before it, Huawei hopes to make an Android killer. The company's attempt at an in-house OS is called "HarmonyOS" (also known as "HongmengOS" in China). "Version 2" was released in December, bringing "beta" smartphone support to the operating system for the first time. Can Huawei succeed where Windows Phone, Blackberry 10, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS, Symbian, MeeGo, WebOS, and Samsung's Tizen have all tried and failed? To hear Huawei tell the story, HarmonyOS is an original in-house creation—a defiant act that will let the company break free of American software influence. Huawei's OS announcement in 2019 got big, splashy articles in the national media. CNN called HarmonyOS "a rival to Android," and Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, told the outlet that HarmonyOS "is completely different from Android and iOS." Huawei President of Consumer Software Wang Chenglu repeated these claims just last month, saying (through translation), "HarmonyOS is not a copy of Android, nor is it a copy of iOS." That makes HarmonyOS sound super interesting. Naturally, we had to take a deep dive. After getting access to HarmonyOS through a grossly invasive sign-up process, firing up the SDK and emulator, and poring over the developer documents, I can't come to any other conclusion: HarmonyOS is essentially an Android fork. The way that Huawei describes the OS to the press and in developer documents doesn't seem to have much to do with what the company is actually shipping. The developer documents appear almost purposefully written to confuse the reader; any bit of actual shipping code to which you hold up a magnifying glass looks like Android with no major changes. The phrase "fake it till you make it" is often given as motivational advice, but I've never seen it applied to OS development before. If you've ever seen a modern Huawei Android phone, HarmonyOS is largely the same thing... with a few strings changed. So while there's not much new to see, we can at least dissect HarmonyOS and debunk some of Huawei's claims about its "brand-new" operating system. But first—a two-day background check?! Before we dive into HarmonyOS, we have to actually get HarmonyOS, which is an incredible hassle. Supposedly some Huawei Android phones like the P40 Pro can be switched over to HarmonyOS through some kind of closed beta. This is limited to China, though. For me, getting HarmonyOS meant finding my passport. For comparison, let's first talk about how other vendors serve up their operating system SDKs. For Android, you Google "Android SDK" from any desktop computer, click the first link, and press the download button. Apple requires developers to own a Mac for the iOS SDK, but from there it's just a simple trip to the App Store to download Xcode. Before you can try Harmony OS, by contrast, Huawei requires you to pass a two-day background check. They even want a picture of your passport! Huawei's instructions on how to send in a picture of your passport, which you need to do to download the SDK. Huawei requires you to go to Huawei.com, make an account, and then sign up to be a developer by passing "Identity verification." This means sending Huawei your name, address, email, phone number, and pictures of your ID (driver's license or passport) and a photo of a credit card. You must then wait one or two business days while someone at Huawei manually "reviews" your application. Huawei helpfully notes that it will not charge your credit card. Huawei's docs say that "the ID card, passport, driver’s license, and bank card are used to verify and match your identity information." OK, but why? Why does Huawei want to know everything about me first? And why does that take two days? Even if you try to skip Huawei's horrible sign-up process and "pirate" the Harmony SDK by downloading it from somewhere else, the SDK won't run the emulator until you sign in with an account that has passed the two-day background check. Can you imagine what a potential HarmonyOS developer will think when they get to this step? If you're an established developer in an app ecosystem, it's normal for the ecosystem owner to collect some identifying and financial information. You probably want a developer to be able to charge money for their app, which means you need to be able to transfer money to a bank account, and the ecosystem owner might be responsible for tax collection. Right now, though, we are miles away from that situation with HarmonyOS. At this point, which is just downloading the SDK for the first time, your typical downloader will be a curious developer who is just beginning to investigate Huawei's OS. (Signing up for "Merchant Service" is actually a totally different Huawei process.) Nosy This is supposed to be a brand-new operating system, and Huawei's position at this point would commonly be one of openness toward any potential developers. Google's one-click, anonymous download for the Android SDK, on Windows, Mac, and Linux, is the model companies should be emulating. Huawei is instead making this as hard as possible, and it's easy to imagine a potential developer balking at the ridiculous and intrusive download process, closing the tab, and going back to Android and iOS development. It's the worst first impression of an operating system I've ever seen. As a developer, you've got to wonder if Huawei will always be this difficult to work with in the future. That said, I did all this. In the spirit of taking one for the team, I shamefully sent Huawei a picture of my passport and credit card. My information probably went God-knows-where in China; it felt like a violation, and you're welcome. After a two-day wait, my social credit score was apparently high enough that I was granted access to Huawei's precious operating system. (Hopefully, Beijing doesn't have "a file" on me now.) Now, let's see what we got after all this effort. HarmonyOS: Android 10 with no discernible changes This is really HarmonyOS? If you say so... After jumping through all these hoops, you don't actually get to run the emulator locally on your machine. Once you log in to the SDK, you can fire up a "remote emulator." Basically, it's HarmonyOS if it ran on Google Stadia—you'll get a laggy, interactive video stream of the OS sent to you from somewhere on the Internet. The emulated phone starts up in Chinese, reports a SIM card with a China +86 number, and is on a network called "华为内网" (in English: "Huawei Intranet"), so I'm going to guess this is in China somewhere. Location is blocked, and any browser access seems to be disabled as well. After some testing, I am pretty sure this thing is a physical phone plugged into a testing rig; if I enable USB debugging, which would interrupt any existing USB connection, the whole emulator dies and I get disconnected. There would be no reason for that to happen if this was a purely software virtual device. Anyway—if the pictures in this piece look a bit weird, keep in mind you're seeing screenshots of a 720p video stream that was beamed in from halfway around the world. You get your first inkling of HarmonyOS' Android-ness when you boot up the phone. Indeed, you're presented with an exact copy of Huawei's "EMUI" Android skin, but the "About" screen now says "HarmonyOS" and has been scrubbed of all mentions of "Android." The official line is that Huawei ported over the EMUI Android skin to HarmonyOS, except that all the bits under the Android skin also appear to be Android. There is an awful lot of Android system components in the app info. Just a trip to the app info screen will confirm that this phone runs Android. You'll see apps like the "Android Services Library," "Android Shared Library," "com.Android.systemui.overlay," "Androidhwext," and on and on, for about 10 different entries. It looks like some packages got hit with a find-and-replace, changing "Android" to "HarmonyOS." If you look at the app info for the "HarmonyOS System" package, you'll see it uses the Android system icon (the "Android green" color is a dead giveaway) and a label saying "version 10." Uh, isn't HarmonyOS on version 2? The "version 10" here is a reference to Android 10, which seems to be the version HarmonyOS is based on. If you visit the "Huawei App Gallery" (which has a ton of apps... because it is just an Android app store), you can choose from any number of "system info" apps, which will all identify the phone as running "Android 10 Q." HarmonyOS is also way, way too complete for a beta. We know what an in-development operating system should look like—something like, for instance, Google's Fuchsia or Samsung's Tizen. You should see nonexistent app selection, limited features, and other rough edges. If HarmonyOS really is a "new" operating system, Huawei's engineers are doing an incredible job! They have even perfectly copied every single Android 10 feature! There is a great gesture-navigation system, a million settings, a permissions system, NFC tap-and-pay support, dark mode, and a killer notification panel! Huawei says commercial HarmonyOS phones could launch this year, and I believe it. That is totally possible when you are just shipping Android. For a brand-new operating system that isn't out yet and has zero users, the developer support Huawei has lined up is also incredible! In the Huawei App Gallery, you'll see apps from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, TikTok, WeChat, Tencent, Baidu, Weibo, Evernote, and more. You'll also find thousands of app reviews dating back several years from users who can't possibly exist, because HarmonyOS is brand-new and isn't Android, right? Huawei's main contribution to HarmonyOS is the same thing it contributes to its builds of Android in China: Huawei replacements for the Google Play ecosystem. Very few of Google's services are available in China. There is no Play Store, no Google Play Services, none of Google's usual Android apps (other than a special Wear OS helper app). In China, it's up to every OEM to supply its own app store, and Huawei has been doing this for years. Huawei has "Huawei Mobile Services," consisting of a pretty complete package of the Huawei App Gallery, cloud-based accounts with syncing of contacts, photos, calendars, notes, and more, as well as a sturdy cloud portal for all your data at cloud.huawei.com. None of this has anything to do with HarmonyOS, though. Enlarge / Huawei's app store and some Microsoft and Google apps. All open source operating systems, Android included, stand on the shoulders of giants and pull in tons of code from upstream projects. Android uses the Linux kernel, the F2FS and Ext4 file systems, Libc and Libc++, Java, OpenGL and Vulkan, OpenSSL, Webkit, and a million other projects. No one would argue that Android isn't its own operating system, though. Android also contains a ton of Google-developed code, like (originally) heavy forks to the Linux kernel, the Dalvik VM/Android Runtime, built-from-scratch touchscreen code and a constantly evolving touch interface, phone call support, and more. After hours of poking around on HarmonyOS, I couldn't point to a single substantive change compared to Android. Other than a few renamed items, nothing is different. If anyone at Huawei wants to dispute this, I would welcome an example of a single thing in the emulator that is functionally or even aesthetically different from Android. If anyone wants to cry "it's just a beta!," Huawei says this OS will be shipping in commercial phones this year. There does not appear to be time to do a major overhaul from "Android" to "Not Android." Forking Android and launching your own rebranded operating system is totally fine. But be upfront about that. Say "HarmonyOS is a fork of Android" instead of "HarmonyOS is not a copy of Android." Don't call HarmonyOS "all-new" when pretty much the opposite is true. Huawei is basically in the same position as Amazon with FireOS, which is also a fork of Android. Here's how Amazon deals with that: the first two sentences of the "Fire OS Overview" page on developer.amazon.com read, "Fire OS is the operating system that runs Amazon's Fire TV and tablets. Fire OS is a fork of Android, so if your app runs on Android, it will most likely run on Amazon's Fire devices too." A search for "Android" on that first Fire OS page brings up 67 results. As of press time, a search for Android across the entire HarmonyOS documents collection brings up zero results. On the "About" screen of the HarmonyOS emulator, there is an "open source licenses" link, but the page does not load. Android is a trademark of Google, so Amazon and Huawei can't use the name in promotional materials. