It all started with Rammstein: Their musically accustomed brutal song "Radio" including video ran on Friday at the beginning of the Ifa Keynotes on the screens of the conference hall in Berlin. The international audience reacted with polite applause, but the music was meant for more than just German-style entertainment.
Ifa director Jens Heithecker pointed to the opening of the electronics fair on the message of the song: the importance of freedom of the press and information. He then stressed the importance of free world trade and the free choice of the best components for technical products. It clearly meant the trade conflict between the US and China, and one of the most famous victims: Huawei.
But after Heithecker launched Huawei's consumer division boss Richard Yu, politics was over. Yu never talks pompously and does not talk about the bush, but he did not mention the trade conflict with a single syllable. Yet the dispute over alleged threats to national security and US government blacklists was the elephant in space.
Yu uses most of his performance to introduce the new processor from Huawei. The Kirin 990 is called, has more than ten billion transistors, is manufactured as a 4G and 5G version and, according to Yu, the chips from Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm in the shade. It is said to be more powerful, more efficient, less power consuming, and better designed for machine-learning applications than anything else on the market. Restraint is not the preferred tactic of Yu.
A flagship without Google Apps
This processor will power the Mate 30, Huawei's next top smartphone, which will be presented to the world in less than two weeks. Of course, such a chip adorns, if he keeps what Yu promises, the new device. But the Mate 30 will be something else, for all markets except China missing something crucial: It comes without the popular Google apps therefore, so about without the Play Store and Google Maps.
Because the previous exemptions for US companies to supply Huawei with software or hardware components, even though the Chinese group is blacklisted, do not apply to new equipment. It is more than questionable whether Huawei's fans in the Western world would spend 800 euros or more on a smartphone whose operating system and apps they do not know.
From 2020, Huawei could use its own system
But the move Huawei, the world's most widely used mobile operating system Android to exchange their own HarmonyOS, is inevitable, according to Yu. "For current products, we will stay with Android," he told the SPIEGEL. "If the constraints remain, we will use our own HarmonyOS for future products, such as the P40, which is scheduled for spring 2020."
Huawei is faced with the daunting task of setting up another software ecosystem for smartphones alongside Android and Apple's iOS. According to Yu, his company is already working with app developers to adapt popular apps to HarmonyOS. This is not very complicated, says the Huawei manager.
For the current top smartphone of the Chinese group, however, the P30 Pro, there will be an update to Android 10 soon, revealed Yu. Beta testers were able to download a pre-release version of the update shortly after the keynote on their devices. The spell of the Americans were finally "only new smartphones, such as the Mate 30, which we will present on September 19 in Munich, affected," it said. "We can not install the Google Mobile Services (GMD) on this device, which we will leave to our customers who can do it themselves."