Huawei has announced an updated version of its flagship P30 Pro smartphone at IFA 2019 amid ongoing questions over its use of Google’s apps and services in the future.
In what appeared to be an attempt to release a new Android-powered phone before a possible full US trade ban took effect, Huawei announced a new version of its current P30 Pro flagship phone – which will run the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android 10.
The device, which will be released on September 20, is identical internally to the current P30 Pro, but has been given a new external look and colours.
The announcement comes despite continued uncertainty over the company’s smartphone business after Google said last week that the Chinese firm may not be able to use its Android operating system on new phones under current US trade restrictions placed on Huawei.
The P30 Pro was first released in March and is therefore not affected by the current restrictions.
Huawei was effectively blacklisted by the US government in May amid allegations that it was a threat to national security because of alleged close ties to the Chinese government – something it has repeatedly denied.
A temporary licence has enabled some firms to trade with Huawei and allowed the Chinese firm to maintain and update existing phones already on sale, but Google’s stance suggests this will not be true of new Huawei devices.
That licence is due to expire in November, and once gone would mean Huawei would be unable to include apps such as Gmail and Google Maps on its future smartphones.
The Chinese company currently uses Android to power all its smartphones, but has recently unveiled its own operating system – HarmonyOS – which it says it could switch to if necessary.
The revamped phone was announced as Huawei unveiled its latest line of mobile processors, which have 5G compatibility built into them for the first time in what the Chinese firm says is a “world-first”.
The company has included the modem needed for 5G inside one version of its new Kirin 990 chips – which Huawei says is unique because most other firms currently use two separate chips.
Huawei chief executive Richard Yu declared the new Kirin 990 series as the “world’s most powerful 5G chipset”, and confirmed it would power the next Huawei flagship phones, set to be announced later this month.
Unveiling the chips on stage at the IFA technology show in Berlin, Mr Yu said: “Kirin 990 5G is the world’s first 5G SoC (system on a chip), and it will enable end users to access superb 5G connectivity experience one step ahead in the first year of 5G commercialisation.
“To meet users’ requirements for enhanced 5G experiences in the 5G era, Kirin 990 5G has been fully upgraded in terms of performance and power efficiency, AI computing, and ISP, extending mobile phone experiences to a new level.”
The company said its new chips would be faster and more powerful than rival 5G chips, with Mr Yu declaring they would “lead the industry in 5G performance”.