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be upfront about it in your developer documents and when speaking to the public. Not doing so feels like plagiarism. Huawei’s dev documents are psychological warfare Since the emulator is a wash, what about the source code, documentation, and SDK? HarmonyOS is supposedly open source, or at least, there is an "open source version" of HarmonyOS called "OpenHarmony," which seems to have no connection at all to what ships on the emulator. The current source code for OpenHarmony identifies itself as "Version 1.0" and is only for IoT devices, while the beta version for phones and the SDK is "HarmonyOS 2.0." So at the very least, the source code is also out of date. OpenHarmony 1.0 and the "HarmonyOS 2.0" emulator do not seem related. The OpenHarmony repo uses Huawei's LiteOS IoT microkernel, and the apps in the repo are not Android apps. The HarmonyOS 2.0 emulator, because it is Android, is based on Linux, and all the apps are Android apps. Huawei's documentation claims that both kernels are supported, but it's hard to see how the two would ever be the same product or why you would want to call them the same product when they seem to have nothing in common. The docs for HarmonyOS are available here, and please, I implore you, read some of them. Read the developer documents and ask yourself, "Does this make sense?" Or maybe, "Is this trying to communicate useful information in an honest, straightforward manner?" Most of the time, the answer is "no." Huawei's developer documentation is full of what I can only describe as nonsense. Many sentences are just buzzword-filled drivel. “Super virtual” Let's start with the major features of the OS on basically page one of the docs, the "Technical Features" page. The Book of Huawei reads, "The distributed device virtualization platform enables cross-device resource convergence, device management, and data processing so that multiple devices jointly function as a super virtual device." You can click through the link to find out what the heck a "super virtual device" is, and you'll get the "glossary" definition that it "integrates the capabilities of multiple devices through the distributed technology into a virtual hardware resource pool and then centrally manages and schedules these capabilities based on application requirements." I think Huawei is describing... a network? The writing style of developer documentation usually does not bounce between vague marketing hype-speak like "super virtual device" and what sounds like patent application legalese. Understanding an operating system is difficult enough without all the flowery language obfuscating what is really going on. Let's read some more. The four top-line "technical features" in the HarmonyOS documentation—those things that should be the most important parts of the operating system—are all these "distributed" something-or-others that all seem to describe mundane network capabilities that have been possible on any operating system for years. The "Distributed Virtual Bus" is "a communication base for interconnecting devices, such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, Smart TVs, and head units." The "typical scenarios" for the Distributed Virtual Bus can "connect smartphones to food processors, range hoods, air purifiers, air conditioners, lights, curtains, and more." So like, Bluetooth? Wi-Fi? How is this a top-line feature of your operating system? The aforementioned "Distributed Device Virtualization" will let users "connect their smartphones to smart TV, with the gravity sensor, acceleration sensor, and touch control capabilities of the smartphone virtualized as a remote control." Many games and smart TV OSes have been doing this forever, and again, this just sounds like Wi-Fi. "Distributed Data Management" will "project a document from their smartphone to smart TV, and perform operations such as page-turning, zooming, and graffiti on the document on the smart TV." This is no different from the previous gaming option, Huawei! "Distributed Task Scheduling" is "designed based on technical features such as distributed virtual bus, distributed data management, and distributed profile. It builds a unified distributed service management mechanism (including service discovery, synchronization, registration, and invocation), and supports remote startup, remote invocation, remote connection, and migration of applications across devices." That was a lot of words to say very little, but the "typical scenarios" include this one: "After ordering takeaway food via a smartphone, users can continue checking food delivery information on their watch." Amazing. These aren't hand-picked to be the worst examples of Huawei's writing; these are top-line bullet points that should be the most important parts of your OS. Yet the documentation describes basically nothing. I really do not think there is any meaning behind these words; perhaps Huawei is just faking it? Each of these terms is not described with much additional detail in the full documents. Huawei likes to define an OS concept and then immediately move on, providing no extra details of what it actually is or does. If you think a "distributed virtual bus" is an actual thing for "connecting to a toaster" or whatever, what network technology does it use? How are users authenticated? What APIs do the devices use to communicate? How would you actually integrate this into a physical toaster? What does the interface look like? How would I plug into this capability with my app? How is it better or different from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi? None of this is ever answered. The solid parts of the documentation that you could actually verify mostly fall into two categories: 1) things from Android and 2) things that do not exist yet. The "Application Fundamentals" page claims that HarmonyOS has a new app format called "App Packs" with ".app" extensions, but everything on the emulator is a regular Android .apk file. I built a sample app with Huawei's SDK, hoping to see an "App pack." It spit out a .hap (HarmonyOS Ability Packages) file, which is apparently part of an "App Pack." Great! Now, Android .apks are just standard .zip files with a new extension, and changing the extension to .zip will let you unzip an app and preliminarily poke around in it. What happens if you try this trick with a .hap file? It unzips! And it's full of Android code. All the Android decompile tools work, too, because HarmonyOS is Android. HarmonyOS apps made in the SDK target Android API 29, aka Android 10. Like all of Huawei's documents, the Application Fundamentals page does not mention this Android connection at all. The Application Fundamentals page was really my last hope of finding anything of substance in the docs. I picked it because I vaguely remembered that Huawei had previously released the HarmonyOS "ARK Compiler," and the company gave a big presentation about it in 2019. As basically the earliest component of HarmonyOS, surely there would be some meat here, right? The HarmonyOS Application Fundamentals page now doesn't mention the ARK Compiler at all. Googling around for what in the world happened to it reveals that developers also criticized the ARK Compiler as "a scam" at launch and said it was "not even half-finished." The original page for the ARK Compiler now 404s, and Huawei's repository for the ARK Compiler is dead, too. Enlarge / Huawei's "DevEco Studio" HarmonyOS SDK. Huawei's SDK, by the way, is called "DevEco Studio" and—I'm sure you can guess this by now—seems to be the same base components of Google's Android Studio SDK, along with lots of code taken from Android. It's based on the Jetbrains IntelliJ IDE with the Gradle build system and mostly looks and feels identical to Android Studio. Peek at the "third-party software" list on DevEco Studio's About screen, and you'll find 27 packages that start with "Android," like the Android SDK Tools, the Android DEX library, the Android Gradle plugin, and more. At least it will be familiar to developers! I could go over more of the development docs, but when none of it actually applies to the code Huawei is shipping, I don't see a point. Just branding? That might be enough for China On the technical side, we don't seem to be accomplishing anything here. Being a fork of Android still makes you mostly dependent on Android for new features. So far, Huawei hasn't shown any ability to take Android in a different direction, and like with Amazon and Fire OS (which is still based on Android 9), right now it seems like forking will just result in an inferior Android build with slower updates. If Huawei really wanted to reduce its reliance on US software, it hasn't actually done that. Enlarge / The HarmonyOS development process. This whole effort seems to be nothing more than a branding exercise. Huawei can claim HarmonyOS as its own and say that it isn't reliant on US software, and it can hope people will believe those claims. "Saving face" seems to be the only reason HarmonyOS exists, and that also explains why the company is so reluctant to be upfront about Harmony's Android lineage. Legally, Huawei doesn't have to stop using Android. Open source, publicly available software isn't subject to US export restrictions. Huawei is already using the Android source code without Google's ecosystem in China, and there's nothing stopping Huawei from continuing to do that. The only thing Huawei can't do is use the closed-source Google apps. Huawei says it is willing to license HarmonyOS to other smartphone manufacturers and become a real OS vendor. If Huawei really goes through with this, it's not clear why any company would buy into HarmonyOS, since right now HarmonyOS is just "Android, but slower." With the current US restrictions in place, no US-based developers could submit apps to a Huawei store. (Microsoft is an exception.) This matters less within China itself, where top worldwide apps from outside the country are often banned, but internationally, HarmonyOS doesn't stand a chance. Having Huawei as your OS vendor means no apps from Facebook, Snapchat, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Twitter, Roku, SoundCloud, Pandora, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, Tinder, Shazam, and more. Google might be the single greatest enforcer of the current smartphone OS duopoly (just look at what the company did to Windows Phone), and without apps like Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, the Google Assistant, and Google Maps, Huawei's Android fork would be dead on arrival outside of China. The biggest driver of demand for HarmonyOS, however, might be the Chinese government. Beijing's response to the US ban has been to aggressively push for more reliance on local technology. In 2019, China told government offices and public institutions they had three years to move off PCs that use foreign technology and software, kicking off a massive transition for PC equipment in China. The decree is called the "3-5-2" policy, for the expected pace of replacing 30 percent of PC equipment in 2020, 50 percent in 2021, and 20 percent in 2022. China is building its own agonizingly slow x86 CPUs and dumping Windows for homegrown operating systems like "Kylin" and "NeoKylin." These are Chinese-controlled Linux distributions that look like clones of Windows, often Windows XP. The 3-5-2 policy is strictly for government desktop and laptop computers. Right now, Android is really the only game in town for Chinese phone manufacturers, but Huawei and the Chinese government may want to pretend that HarmonyOS is a Chinese Huawei product and not an American Google one. Kylin OS, as a Linux distro, is just the usual stack of open source components and therefore not particularly Chinese, but that's still good enough to earn the government's approval. Huawei could be in a similar position with its Android fork. So many people A million mobile operating systems have failed to stand up to Android and iOS, but because Huawei has the Chinese government on its side, the bar for HarmonyOS is lower than it has been for any other competitor. Indeed, HarmonyOS might actually have a shot at survival within China. With nearly 1.4 billion people—about 18 percent of the world's population—China is more than big enough to be its own insulated market. Heck, Sina Weibo, China's clone of Twitter, has more users than actual Twitter. HarmonyOS could, if it wanted to, be China's version of Android. For now, it definitely seems to be a version of Android. Source: Huawei’s HarmonyOS: “Fake it till you make it” meets OS development
