Huawei has slowly been coming back on the mobile scene following years of turmoil after former US President Donald Trump issued sanctions against the Chinese giant. They’ve split off Honor and allowed it to become independent, they’re still getting hold of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors though with its 5G modem disabled. They’re still releasing new smartphones till today too albeit without Google Mobile Services.
But it’s probably safe to say that with their new offerings lacking GMS and 5G, Huawei devices are a bit of a hard sell. Which is perhaps why that they’re reportedly looking at licensing out their smartphone designs to third parties. According to a report from Bloomberg, Huawei may be on the verge of licensing their designs to a unit of the China Postal and Telecommunications Appliances Corporation (PTAC). PTAC will then be the ones buying the parts that Huawei cannot buy, allowing Huawei-designed smartphones to hit the market again under a different brand. The company has been around since 1964, and is owned by the state.
The PTAC unit in question appears to be Xnova, which is already selling Huawei devices in China. A quick check of its website shows multiple Huawei smartphones like the Mate 40 Pro and Nova 8 on sale in its store. The Bloomberg report claims that the PTAC-Huawei partnership will see Xnova launch their own brand of smartphones, with designs licensed from Huawei. They aren’t the only ones interested in Huawei’s designs either, with TD Tech Ltd another company reportedly also set to partner up with Huawei.
This move by Huawei is likely not going to bring up profits nor will it be their new main focus, but it should be able to keep Huawei afloat in such tough times. Huawei’s designs have already been getting tweaked to use Qualcomm and MediaTek silicon instead of their own HiSilicon chips, seeing as they still can’t use the services of TSMC. Nevertheless, by outsourcing their designs, these third party companies could then use 5G-enabled processors, rather than the 4G-only offerings from Huawei at the moment. A Huawei-designed smartphone under the Xnova brand for instance could also come with GMS if a global launch is planned.
In the meantime, the current White House administration doesn’t look like yielding anytime soon, and Huawei seems set on continuing to release new devices without 5G and GMS. Of course, you can also get yourself a Honor device, which still looks as though they’ve maintained their Huawei-inspired roots. The Honor 50 for instance looks almost identical to the Huawei Nova 9, while the upcoming Honor 50 Lite also seems inspired by the Huawei Nova 8i. In any case, there remains no official word from Huawei, PTAC or TD Tech on a partnership deal just yet.
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