Fall of Huawei: What we’ve lost and what we’ve gained


Robert Triggs / Android Authority

At this level, you recognize the story: in May 2019, then-US president Donald Trump introduced the hammer down on Huawei. By issuing an government order inserting the corporate on a so-called “Entity List,” he primarily minimize the corporate’s smartphone division off on the legs. Since then, the division has limped alongside as finest it could actually.

In 2020, although, Huawei very briefly overtook Samsung to develop into the world’s greatest smartphone producer. This feat affirmed a years-old declare the corporate made about doing simply that. Today, nevertheless, solely a few 12 months later, Huawei isn’t primary within the trade. In truth, it’s not even in the top five anymore.

Related: The Huawei ban explained: A complete timeline and everything you need to know

This final result isn’t too stunning. Without entry to American corporations — most notably Google, on which the Android ecosystem closely relies upon — it was solely a matter of time earlier than Huawei’s international cellphone ambitions crumbled. What is stunning is that the Trump administration — and, ultimately, the Biden administration — by no means revoked or weakened the powers of the Entity List. In truth, it’s solely gotten worse. Technology pundits and even Huawei itself appeared to assume the so-called “Huawei ban” could be a major however momentary setback. That doesn’t seem like the case, although.

With two years gone and the smartphone trade accepting that Huawei is now not a worldwide participant, it’s time to try the place we stand. What has modified concerning the trade with out Huawei? Is the trade higher or worse off now? And, most significantly, what will occur to Huawei?

What we’ve lost

Huawei Mate 40 Pro floating shot of the Mystic Silver finish

Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Without fail, the 2 annual main Huawei smartphones — the P series and Mate sequence — have ended up being some of one of the best of the 12 months. Whether it’s the top-end specs, the unbelievable design prowess, or the stellar images expertise, a Huawei flagship has historically been straightforward to advocate for any smartphone purchaser. Now, although, we’d be remiss to advocate anybody exterior of China purchase a Huawei cellphone. It’s a rattling disgrace.

That loss may have a ripple impact throughout all the trade. Without Huawei pushing different firms — most particularly Samsung — to innovate, it’s doubtless we’ll see much less boundary-pushing and extra incremental iteration from the large gamers. Granted, Samsung nonetheless must cope with Apple and the litany of Chinese producers, so it could actually’t precisely relaxation on its laurels. But for the previous 5 years, Huawei was its greatest competitor within the Android world. Now that competitors is gone.

Huawei introduced competitors to the premium smartphone area. Now that competitors is gone.

Notably, Huawei was additionally one of the best competitor to Samsung we had within the foldables area, with unbelievable gadgets just like the Mate X2. Although there are a lot of firms with foldables on the best way, Samsung now has free rein within the early days of what may very well be the longer term of cellular.

And don’t overlook that Huawei didn’t simply compete with different smartphone OEMs. It additionally competed with silicon producers resembling Qualcomm. While Huawei’s Kirin chipsets by no means matched the capabilities of the newest flagship Snapdragon processor, they actually held their very own, particularly with reference to neural processing. Going ahead, Qualcomm solely wants to fret about Samsung within the flagship Android area (at least for now). That isn’t terrific information for innovation.

Of course, the place one participant exits the sport, that makes room for a brand new participant to enter. Or, on this case, gamers.

What we’ve gained

Xiaomi 2021 India mi 11 ultra mi 11x redmi note 10s

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

When Huawei exited the listing of the highest 5 smartphone distributors globally, it allowed different Chinese firms to step up. The greatest winner right here is undoubtedly Xiaomi, which now sits in third place below Samsung and Apple. Although it’s going to take a protracted whereas earlier than it has even an opportunity to overhaul Samsung, it’s potential it may overtake Apple in solely a 12 months or two.

Meanwhile, a number of manufacturers below the BBK banner have additionally moved up, together with Oppo, Vivo, and Realme. In the case of Realme, it’s now the sixth-largest smartphone OEM after being in existence for simply three years. That’s astounding.