  3. Huawei is refreshing its AppGallery with a new UI Today, Huawei announced that it's releasing a big update for its AppGallery app store. The company said that over the past year, AppGallery usage has grown to over 530 million monthly active users, and the new UI update focuses on discovery of apps and games. There's a new Featured tab in the app, and like the rest of AppGallery, this is going to be curated by editors, who will focus on "local trends and needs". Apps on the Features tab are shown in a card form, as you can see from the image above. This is all meant to make it easy to find hand-picked apps from the editorial team, as well as related content. There's also a Campaigns tab, which shows promotions like cashback offers and challenges that let you win rewards. There's a Gifts section that lets you claim free items that developers can grant for downloading their app, signing up, or doing some other task. Also, apps and games are getting separate tabs. All of this is rolling out starting today across Europe. In order to get the new AppGallery, you need to either be on EMUI 11.0.2 for Huawei devices or Magic UI 6.0.2 for Honor devices. Huawei is refreshing its AppGallery with a new UI
  4. Nothing from Chinese bogeyman allowed in core network by early 2023 The UK's Ministry of Fun* has published its roadmap for the removal of so-called high-risk vendors from UK telecoms networks as part of the second parliamentary reading of the Telecoms Security Bill. The roadmap adds detail to the previous edicts, which banned wireless carriers from acquiring new Huawei-made equipment by the end of the year, and forces them to fully remove existing Huawei kit by the conclusion of 2027. By the end of March 2021, networks will be prohibited from using Huawei's managed services, save for specialist maintenance services pertaining to kit installed prior to that date. Additionally, the rules prevent carriers from installing new Huawei infrastructure by the end of September, even if it was bought before the legal cut-off date. The roadmap also shed much-needed light on the rip-and-replace mandate. Carriers are prohibited from using Huawei equipment in the core network after 28 January 2023. By that date, they must also remove any infrastructure from the Chinese telco kit maker located at "sites significant to national security" and limit the presence of Huawei in 5G, FTTP, and other gigabit-capable networks to 35 per cent. In a statement, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high risk vendors from our 5G networks. This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security. "We are also publishing a new strategy to make sure we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks. Our plans will spark a wave of innovation in the design of our future mobile networks." The decision to ban Huawei, first announced in July of this year, was justified by the sanctions levelled against the company by the Trump administration which have affected Huawei's ability to source new components for its telecoms and mobile products. This, Dowden said at the time, had a "significant, material" affect on its ability to supply the UK market. Huawei has repeatedly protested this decision, pointing at its two-decade tenure in the UK market, and partnerships with major fixed-line and wireless carriers like BT, Three, and EE. It regards the US sanctions as politically motivated rather than based on a substantive and proven national security risk. To fill the Huawei-shaped hole in the UK telecoms supplier market, the ministry is examining new diversification measures, bolstered by an initial funding of £250m. Part of these funds will be used to commence a trial of OpenRAN technology in partnership with NEC. The RAN (radio access network) is the element in a wireless network that connects devices. OpenRAN is an attempt to build these components using a set of common, interoperable standards, allowing carriers to mix-and-match suppliers. The NEC NeutrORAN project will aim to have 5G OpenRAN used within the UK by next year, with the first trials planned to take place in Wales. This will coincide with LTE OpenRAN deployments planned by Vodafone, which will see the firm's Huawei estate in the southeast of England and Wales replaced with new vendor-neutral infrastructure over the course of the next three years. Separately, the ministry has announced funding for new testing and R&D efforts. One facility, SmartRAN Open Network Innovation Centre (SONIC, because it's not just Americans who like tenuous acronyms), will provide a testing playground for new OpenRAN kit, and will be operated in partnership with UK comms regulator Ofcom and Digital Catapult. Meanwhile, the National Telecoms Lab will allow operators, suppliers, and academia to look at ways to improve security and interoperability by creating and testing "representative networks." In a statement, Lord Livingston, chair of the UK's telecoms Diversification Task Force, said: "Diversification of the UK Telecoms Supply Chain is very important to ensure that our future networks are secure and resilient and that we can maximise the economic and social potential that 5G brings. "As Chair of the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce, I fully support the ambition of the strategy and its objectives. In order to position ourselves at the forefront of the next generation of technology, it is vital that we invest in Research & Development, help shape global standards and work closely with our international partners." * Commonly known as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Source
  5. It seems that the year won’t be ending well for Huawei and ZTE even though the two’s smartphone businesses remain somewhat stable for now. The Chinese companies’ networking businesses, on the other hand, might be dealt with a rather devastating blow based on the FCC’s latest orders. Removing Huawei’s and ZTE’s networking equipment will hurt rural carriers the most but the FCC promises help will be coming, provided the US Congress finally gets the funds needed to subsidize the costs. There is no getting around the fact that the US government considers Huawei and ZTE a threat to national security, no matter how much the two companies protest otherwise. All that’s actually left is to lay down the rules that will ban the companies’ products from the US, at least as far as carrier networking equipment is concerned. Those rules (PDF) have now been made in a 5-0 vote by FCC commissioners. It’s not D-Day for Huawei and ZTE yet, though. The FCC has still to provide a list of communications equipment and services that will be deemed by the government as a threat to national security. These will have to be removed and properly disposed of, the Commission says, which means that carriers will have to replace them to keep their networks running and their businesses in operation. It has already been established that smaller carriers servicing rural areas will be the ones hit the hardest. The FCC is creating the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to provide funds for these network operators, of course on the condition that they remove the banned products from Huawei and ZTE. All of these rules, however, still depends on US Congress appropriating the necessary funds. The FCC estimates that its program will require at least $1.6 billion to put the plan into action. Until Congress acts on it, however, carriers, as well as Huawei and ZTE, are left hanging on what will happen next, especially during a transition period in the US’ political landscape. Source
  6. Huawei's foldable Mate X2 will launch on February 22nd Looks like it will fold inwards this time. Huawei Despite earlier rumors of Huawei possibly spinning off its consumer business, the company is still pushing ahead with a new flagship phone — a foldable one, even — later this month. According to Huawei’s official Weibo account, the Chinese brand’s next foldable phone is simply called the Mate X2, and it’ll be unveiled on February 22nd. Interestingly, the teaser image suggests that the flexible display will fold inwards this time, as opposed to how the Mate Xs and Mate X had outward-facing foldable screens. Considering that Huawei once shot down prototype designs similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold (and its successor), it’s interesting to see the company doing a literal 180 for its upcoming foldable. As far as official info goes, that’s all we have for now. Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu added that he’s been using a Mate X2 “for some time,” and that it’s “full of surprises.” The man sure likes to tease, but we do wonder how many units will his team be able to ship (not that Huawei ever shared such figures for its foldables), given the severe shortage of Huawei’s very own flagship mobile processors. More importantly, though, is whether Huawei will have enough units to sell outside of China this time. Guess we’ll find out in a few weeks. Source: Huawei's foldable Mate X2 will launch on February 22nd
  7. Huawei CEO says he’d welcome phone call from Biden in first remarks on new U.S. president KEY POINTS Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said he’d welcome a phone call from U.S. President Joe Biden in his first remarks since the change of administration in Washington. “I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said. The Trump administration took actions to hamper Huawei’s access to key software and components. Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei speaking with CNBC at Huawei headquaters in Shenzhen, China. Justin Solomon | CNBC TAIYUAN, China — Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said he’d welcome a phone call from U.S. President Joe Biden, in his first public remarks since the change of administration in Washington. Ren is hoping for a softer approach toward the Chinese telecommunication giant he founded after around two years of pressure from Washington. Huawei was labeled a national security threat under the Trump administration, which took actions to hamper the company’s access to key software and components. Washington alleged Huawei’s networking equipment could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei has repeatedly denied those claims. “I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said in Chinese comments translated by an official interpreter during a briefing with reporters. “The U.S. wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.” We still hope that we can buy in large volume American materials components as well as equipment so that we can all benefit from China’s growth. Ren Zhengfei CEO, HUAWEI The Huawei boss tried to appeal to the economic interests of American companies, and said some of them have seen their businesses impacted from not being able to supply to the Chinese firm. “If Huawei’s production capacity can be expanded, that would mean more opportunities for U.S. companies to supply too. I believe that’s going to be mutually beneficially. I believe that (the) new administration would bear in mind such business interests as they are about to decide their new policy,” Ren said. “We still hope that we can buy in large volume American materials components as well as equipment so that we can all benefit from China’s growth.” Ren was speaking on the sidelines of an event in which Huawei opened a new lab in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan focused on bringing technology to the mining industry. Huawei has been cut off from some technology. In 2019, Huawei was placed on a U.S. Entity List, which restricted American firms from exporting technology to the company. Google is no longer allowed to license its Android mobile operating system to Huawei, a move which has caused the Chinese telecom giant’s global smartphone sales to plunge. The U.S. also moved to cut Huawei off from key chip supplies. ‘Overcome the difficulties’ Ren struck an optimistic tone saying that his confidence “rose” in the last year around “Huawei’s ability to survive.” That came despite the difficulties in their smartphone business as well as some countries over the last 12 month, such as the U.K., blocking Huawei from its 5G market. “We have more means to overcome the difficulties,” Ren said. Huawei also achieved positive revenue and net profit growth for 2020, the CEO said, without giving specific numbers. Revenue for 2019 totaled 858.8 billion yuan ($122.97 billon) while net profit came in at 62.7 billion yuan. Huawei will ‘never’ sell smartphone business Questions about the future of Huawei’s smartphone business have been swirling, given the company has not been able to access chips that were manufactured by TSMC. Those cutting edge chips were part of the reason Huawei was able to rise to one of the biggest smartphone players in the world. In response, Huawei sold off its budget Honor smartphone brand in November, a move that would allow that particular unit to survive and regain access to components. Reuters reported in January that Huawei is also in talks to sell its premium Mate and P brands of smartphones. But Ren said Huawei would “never” sell its smartphone business. He also said that Huawei would not be investing in chip technology. — Correction: This article has been updated to accurately reflect that Huawei’s revenue for 2019 totaled $122.97 billon. A previous version of this story stated the wrong year. Source: Huawei CEO says he’d welcome phone call from Biden in first remarks on new U.S. president
