Huawei announces new flagship Mate 40 series smartphones amid ongoing US-China trade war

Despite having four variants of the Huawei Mate 40 series, only the Mate 40 Pro will be available in Singapore.
Despite having four variants of the Huawei Mate 40 series, only the Mate 40 Pro will be available in Singapore.PHOTO: TREVOR TAN
The rear camera system of Huawei Mate 40 Pro.
The rear camera system of Huawei Mate 40 Pro.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

SINGAPORE - Despite the trade war between the United States and China, Chinese tech giant Huawei launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Mate 40 series, during a virtual event on Thursday night (Oct 22).

Many analysts had earlier speculated that Huawei might not have enough chips to manufacture its flagship smartphones due to the US ban.

Mr Richard Yu, chief executive officer of Huawei consumer business group, said during the event that these days, Huawei is having "a very difficult time". "We are suffering from the US government's third round of bans," he said.

Even so, Mr Yu said the company is committed to giving people the "best technology and innovation".

The Huawei Mate 40 series comes in four models, namely the Mate 40, Mate 40 Pro, Mate 40 Pro+ and Porsche Design Mate 40 RS. All versions come with Huawei's latest Kirin 9000 processor which Huawei is touting as a powerful chip with 15.3 billion transistors and built-in 5G capability.

However, only the Mate 40 Pro model will retail in Singapore in two colours - black and mystic silver. Local pricing and when they will be available here have yet to be confirmed. But overseas, the phone is selling for 1,199 euros (S$1,924).

The Mate 40 Pro has a 6.76-inch Oled display with a refresh rate of 90Hz. It has a rear triple-camera system consisting of a 50-megapixel (MP) wide-angle camera, a 20MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom (up to 10x hybrid zoom). In addition, it has a 13MP front-facing camera with a 3D depth-sensing camera.

Due to the US trade ban, the new Mate 40 series, like Huawei smartphones since the Mate 30 series from September last year, will not have Google Mobile Services (GMS). In other words, the smartphones do not have Google Play store, Google Maps and other Google services.

Instead, the new Huawei phones will run on the Chinese firm's own Huawei Mobile Services using the EMUI 11 operating system, which is based on Android 10.

During Thursday's launch event, To further get around the lack of Google Mobile Services on its phones, Huawei also unveiled new apps from Huawei Mobile Services on Thursday.

The new apps include Petal Search, a search engine with support for multiple types of searches; Petal Maps, a map app that is said to work in over 140 countries; and Huawei Docs, a unified word document service.