See additionally: US-China trade war: Why every Chinese phone maker should prepare for the worst

These firms all combating for Huawei’s shrinking piece of the pie is nice information. The fierce competitors will invariably lead to higher telephones at decrease costs. Of course, all of these Chinese firms have zero presence within the US, which implies the overwhelming majority within the States will proceed to be principally caught with two decisions: Samsung or Apple.

The wildcard right here may very well be OnePlus. That model is the one Chinese OEM with a footprint within the United States and the (unstated) backing of BBK behind it. It’s potential we may see larger international ambitions from OnePlus over the subsequent 12 months.

Finally, we will’t overlook about Google. While Google has by no means even come near being a top-five vendor, its new obvious technique of creating its personal silicon and lastly pushing its digital camera {hardware} up a notch may make it a notable competitor. However, Google has made a lot of poor decisions over the previous 5 years, so it has some catching as much as do.

Where does that go away us?

Huawei logo P40 Pro

Obviously, it’s tough to say proper now if what we’ve lost by the US pushing Huawei to the sidelines shall be outweighed by what we’ll achieve from elevated Chinese competitors. On the one hand, the highest international gamers all feared Huawei. Now that concern is gone. On the opposite hand, the place one behemoth as soon as stood we now have many smaller beasts as an alternative. That brings a brand new type of concern.

It’s very potential that Huawei’s exit shall be good for the trade ultimately. As Realme, Poco, and different budget-minded gamers struggle fiercely for the subsequent billion prospects in creating nations, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo can duke it out for area on the premium flagship desk. Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple will proceed to crib from one another on the high of the heap. That looks like enterprise as traditional.

In the top, the smartphone trade may want a Huawei.

However, there’s a gnawing feeling that what the trade actually wants is a Huawei. For the time being, Samsung and Apple don’t want to fret a few third firm sitting at their desk. While Huawei’s lack of a footprint within the US prevented it from ever actually being on the identical stage within the premium area as Samsung and Apple, at the least there was a menace that that day may come. In truth, that was a menace that was very actual only a 12 months previous to the commerce ban, when Huawei was getting ready to enter the market in partnership with AT&T. Now a distinct firm making that day actuality is years off — if it ever comes in any respect.

Finally, there may be the elephant within the room: what occurred to Huawei wasn’t truthful play. It’s not like Huawei didn’t innovate or made too many fumbles like LG. It’s not prefer it botched its personal long-term improvement like Motorola. Huawei is now not within the recreation as a result of the United States authorities determined that’s what wanted to occur. How does that change the trade as a complete? What does that imply for all the opposite Chinese manufacturers? Time will inform, however it’s actually a nerve-racking improvement.

Huawei will survive

huawei matepad pro 2021 harmony os 3

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

This article has loads of doom-and-gloom to it. However, the vital factor to recollect about Huawei is that it isn’t going wherever. Sure, its smartphone division could also be restricted principally to its huge Chinese viewers, however that’s not all Huawei does.

Over the subsequent few years, we anticipate Huawei pushing its appreciable skills inside different know-how areas. We’ll proceed to see Huawei tablets, computer systems, wearables, and audio merchandise. We’ll additionally doubtless see the corporate develop into new tech spheres resembling digital actuality, transportation, and presumably even well being.

See additionally: Huawei buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

Huawei is a beloved model in China and has assist from that nation’s authorities. It has and will proceed to have billions of prospects. It is, fairly actually, too massive to fail. The rollout of Harmony OS just a few days in the past highlights how Huawei is set to push ahead with its smartphone division — with or with out assist from American corporations. Sure, to this point Harmony OS has the purposeful look of Android 10 with a new coat of paint, however it proves that Huawei intends to proceed to offer China with a lot of smartphones.

The firm’s days within the international smartphone market, although, seem like principally over. We’ll be capable of say over the subsequent few years whether or not that finally had a web constructive or web unfavorable impact. Until then, we will solely lament that the trade has lost one of its most vital gamers, and won’t ever be fairly the identical.


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