  8. Huawei Listed Anew as Threat to US National Security US regulators on Friday listed Huawei among Chinese telecom gear firms deemed a threat to national security, signaling that a hoped for softening of relations is not in the cards. A roster of communications companies thought to pose "an unacceptable risk" to national security included Huawei Technologies; ZTE; Hytera Communications; Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology. "This list is a big step toward restoring trust in our communications networks," said Federal Communications Commission acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "This list provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat to US national security or the security and safety of Americans." The five Chinese companies that provide communications equipment or services were on a roster compiled by the FCC and the Homeland Security Bureau as per US law. Huawei chief and founder Ren Zhengfei last month called for a reset with the United States under President Joe Biden, after the firm was battered by sanctions imposed by Donald Trump's administration. In his first appearance before journalists in a year, Ren Zhengfei said his "confidence in Huawei's ability to survive has grown" despite its travails across much of the western world where it is maligned as a potential security threat. The comments came as the firm struggled under rules that have effectively banned US firms from selling it technology such as semiconductors and other critical components, citing national security concerns. Insisting that Huawei remained strong and ready to buy from US companies, Ren called on the Biden White House for a "mutually beneficial" change of tack that could restore its access to the goods. Continuing to do so, he warned, would hurt US suppliers. Founded by Ren in 1987, Huawei largely flew under the global radar for decades as it became the world's largest maker of telecoms equipment and a top mobile phone producer. That changed under former president Donald Trump, who targeted the firm as part of an intensifying China-US trade and technology standoff. Trump from 2018 imposed escalating sanctions to cut off Huawei's access to components and bar it from the US market, while he also successfully pressured allies to shun the firm's gear in their telecoms systems. Ren also has had to deal with the December 2018 arrest of his daughter, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, on a US warrant during a Vancouver stopover. Meng, 49, faces fraud and conspiracy charges in the United States over alleged Huawei violations of US sanctions against Iran, and separate charges of theft of trade secrets. Source: Huawei Listed Anew as Threat to US National Security
  9. Mate X2 teaser gives us another look at Huawei's Galaxy Z Fold 2 challenger The Mate X2 will be Huawei's first foldable phone with an inward-folding design. What you need to know Huawei has released a new teaser showing off the design of its next foldable phone. Unlike the company's previous foldables, the Mate X2 will feature an inward-folding screen. The Mate X2 is set to debut in China on February 22. Source: Huawei Huawei is set to announce its third foldable smartphone at an event in China next week. Ahead of the launch event, the company today posted a new teaser on Weibo, hinting at an inward-folding design that looks similar to Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2. The latest teaser shows the Mate X2 from the side, with the screen opened at an angle. Aside from giving us a peek at the phone's hinge, however, the latest teaser doesn't reveal any key specs or features of the Mate X2. So far, Huawei has only confirmed that the foldable will be powered by a 5nm Kirin 9000 chipset. An alleged render of the phone had surfaced earlier this month, revealing a pill-shaped hole-punch cutout on the outer display for dual selfie cameras. The phone's main screen, however, won't include any hole-punch cutout. Source: Digital Chat Station on Weibo According to Chinese tipster Digital Chat Station, the Mate X2 will have an 8.01-inch main display and a 6.45-inch outer display. It will come equipped with a quad-camera setup at the rear with a 50MP main sensor and 10x hybrid optical zoom. Keeping the lights on will be a 4,400mAh battery with support for 66W wired charging speeds. As you would expect from a premium Android device in 2021, the Mate X2 will have 5G support as well. Since Huawei's situation isn't expected to get any better with the Biden administration, it remains unclear if the phone will be sold in markets outside China. Source: Mate X2 teaser gives us another look at Huawei's Galaxy Z Fold 2 challenger
  10. Why Huawei’s founder is sticking with premium smartphones even as sales decline due to US sanctions Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said that Huawei is willing to transfer 5G technology but it will never give up its terminal devices business Analysts say that terminals, or connected devices, play an important role in Huawei’s long term strategy Huawei will have to keep an eye on US government policies to maintain its product competitiveness and supply chain stability, say analysts. Photo: Bloomberg Last week Ren Zhengfei, the founder and CEO of 5G technology leader Huawei Technologies Co, said the company would still be willing to “transfer” its 5G technology but will never give up its smartphone business. “We can transfer 5G technology, but we will never sell our terminal [devices] business,” Ren said during a media round table last Tuesday. Ren made the statement despite the fact that sales of its smartphones – which he described as “terminal devices” because they connect to the network, have been on a downward spiral since the US government introduced trade sanctions barring the company from obtaining US technology. Just last summer, the company briefly became the world’s top smartphone seller, surpassing South Korean giant Samsung Electronics. In the last quarter of 2020, however, the smartphone maker sunk to sixth place, according to shipment figures from Canalys. Huawei is now predicted to fall to seventh place in 2021, according to research company TrendForce. Yet Huawei already has given up some of its smartphone business. In November, it sold its Honor brand to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, a consortium of more than 30 agents and dealers. Since then, rumours have been swirling about Huawei abandoning its high-end smartphones including the Mate and P series. Regardless, Huawei has said it remains committed to its premium smartphones. Indeed, analysts say they are an integral part of Huawei’s overall business. “Terminal devices are an important part of Huawei’s strategy in a lot of ways,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director for mobile devices and ecosystem at Counterpoint. Terminal devices, especially smartphones, help build a strong user base which in turn generates revenue from services, he explained, adding that the best example of this comes from iPhone maker Apple. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei describes terminals as anything that can be connected to people or objects. Photo: EPA-EFE Ren describes terminal devices as anything that can be “connected to people or objects”, so the definition also includes radar systems used in driverless cars and Internet of Things (IoT) devices for smart homes. Terminal is “telco industry lingo” and reflects Huawei’s roots as it has been connecting terminal devices to networks for years, said Bryan Ma, vice-president of devices research at IDC. An important piece of this puzzle is the company’s Harmony operating system which first received attention in August 2019, about three months after the US put Huawei on the Entity List that barred it from shipping Google apps and services on new products, and from buying US components. In September 2020, Huawei announced that it was preparing to switch from Google’s Android operating system to Harmony OS for all of its smartphones starting this year. Harmony OS was not just designed for phones – it can be used with many other categories of connected devices such as tablets, computers and smart TVs – all made by Huawei. For example, it is being used by more than 20 hardware companies, including traditional home appliances companies such as Midea, Joyoung, and Robam Appliances, which have used it to run products such as ovens and smoke exhaust ventilators. Huawei also wants to provide the communications equipment and software required for smart vehicles and has created an Intelligent Automotive Solutions platform, dubbed Huawei HI, powered by HarmonyOS. “To keep its connected ecosystem strategy alive and kicking, Huawei needs to keep its terminal business alive – at least in China, the world’s largest market,” said Pathak, adding that success at home could be translated to other countries with the help of Harmony OS. The biggest hurdle still facing Huawei, however, is the US sanctions which have made sourcing components like semiconductors difficult. Richard Yu Chengdong, then chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, admitted the same in August last year when he said the sanctions would make it difficult for Huawei to produce and ship smartphones incorporating its high-end Kirin chips after 2020. The impact is not limited to smartphones. Huawei’s chip problem is a threat to most of the products in its terminal business, spanning consumer electronics, 5G and automobile communication systems, because they all rely on a raft of different chip products that Huawei cannot currently produce in-house. “I think the chip drain is being felt through the entire spectrum of its terminal businesses,” said Roger Sheng, vice-president and semiconductor analyst with advisory firm Gartner. Huawei said it would be willing to transfer its 5G technology but will never give up its premium smartphone business. Photo: EPA-EFE Huawei still faces “problems on 5G module [chips],” according to a sales manager at Quectel Wireless, a Chinese telecoms company that uses 5G chips designed by Huawei’s chip design unit HiSilicon. Huawei will also have to keep an eye on US government policies to maintain its product competitiveness and supply chain stability, said Pathak. The ecosystem strategy can be difficult to sustain with declining hardware sales, he noted. “If the US government takes a more diplomatic stance towards Chinese companies, including Huawei, then Huawei will have a chance to survive, especially on the terminal devices side, and will have enough volume to keep moving by securing access to components,” Pathak said. Huawei’s consumer electronics group, which includes smartphones, contributed to 54 per cent of its 2019 revenue and was the fastest growing business segment, according to the company’s most recent annual report. However, products defined as “terminal devices” are not broken out by revenue and could include devices from any of its three business groups. Other experts have noted that selling another well-performing business unit will not solve issues from the US trade ban and only cause Huawei to lose a major revenue source. However, Ren said last week: “We think our new business development can offset the decrease in revenue in our smartphone business this year.” Huawei has pushed into new growth areas such as smart vehicles, while doubling down on existing businesses such as cloud services. While Ren said he has confidence in Huawei’s ability to survive, he added that he thinks it would be “extremely difficult” to remove Huawei from the US Entity List. Source: Why Huawei’s founder is sticking with premium smartphones even as sales decline due to US sanctions
  11. The UK has decided to allow Huawei hardware in non-critical areas of 5G networks The UK government has announced that it will allow telecoms firms to continue using Huawei equipment in their 5G networks, but with restrictions. The government decided that only 35% of a network, including masts, can be supplied by Huawei. Further, it has said that Huawei hardware can’t be used in sensitive parts of the network, nor can it be used near military bases nor nuclear sites. Commenting on the decision, Huawei’s UK chief Victor Zhang said: “Huawei is reassured by the UK government's confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.” According to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, an “ambitious strategy” is currently been drawn up in order to diversify the supply chain. With this plan, the government hopes to attract vendors that don’t yet operate in the UK, it also plans to promote the adoption of open standards which will allow for interoperability and reduce barriers to entry. The DCMS said today’s decision will substantially improve the security and resilience of the UK’s 5G networks. With the completion of the review, the National Cyber Security Centre has also published advice for UK telecoms to follow in order to meet the new requirements. Source: BBC News Source: The UK has decided to allow Huawei hardware in non-critical areas of 5G networks (Neowin)
  12. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to pass the Secure and Trusted Telecommunications Networks Act. Written as a response to recent concerns around Chinese hardware manufacturers, the bill would ban purchase of telecom equipment from embattled Chinese manufactures like Huawei and ZTE. H.R. 4998, which passed the House last December, would also include $1 billion in funding to help smaller rural telecoms “rip and replace” existing equipment from specific manufacturers. The bill still needs to be signed off by Trump in order to become a law, though Politico notes that the administration has already acknowledged support for the funding, which would be managed by the FCC. “Telecommunications equipment from certain foreign adversaries poses a significant threat to our national security, economic prosperity, and the future of U.S. leadership in advanced wireless technology,” Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said of the bipartisan bill in a statement. “By establishing a ‘rip and replace’ program, this legislation will provide meaningful safeguards for our communications networks and more secure connections for Americans. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to help move this bill to the President’s desk.” Huawei in particular has been the focus of U.S. concern over alleged ties to the Chinese government for a number of years. The Trump administration has targeted the company over spying concerns — charges Huawei has long staunchly denied. Last May, the company was added to an entity list, effectively barring U.S. companies from conducting business with the hardware giant. Source
  13. Google wants to clear things up for Huawei device users: Google’s apps and services cannot be preloaded on new Huawei devices and are not available due to U.S. government restrictions. If users try to download Google apps and services through a side door, or essentially download them from somewhere other than the Play Store, bad things can happen. The company published this information in a support article for its Android Help Community, titled “Answering your questions on Huawei devices and Google,” on Friday. It said that it had continued to receive many questions on whether Google services could work on new Huawei devices, and therefore wanted to offer guidance. The U.S. government banned Google, and all American companies, from doing business with Huawei in May of last year due to national security concerns. In the article, Google stated that it has continued to work with Huawei to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on Huawei device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019. That’s when the company was placed on the Entity List, the U.S. government’s blacklist. The U.S. government has issued temporary general licenses that allow Google to collaborate with Huawei on these models. Google said that it would continue to provide updates to the Huawei devices mentioned above “as long as it is permitted.” The company cannot provide updates to new Huawei devices made available after May 16, 2019. These new models are not certified Play Protect devices, or devices that are vetted by Google to ensure they are secure, and they do not have the Play Protect software preloaded. Google’s Play Protect software is built-in malware protection for Android. “To protect user data privacy, security and safeguard the overall experience, the Google Play Store, Google Play Protect and Google’s core apps (including Gmail, YouTube, Maps and others) are only available on Play Protect certified devices,” wrote Tristan Ostrowski, Android and Play legal director. “Play Protect certified devices go through a rigorous security review and compatibility testing process, performed by Google, to ensure user data and app information are kept safe. They also come from the factory with our Google Play Protect software, which provides protection against the device being compromised.” However, there is another way to get Google apps and services. This is called sideloading, or downloading an app from some place other than the Play Store. In the article, Google advises users not to do this, for their own security. “In addition, sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.” Unfortunately for Huawei device users, the situation between the U.S. and Huawei doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The U.S. government has recently claimed that it has proof that Huawei has “back doors” built-in that allow it to spy on mobile phone networks employing Huawei equipment. It also charged Huawei with three new crimes: conspiracy to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy. At least for now, it looks like new Huawei device users will have to get used to living life without Google. Source
  14. Huawei announces the Mate XS foldable with a more durable display and faster processor And with a very familiar form factor One year after it announced its debut Mate X foldable, Huawei is back with a successor, the Mate XS. Although, externally, the device looks very similar to the original, Huawei says it’s got a more durable display and features a redesigned hinge. It also features a faster processor, the Kirin 990. Unfortunately, due to Huawei’s continued presence on the US’s entity list, the device won’t release with any Google apps or services, meaning it won’t come with access to the Google Play Store. It will be releasing in “global markets” outside China next month for €2,499. This time around, Huawei says it’s using a “quad-layer” construction for the screen on the Mate XS, which it says should make it more robust. Up top are two layers of polyamide film, which were stuck together using a clear adhesive. Below that is the flexible OLED display. Then there’s a softer polymer layer that acts as a cushion and a final layer to connect it to the main body of the device. However, this is still an all-plastic construction; there’s no glass involved here like what we’ve seen with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip. The screen measures 6.6 inches while folded... ...and 8 inches when unfolded. Huawei also claims it’s improved the design of the hinge, saying it should feel much smoother and more durable compared to the original Mate X. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to fold the original device to do a direct comparison, but the Mate XS model I was able to play with at the company’s London briefing felt sturdy enough in the limited time I got to spend with it. These two improvements may sound iterative, but they address key concerns that have been raised about early and relatively unproven foldable devices. As well as the high-profile issues Samsung’s first Galaxy Fold faced last year, one reviewer found their Motorola Razr was experiencing difficulties after a week of use. And YouTube channel JerryRigEverything criticized how easy it was to scratch the screen on a Galaxy Z Flip, despite the use of glass in its construction. Outside of the foldable-specific elements of the device, there are some minor performance upgrades that feel fitting given the device’s “S” suffix. Its processor has been bumped up from a Kirin 980 to a Kirin 990, meaning it now has an integrated 5G modem rather than a separate component. Huawei also says it’s redesigned the phone’s cooling system to allow it to bridge the folding portion of the device. The Mate Xs has a quad-camera array on its rear that can also be used for selfies. The phone’s screen can display up to three apps at a time. On the software side, Huawei says the Mate XS can show up to three apps simultaneously, with one on the left side of the display, one on the right, and a third in a floating window. You can also open up two instances of the same app simultaneously. For example, you might want to keep a list of hotels open at the same time as viewing individual listings. Huawei confirmed that the device is running on the latest version of the open-source version of Android, with Huawei Mobile Services instead of Google’s services. Otherwise, the device has similar specs to the original Mate X. 5G isn’t new, the device has a 4,500mAh battery like its predecessor, and the camera hardware still consists of a main 40-megapixel f/1.8 camera, an 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto camera, a 16-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide camera, and a 3D depth-sensing camera. The screen specifications and overall form factor are also unchanged. The 8-inch screen still folds around the outside of the device, and the main display still measures 6.6 inches when folded. Unlike the original Mate X, which only released in China, Huawei says the new Mate XS will be releasing in “global markets.” The €2,499 model comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage. Photography by Jon Porter / The Verge Source: Huawei announces the Mate XS foldable with a more durable display and faster processor (The Verge)
  15. We couldn't have anyone upsetting the Android monopoly, could we? As Huawei takes the initiative to create its own homegrown alternative to the Play Store, Google has reportedly pleaded with the White House to offer it an exemption to again work with the Chinese tech giant. Huawei's inclusion on the Trump administration's Entity List has had dramatic consequences for the company's handset business, preventing it from using Google Mobile Services (GMS) on its latest phones and tablets. According to German wire service Deutsche Press Agentur, Android and Google Play veep Sameer Samat has confirmed that Google has applied for a licence to resume working with Huawei. It's not clear when a decision will be made, or indeed if Google will get its wish. Other firms, most notably Microsoft, have been given a pass. This has allowed Huawei to ship its latest crop of laptops, including the freshly updated Matebook X Pro, with Windows 10. Huawei has said that if Google got an exemption, it would promptly update its newest phones to use Google Mobile Services. Earlier this month, Huawei released its latest flagship, the Mate 30 Pro, in the UK. Due to the embargo, this comes with the open-source version of Android, with punters encouraged to download apps from the Huawei AppGallery, or a separate third-party app store like Amazon's. That said, Huawei's strategy has focused on hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. These preparations have seen the firm invest over $1bn on its app ecosystem, with more than 3,000 engineers working on the AppGallery, according to a statement from the company released earlier this week. It has also made deals with Western app developers and content providers, most notably Sunday Times publisher News UK, to make its services appear less barren. We've asked Google and Huawei for comment. Huawei has also introduced the ability to download progressive web apps, dubbed "Quick Apps" by the firm, through the AppGallery, which should bump up the app availability numbers – even if they lack the sophistication of a dedicated native app. It's likely this that has motivated Google to take the initiative. Although losing Huawei as a customer is a significant financial body blow to Mountain View, given its enduring popularity in Europe and Asia, it would pale compared to the damage caused by a new product that starts to loosen its stranglehold on the Android sphere. Google Mobile Services can cost as much as $40 per device, and it's likely that many phone vendors, particularly on the cheaper end of the spectrum, would welcome a less-expensive alternative. Complicating matters for Google, the biggest Chinese phone manufacturers (Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei) have teamed up to simplify the process of deploying apps to their in-house stores. With Google claiming a cool 30 per cent on all Play Store sales, this represents a huge threat to its bottom line. In short, Google has a lot of motivation to rekindle its relationship with Huawei, which was severed for reasons beyond its control. Whether that happens has yet to be confirmed by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Source
  16. US may subsidize Huawei alternatives with proposed $1.25 billion fund Democrats and Republicans pitch $1.25 billion fund to boost non-Huawei 5G tech. Enlarge / Huawei sign displayed at CES 2020 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Getty Images | Bloomberg The US government should spend at least $1.25 billion "to invest in Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE," a bipartisan group of six US senators said yesterday. The senators submitted legislation called the Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act to make that happen, arguing that the US must counter the Chinese government's investments in the telecom sector. The money would come from spectrum-auction proceeds, and the $1.25 billion in grants would be spread out over 10 years. The money would support development of new 5G technology, with a focus on equipment that complies with open standards to ensure "multi-vendor network equipment interoperability." The senators' announcement said: Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, Huawei is poised to become the leading commercial provider of 5G, with far-reaching effects for US economic and national security. With close ties to the Communist Party of China, Chinese state-directed technology companies present unacceptable risks to our national security and to the integrity of information networks globally. However, US efforts to convince foreign partners to ban Huawei from their networks have stalled amid concerns about a lack of viable, affordable alternatives. The senators who sponsored the legislation are Mark R. Warner (D-Va.); Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Bob Menendez (D-N.J.); Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Michael Bennet (D-Colo.); and John Cornyn (R-Texas). Burr and Warner are the chair and vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, while Cornyn, Rubio, and Bennet are members of that committee. Menendez is ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rubio is also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. "Every month that the US does nothing, Huawei stands poised to become the cheapest, fastest, most ubiquitous global provider of 5G, while US and Western companies and workers lose out on market share and jobs," Warner said. Burr said it would be "disastrous if Huawei, a company that operates at the behest of the Chinese government, military, and intelligence services, is allowed to take over the 5G market unchecked." Two funds The senators' bill would create a Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund of at least $750 million and a Multilateral Telecommunications Security Fund of at least $500 million. The $750 million fund would be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), but the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies would help establish criteria for awarding grants. Those grants would pay for research into software, hardware, and microprocessor technology "that will enhance competitiveness" in 5G "and successor wireless technology supply chains." This fund would also support "development and deployment of open interface standards-based compatible, interoperable equipment," including equipment that meets the Open Radio Access Network standard (O-RAN). Individual grants could be as high as $20 million each. The senators said they want to support O-RAN to "allow for alternative vendors to enter the market for specific network components, rather than having to compete with Huawei end-to-end." The $500 million multilateral fund would be administered by the Secretary of State and focus on projects involving the United States and other countries. The Secretary of State would have to strike "agreement(s) with foreign government partners" to fund projects that "support the development and adoption of secure and trusted telecommunications technologies." Under this plan, the US would try to get funding commitments from countries involved in the proposed joint projects. “Race” to 5G? The senators said these funds will help the US win "the race for 5G." The Federal Communications Commission's Republican majority has repeatedly cited the "race to 5G" as justification for eliminating federal rules and preempting municipal regulations that cover deployment of wireless equipment in US cities and towns. Whether there is actually a "race" between the US and China when it comes to deploying 5G to each country's residents is debatable. The US switching from 4G to 5G slightly later than China wouldn't prevent the US from getting the benefits of 5G, such as they are: carriers admit that 5G networks based on millimeter-wave frequencies won't come close to covering the whole US and that 5G on lower-frequency bands will only be slightly faster than 4G. Moreover, the US faces more pressing problems because many rural areas don't even have consistent 4G access, and most US homes lack fiber broadband. Fiber, in addition to providing high-speed home Internet, is crucial for supplying bandwidth to 5G networks. But ISPs don't want to spend the money to deploy nationwide fiber, and the FCC's planned $20 billion rural-broadband fund will pay ISPs to deploy either fiber or services that are much slower and come with restrictive data caps. But for both mobile and home broadband networks, expanding alternatives to Huawei and ZTE network gear is important for meeting the US government's goal of phasing out Chinese telecom equipment. That's particularly true for small, rural ISPs that have relied on the Chinese companies' offerings. The FCC in November voted unanimously to ban Huawei and ZTE equipment in projects paid for by the FCC's Universal Service Fund (USF), saying the equipment could have backdoors installed at the behest of the Chinese government. This ban affects only future projects and the use of federal funding to maintain existing equipment, but the FCC may also eventually require removal of Huawei and ZTE gear from networks that have already been built. Huawei has sued the FCC in an attempt to overturn the ban, saying the commission "fail[ed] to substantiate its arbitrary findings with evidence or sound reasoning or analysis." How carriers, particularly small carriers, will pay for a move away from Chinese equipment is an open question. The FCC is seeking public comment on how to pay for removing and replacing the equipment. The new bill for 5G research doesn't allocate funding directly toward replacing Chinese equipment in current networks, but senators said the bill "create(s) a transition plan for the purchase of new equipment by carriers that will be forward-compatible with forthcoming O-RAN equipment so small and rural carriers are not left behind." If the bill passes, recipients of FCC grants for replacing Chinese equipment with new 5G technology would have to submit plans outlining how they will switch to standards-based equipment. Source: US may subsidize Huawei alternatives with proposed $1.25 billion fund (Ars Technica)
  17. In the spirit of the age, Huawei releases the source code of openEuler to Gitee, a Chinese alternative to Github Huawei's openEuler Linux OS has been released on Gitee Huawei has released the source code of openEuler, its distribution of Linux based on CentOS. However, in the spirit of the age, it has published the source code of its Linux distribution on Gitee, rather than Github. The operating system was formally launched by Huawei in September 2019 in response to US sanctions, which had briefly affected the company's access to Windows and Android operating systems. The company is still running under its second three-month extension exempting it from the full provisions of the US government's Entity List, which ordinarily requires a US company to apply for and receive a licence to trade with a named ‘entity'. OpenEuler comprises two organisations on Gitee, one for source code and one for package sources. The openEuler organisation was keen to highlight two particular packages, iSulad and A-Tune, among the openEuler source code. "iSulad is a lightweight gRPC service-based container runtime. Compared to runc, iSulad is written in C, but all interfaces are compatible with OCI. A-Tune is a system software to auto-optimise the system adaptively to multiple scenarios with embedded AI-engine." The announcement continues: "You will also see several infrastructure-supported projects that set up the community's operating systems… these systems are built on the Huawei Cloud through script automation." Among the package sources, covered by the src-openeuler organisation on Gitee, are around 1,000 packages with versions in both ARM64 and X86 architecture packages. Huawei claims its developers have made a number of enhancements to ARM64 openEuler code to improve multi-core efficiency. It is also working on a ‘green computing' ecosystem with Linaro and the Green Industry Alliance. At the moment, the organisation claims, there are more than 50 contributors and just under 600 commits. The openEuler community has around 20 SIGs or project groups. OpenEuler is intended primarily as an enterprise Linux distribution, rather than for enthusiasts and hobbyists. The US Entity List is a security designation of the Department of Commerce of organisations considered a security threat by the US government, or subject to sanctions. While US companies or companies exporting goods and services with US content are not banned from doing business with them, they must first obtain an export licence. These licences are time consuming to apply for - presenting a barrier to trade - and can be revoked at any time. Huawei currently enjoys a three-month Temporary General Licence enabling it to continue trading with US organisations, licence free, which will expire in February. By that time, the Department of Commerce is expected to be able to support the 300-plus applications that Huawei's inclusion onto the Entity List has attracted. Source
  18. Denied — Judge rules a 2019 law singling out Huawei is constitutional Judge says ban on Huawei purchases isn't an unconstitutional bill of attainder. Enlarge / A customer looks at a Huawei smartphone in a Huawei store in Moscow. Sergei Karpukhin / TASS via Getty Images A federal judge has slapped down a Huawei lawsuit that sought to overturn a ban on federal agencies buying Huawei telecommunications gear. Congress passed the legislation, part of the military's 2019 appropriations bill, out of concern that the Chinese government could infiltrate Huawei-based networks. Huawei had argued that the law was unconstitutional under the Constitution's ban on bills of attainder. The federal government argued that was nonsense. On Tuesday, Texas Federal Judge Amos Mazzant sided with the government. The Constitution prohibits Congress from imposing "bills of attainder"—legislation that singles out individuals for punishment without trial. This was an infamous practice in Great Britain in the decades before the American Revolution. Huawei argued that it was a "person" under US law and hence entitled to this protection. The judge disagreed. Even if you grant the premise that Huawei is a person, he said, the ban on buying Huawei and ZTE equipment simply wasn't the kind of punishment prohibited by the bill of attainder rule. Congress' ban on federal agencies purchasing a range of telecom products from Huawei and ZTE "represents no more than a customer's decision to take its business elsewhere," Mazzant wrote. Corporations don’t get embarrassed or lose friends Huawei claimed that Congress passed the ban on buying Huawei equipment to punish Huawei. If true, that could make the law unconstitutional. The government countered that what it did was simply a pragmatic decision to shore up national security. A key factor here is whether a measure brands the target with a badge of "disloyalty and infamy." In a 2003 ruling, for example, an appeals court ruled that it was unconstitutional for Congress to restrict a specific man's right to visit his daughter based on allegations that he had sexually abused her. The problem, the court said, wasn't only the loss of the visitation rights itself, but also the embarrassment of being publicly branded a sexual abuser by Congress. Banning Huawei from selling gear to the federal government is totally different, the judge ruled. Corporations can't feel embarrassed, and they don't have to worry about losing friends. The legislation left Huawei with plenty of other opportunities: it was free to sell its gear to private parties in the United States as well as to thousands of potential customers, public and private, outside the United States. Judge Mazzant pointed to a similar ruling made by another court in 2018. In that case, Kaspersky challenged a provision of the 2018 National Defense Appropriations Act that banned federal agencies from doing business with Russian IT security firm Kaspersky Lab. As in the Huawei case, legislators were worried that Kaspersky could have deep ties to a foreign government—in this case, Russia. But Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a federal trial judge in Washington DC, rejected Kaspersky's arguments. She ruled that the government choosing not to buy a company's product was simply not a punishment—particularly if the decision is based on a weighty concern like national security. "Corporations are very different," she wrote. "Reputation is an asset that companies cultivate, manage, and monetize. It is not a quality integral to a company's emotional well-being, and its diminution exacts no psychological cost." Mazzant repeatedly cites Kollar-Kotelly's reasoning in his own ruling, arguing that precisely the same logic applies. To bolster its claim that the legislation was punitive, Huawei quoted several members of Congress that appear to show an intent to punish. Huawei and ZTE "have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and at this point I think the only fitting punishment would be to give them the death penalty-that is, to put them out of business in the United States," said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in 2018. But Mazzant waved those examples away, arguing that they represent the views of a few individual legislators, not the intent of the Congress as a whole. He argued that congressional intent is better judged by looking at the actual text of the legislation as well as official congressional findings the law was based on. Those documents, Mazzant concluded, show that Congress was focused on protecting US federal networks from Chinese hackers, not on punishing Huawei for perceived misconduct in the past. Source: Judge rules a 2019 law singling out Huawei is constitutional (Ars Technica)
  19. President slams his own administration's 'ridiculous' China crackdown President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wants America's semiconductor industry to be able to do business around the globe, calling into question a reported trade rule change targeting Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei. The Wall Street Journal on Monday claimed the US Commerce Department is drafting changes to its foreign direct product rule that would require all companies using US chipmaking equipment to obtain licenses to sell their products to Huawei. Such a rule would, say, block Huawei from buying chips made by Taiwan's TSMC, due to the latter's use of American equipment and software. The possibility was contemplated last year after Trump declared a national emergency to prevent stateside organizations from using Chinese telecom gear. Back then, Uncle Sam also forbid Huawei and its partners from purchasing certain components and software from American businesses, a move that, for one, hit Huawei's FPGA supplier Xilinx, based in Silicon Valley. The WSJ this week reported these rules and regulations were set to be tightened even further. And for the past year, Huawei has been the focal point of US-China friction over trade and national security. Last week, the US issued a 16-count indictment against the company for racketing, fraud, and other charges. Yet in a series of tweets and in comments to the press before boarding Air Force One en route to Los Angeles, Trump indicated he opposed trade rules that would harm US businesses. "I have seen some of the regulations being circulated, including those being contemplated by Congress, and they are ridiculous," he wrote. "I want to make it EASY to do business with the United States, not difficult. Everyone in my Administration is being so instructed, with no excuses.......THE UNITED STATES IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!" While on the tarmac at Andrews Airforce Base, a reporter asked whether the President's remarks about wanting China to be able to buy US jet engines meant he was unconcerned about national security. Trump responded by insisting he's "very concerned about national security" and that "nobody has done a better job with national security than me." Rather than support that claim, he observed, "A lot of countries are a lot different now than they were when I started." Trump went on to say that he didn't want to sacrifice US companies on the basis of "fake national security." People, he said, without naming names, are "getting carried away." "...I want our companies to be allowed to do business," he said. "I mean, things are put on my desk that have nothing to do with national security, including with chipmakers and various others." In a statement emailed to The Register, John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents about 95 per cent of the US semiconductor industry, welcomed the ostensible clarification. "We applaud President Trump’s tweets supporting US companies being able to sell products to China and opposing proposed regulations that would unduly curtail that ability," said Neuffer. "As we have discussed with the Administration, sales of non-sensitive, commercial products to China drive semiconductor research and innovation, which is critical to America’s economic strength and national security." Even so, chipmakers might want to keep an eye on US trade rules. What's true today may not be true tomorrow. Source
  20. Ratcheting up its pressure campaign against Huawei and its affiliates, the Department of Justice and the FBI announced today that it has brought 16 charges against Huawei in a sprawling case with major geopolitical implications (you can read the full 56-page indictment here). Huawei is being charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute. The DoJ alleges that Huawei and a number of its affiliates used confidential agreements with American companies over the past two decades to access the trade secrets of those companies, only to then misappropriate that intellectual property and use it to fund Huawei’s business. An example of this activity is provided in the indictment. Described as “Company 1,” Huawei is alleged to have stolen source code for Company 1’s routers, which it then used in its own products. Given the context, it is highly likely that Company 1 is Cisco, which in the indictment is summarized as “a U.S. technology company headquartered in the Northern District of California.” Huawei is also alleged to have engaged in more simple forms of industrial espionage. While at a trade show in Chicago, a Huawei-affiliated engineer “… was discovered in the middle of the night after the show had closed for the day in the booth of a technology company … removing the cover from a networking device and taking photographs of the circuitry inside. Individual-3 wore a badge listing his employer as ‘Weihua,’ HUAWEI spelled with its syllables reversed.” Huawei said that the individual in question did so in a personal capacity. In one case, a technology company looking for a partnership with Huawei sent over a presentation deck with confidential information about its business in order to generate commercial interest with Huawei. From the indictment: Immediately upon receipt of the slide deck, each page of which was marked ‘Proprietary and Confidential’ by Company 6, HUAWEI distributed the slide deck to HUAWEI engineers, including engineers in the subsidiary that was working on technology that directly competed with Company 6’s products and services. These engineers discussed developments by Company 6 that would have application to HUAWEI’s own prototypes then under design. Together, the indictment lists multiple examples of Huawei’s alleged conspiracy to pilfer U.S. intellectual property. According to the statement published by the Department of Justice, “As part of the scheme, Huawei allegedly launched a policy instituting a bonus program to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors. The policy made clear that employees who provided valuable information were to be financially rewarded.” Per the indictment: A ‘competition management group’ was tasked with reviewing the submissions and awarding monthly bonuses to the employees who provided the most valuable stolen information. In addition to conspiracy, Huawei and the defendants are charged with lying to federal investigators and obstructing the investigation into the company’s activity. Per the indictment: For example, an official HUAWEI manual labeled ‘Top Secret’ instructed certain individuals working for HUAWEI to conceal their employment with HUAWEI during encounters with foreign law enforcement officials. Furthermore, Huawei has been charged in connection with its activities in countries like Iran and North Korea. The DoJ’s statement alleges that Huawei used code words and carefully selected local partners to conceal its activities in these states in order to avoid international sanctions that are placed on the two countries. It also alleges that the company and its representatives lied to congressional investigators when asked about the company’s financial activities in the two countries. Among the defendants is Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei who has been under house arrest in Canada while facing charges of fraud. The top two senators on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) said in a joint statement that “The indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate organization that lacks any regard for the law.” Huawei, in response to the indictment, said in a corporate statement that “This new indictment is part of the Justice Department’s attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement. The ‘racketeering enterprise’ that the government charged today is nothing more than a contrived repackaging of a handful of civil allegations that are almost 20 years old and that have never been the basis of any significant monetary judgment against Huawei. The government will not prevail on these charges which we will prove to be both unfounded and unfair.“ The Trump administration has made targeting Huawei a major priority, attempting to block its access to Western markets. The administration’s efforts have mostly been fruitless thus far, with both the United Kingdom and Germany in recent weeks allowing the company’s technology products into their telecommunications networks. We have more coverage on these initiatives in an article TechCrunch published this morning: The full list of defendants include Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.; Huawei Device Co., Ltd.; Huawei Device Usa Inc.; Futurewei Technologies, Inc.; Skycom Tech Co., Ltd.; and Wanzhou Meng. Huawei representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Source
  21. Vodafone announces Huawei equipment removal from its 5G network's sensitive core Vodafone has announced that it will remove Huawei equipment from the sensitive areas of its 5G network. The decision will affect its operations across Europe after the UK recently made a decision on whether the Chinese firm should have a presence in networks inside the country. Under the new rules in the UK, telecoms can continue using Huawei technology but only in 35% of the network and in non-sensitive parts such as the network’s core. Commenting on the move, Chief Executive Nick Read said: “We have now decided as a result of the EU toolbox and the UK government’s decision to take out Huawei from the core. This will take around five years to implement at a cost of approximately 200 million euros.” Vodafone’s estimate of the bill is lower than that of BT which said removing Huawei from part of its network would cost it £500 million over five years. O2 and Three also operate 5G networks in the UK and will have to look at amending their networks to meet the new guidelines. According to the UK government, the new proposals to limit Huawei’s involvement in the UK networks will lead to a more diverse range of hardware manufacturers being included. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said it’s now drawing up plans to help diversify the supply chain and see the adoption of open standards that will allow easier access for new entrants into the sector. Source: Vodafone announces Huawei equipment removal from its 5G network's sensitive core (Neowin)
  22. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 5-0 Friday to designate China’s Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, barring their U.S. rural carrier customers from tapping an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment. The U.S. telecommunications regulator also voted to propose requiring those carriers to remove and replace equipment from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp from existing networks. The move could eliminate a key source of funding for Huawei’s biggest U.S. business - telecoms equipment. This is the latest in a series of actions by the U.S. government aimed at barring American companies from purchasing Huawei and ZTE equipment. Huawei and ZTE will have 30 days to contest the designation and a final order compelling removal of equipment is not expected until next year at the earliest. Huawei called the order “unlawful” and asked the FCC “to rethink its profoundly mistaken order.” It argued the FCC’s decision was based “on nothing more than irrational speculation and innuendo.” In May, Trump signed a long-awaited executive order declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies posing a national security risk. The Trump administration also added Huawei to its trade blacklist in May, citing national security concerns. FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, a Democrat, said it could cost as much as $2 billion to replace the equipment in U.S. rural networks. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai first proposed in March 2018 to bar companies that posed a national security risk from receiving funds from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund, but did not name Huawei or ZTE. The fund provides subsidies to provide service in rural or hard-to-reach areas, and to libraries and schools. “Given the threats posed by Huawei and ZTE to America’s security and our 5G future, this FCC will not sit idly by and hope for the best,” Pai said on Friday. “This is not a political issue.” The FCC argued the companies’ ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus, and Chinese laws requiring that such companies assist the Chinese government with intelligence activities, pose a U.S. national security risk. Congress has been considering legislation to authorize up to $1 billion for providers to replace network equipment from the Chinese companies. The FCC could tap its fund to pay for replacing equipment if Congress does not act. About a dozen rural U.S. telecom carriers that depend on inexpensive Huawei and ZTE switches and equipment were in discussion with Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and Nokia (NOKIA.HE) to replace their Chinese equipment, Reuters reported in June. On Monday, the Commerce Department issued a new 90-day temporary license to allow U.S. firms to do business with Huawei to minimize the impact on rural U.S. carriers. The Rural Wireless Association said Friday it remains “cautiously optimistic” that the order will allow carriers to “maintain existing critical communications services so long” as government funds are not used to fund Huawei or ZTE directly or indirectly. The United States has been pressing nations not to grant Huawei access to 5G networks and alleged Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese company has repeatedly denied. U.S. Attorney General William Barr this week backed the FCC proposal, saying the two Chinese firms “cannot be trusted” and calling them “a threat to our collective security.” Source
  23. The US gives Huawei its third 90-day support exemption from export ban US kicks the can down the road again, hopes carriers will replace Chinese equipment. Enlarge / A sign outside Huawai's offices in Santa Clara, California, August 17, 2017. Getty Images | Smith Collection/Gado For six months now, the Trump Administration has banned US companies from doing business with Huawei. Nearly the entire time, there has also been a "temporary general export license" provision that allows current Huawei customers to continue to receive support for existing devices. The original order in May gave existing customers a 90-day license, and it was then extended for another 90 days after that. That leads us to November 18, and today the US has given Huawei a third 90-day support window. Huawei is the world's largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer and second largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung (and before Apple). The company doesn't have a huge presence in the US, in part because the US House Intelligence Committee has for years flagged Huawei as security threat thanks to its close ties to the Chinese government. The US government has banned federal agencies from using Huawei equipment, and it has used political pressure to shut down consumer deals with US carriers. Huawei has still managed to get some telecommunication equipment in the US, though, particularly thanks to rural carriers in states like Wyoming and Oregon. A coalition of these smaller carriers, the Rural Wireless Association, estimates that replacing Huawei and ZTE equipment could cost its members up to a billion dollars. “There are enough problems with telephone service in the rural communities—we don’t want to knock them out," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network on Friday. "So, one of the main purposes of the temporary general licenses is to let those rural guys continue to operate.” As far as smartphones go, Huawei could possibly build hardware without further assistance from US companies, but doing it without US software is tough. The company has already had to ship the Mate 30 Pro in Europe without the Google apps, meaning it's one of the few Android smartphones that doesn't come with Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and the Play Store (which provides access to 2.8 million Android apps). For now, Huawei is focusing on Android with its "Huawei Mobile Services" in lieu of Google apps. Huawei Mobile Services have been up and running in China for some time since Google Play is not available in China. The company is also working on its own operating system called "HarmonyOS," but the company said that won't be ready for smartphones for at least three years. In the lead-up to today's expiration or renewal deadline, Huawei has been out in force in the media. The overall messaging has been "the US needs Huawei more than Huawei needs the US." For instance, Huawei's Chairman, Liang Hua, told CNBC today, “No matter whether there will be an extension, in terms of its real impact on Huawei, it will be very limited. Our products are able to be shipped without the reliance on the US components and chips.” In translated remarks, Liang said banning Huawei would “pose a bigger damage” to the US than it would to Huawei, and the move would "only damage the broadband network suppliers in those rural areas. It would only cause a bigger digital divide in the US.” This latest 90-day extension means we should be dealing with this again on February 17, 2020. Source: The US gives Huawei its third 90-day support exemption from export ban (Ars Technica)
  24. Huawei finally ships the foldable Mate X, complete with a protective pouch For now it's only in China, but the market's second major foldable is finally out. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Huawei's futuristic foldable smartphone, the Huawei Mate X, is finally a real product. The phone went on sale in China today for the heart-stopping price of $2,421 (16,999 yuan). Just like that other foldable smartphone on the market, the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X had a very bumpy road on its way to market full of delays and setbacks. The phone was originally scheduled for release in "the middle of the year," but in the midst of the US' Huawei export ban and the Galaxy Fold's initial delay, Huawei opted to delay the Mate X. The new launch target was September, but when September rolled around, the phone was delayed again to today's November 15 launch date. Not much has changed since the initial announcement. Wrapped around the body of the Mate X is a flexible OLED display made by BOE. The panel is an 8-inch 2480×2200 tablet when open. When closed, it splits into a 2480×1148, 6.6-inch display on the front and a 6.3-inch, 2480×892 display on the back. The back is a bit smaller because it also houses the component bar, which is the one section of the phone that doesn't split in half. This thicker section houses important components like the three cameras, a power button, a fingerprint reader, and a USB-C port on the bottom. The internals are a Huawei Kirin 980 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a huge 4500mAh battery. 5G support is mandatory in this phone, thanks to the "Balong 5000" modem included in all models. Keep in mind this is only for China's (and the rest of the world's) "mid-band" 5G, not the US' "mmWave" 5G. They are two totally different technologies on different chunks of the spectrum. The Huawei Mate X is a unique design even within the emerging foldables market so far. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, which puts the foldable display on the inside of the device and opens up like a book, the Mate X wraps the display around the outside of the device. The Mate X design has a few advantages: it can be a phone when folded up and a tablet when unfolded, and it does this all with a single screen, unlike the two screens (inside and outside) that are on the Galaxy Fold. By wrapping the display around the outside of the phone body, the Mate X doesn't put a hard crease in the display, like the Galaxy Fold does. A single camera can act as both the "front" selfie camera and "rear" main camera, just by flipping the phone around. The major downside to this design is that, for now, the only flexible display cover on the market is a delicate soft plastic. The plastic display covers are easy to scratch, dent, and permanently damage. The Galaxy Fold protects the soft display by putting it on the inside of the phone, so when it's closed, it's not exposed to the world. With the display on the outside, the soft, delicate plastic is going to be constantly grinding against whatever's on the table, or whatever's in your pocket, so the durability of the Mate X is a serious concern. Huawei seems to have a solution, though. Enlarge / The Mate X's protective case. Huawei This a protective leather handbag that seems to ship with the phone. It's an envelope style design, and you can't use the phone at all when it's in the case. It's unclear when exactly you're expected to use this. Taking the phone in and out of the case every time you use it would be incredibly cumbersome. Does it come with a belt loop like an old-school Blackberry? Many people use protective cases on their smartphones like a rubber bumper, which allows you to use the phone while having a protective ring of rubber along the outside. It's hard to imagine a case in that style that would protect the Mate X design while it's in use. Someday, it sounds like we're going to have flexible glass for these foldable devices, and then a design like this will be a lot more feasible. Corning is working on a foldable version of Gorilla Glass, and Samsung has teamed up with a fellow Korean company called "Dowoo Insys" to make an "ultra-thin glass" that will be used in future Samsung foldables. For now, however, we only have scratchable plastic, and the Mate X seems ahead of its time. It's not clear if the Mate X will ever leave China. Any foldable at this point is going to be a very expensive, borderline experimentation device with limited appeal. For Huawei specifically, it is still dealing with the fallout from the US export ban. The last phone it launched in Europe, the Mate 30 Pro, didn't come with Google apps. Source: Huawei finally ships the foldable Mate X, complete with a protective pouch (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  25. Huawei expected to get another six months license extension to work with U.S. companies The Commerce Department is expected to grant Huawei a six-month extension that will allow it to do limited business with U.S. companies. The Commerce Department put Huawei and other Chinese companies on an Entity list earlier this year which prevented them from doing business with U.S. companies. However, it granted the Chinese company a 3-month temporary waiver which allowed it to do limited business with U.S. firms for that time period. At the end of that three-month cycle, the temporary reprieve was again extended for 90 days which is set to expire on November 18. After this, if the license is not extended, Huawei will not be able to do any business with U.S. companies. However, since a number of rural telecommunication companies rely on Huawei for networking equipment, the U.S. Commerce Department is expected to grant the Chinese company another license extension of six months. The previous extension was also granted on similar grounds. This will still be a limited license meaning Huawei still cannot buy chips from companies like Intel or Qualcomm. It also means that it cannot get new devices certified from Google which prevents it from launching new smartphones pre-installed with Google's Play suite. It will only allow the company to continue pushing software updates to its existing devices like the P30 Pro, Mate 20 series, etc. Huawei has already launched the Mate 30 series without Google's mobile suite. While the phone runs on Android 10, it does not come pre-loaded with the Google Play Store and other Google apps. While the company can push Google apps to the Mate 30 "over one night," it needs the ban on it to be lifted first and granted a full license to work with U.S. companies. Source: Huawei expected to get another six months license extension to work with U.S. companies (Neowin)
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