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Huawei Near the Top in Innovation

Boston Consulting Group surveyed 2500 senior business executives. Many had never thought about Huawei until the U.S. went to war, but apparently they are impressed.

Boston Consulting Group survery

Alibaba and Tencent also ranked. Chinese protection of domestic companies is apparently a good idea. Surveys like this are popularity contests and not always accurate. I’m reporting it because ITIF, a D.C. outfit, made a specious claim Huawei was not innovative. Beltway blindness.

Huawei Matebook is not like every other notebook

The camera is built into the keyboard and pops up when used. You can pair the PC with selected Huawei phones to run apps and move files, with NFC making the connection. Matthias Kremp calls it a “smartphone whisperer.”

Huawei is going after the MacBook Air with this machine. The resolution is 3000 x 2000, higher than the Air. The price is also higher than the Air in some configurations. It’s only 3 pounds and a little more than a half-inch deep. Like the Air, the power button turns on the machine and verifies your fingerprint.

It has a sensitive touchscreen that fills nearly the entire body (91%.) By putting the camera on the keyboard, there’s no need for a notch on the screen. It’s good for security but the angle is unflattering for video calls.

It has quad speakers and quad microphones. The later have intelligent noise reducing features so that voice features work well. Possibly even dictation.

According to the reviews, Huawei has a machine in the class of the MacBook for people who don’t want to buy

Huawei loses orders in Singapore, ZTE in India

Ren has spent 30 years building Huawei and keeping out of politics. Huawei has become so large the U.S. government is running scared. Almost everyone – including the British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor – believes the US attack on Huawei is about commerce, not security.

But corporations are pragmatic. “Operators who have the choice are electing not to go with Huawei out of precautionary principle,” writes a very well informed Australian as the Singapore carriers choose Europeans over Huawei. Singapore is predominantly Chinese and the carriers have close relations with Huawei. They chose to protect themselves from US retribution.

India and China fought a deadly battle at 4,000 meters in the Himalayas. Immediately, a public cry went up to boycott the Chinese. ZTE had won the contract at India’s government telco, BSNL but Economic Times now reports that it will be rebid with ZTE and Huawei excluded.

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Google ex-CEO: China apparently hacking Huawei systems

Eric Schmidt in retirement chairs the Pentagon’s Defence Innovation Board and has a top security clearance. He would know if the hundreds or thousands of analysts the U.S. has tracking Huawei had found any substantial espionage. The NSA has a $50 billion budget and is very good at what they do. If they haven’t found anything significant, it almost surely isn’t there.

Everybody outside Western security forces, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, has pointed out there is no evidence that Huawei has done any spying. Schmidt, talking to the BBC, is probably the first informed source to make a meaningful claim. Talking to the BBC, he made the interesting claim

“There’s no question that information from Huawei routers has ultimately ended up in hands that would appear to be the state. However that happened, we’re sure it happened.”

If you accept my assumption above, that Huawei is not spying, there’s a sensible conclusion: The Chinese security folks have cracked Huawei routers. That’s highly likely; almost anything crackable and the Chinese are good. (The Americans may still be more advanced.)

Of course, the only way Schmidt could know what the Chinese have is if the NSA had hacked China, exactly what he is accusing them of doing.

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Blockade Coping: Huawei Delays

Civil War blockade

“We now see the postponement of the mass production of Mate series will be for at least one to two months,” Nikkei quotes, as Huawei develops new designs to use Mediatek and perhaps Samsung processors. Blocking TSMC at Hisilicon is forcing Huawei to scramble for alternate chip sources. Alternate chips are never exactly the same and time needs to be taken for redesign.

Samsung may be able to produce 7 nm advanced chips for Huawei despite the U.S. blockade. “It has built a small, 7nm production line that doesn’t use U.S. equipment,” Lucy Liu reports at EET Asia. There’s no official confirmation, but EE Times has a strong reputation for accuracy.

Nikkei and others have reported that Huawei has 6 to 18 months of chips stockpiled.

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Huawei Tops in Patent “Essentiality”

A technical examination of over a thousand patents in 5G found Huawei had the strongest claims. The patent system at every level is distorted, especially in standards-essential patents (SEP.) Companies have claimed over 10,000 patents are essential to 5G, looking for a share of over one hundred billion in royalties.

34% of Huawei’s declared patents are “essential,” according to very experienced analysts at Amplified and GreyB. 34% qualifying is a disappointing result, but better than Qualcomm (30%,) Nokia (27%) or Ericsson (22%.) I believe many of these patents will be rejected in court as obvious or not sufficiently original,

The Western world was shocked when Huawei emerged on top of the international counts of patents a few years ago. Innuendos suggested that Huawei was filing bad patents rather than original innovative work. Some came from commercial envy.

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U.S. Demand: No Foundry, Anywhere, Can Produce Huawei Chips

If a Chinese foundry, using only Chinese equipment, produced a chip for Huawei, the U.S. could impose draconian sanctions according to the latest rules from the U.S. Commerce Department. Thet’s the plain meaning of the order:

If an entity … produces or develops an integrated circuit design utilizing specified Category 3, 4, or 5 “technology” or “software” such as Electronic Design Automation software … that foreign-produced integrated circuit design is subject to the EAR.

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Editorial: China Will Remember U.S. Huawei War for a Generation

Only an idiot would believe that the U.S. is blocking TSMC manufacture of Huawei cell phone chips because of security fears. This is commercial rivalry. The U.S. wants to put China’s leading technology company out of business.

We will fail, of course, at a price far higher than D.C. understands. The U.S. is ready for China’s immediate countermeasures, even if Apple’s stock price falls $hundreds of billions. But the long run price will be devastating.

Giant German companies have been turning away quietly from U.S. components, just in case they become the next target of U.S. wrath. When I discovered that last year, I wrote The unbelievably high cost of the war against Huawei.

This escalation means any sensible multinational manufacturer will do what is necessary to avoid becoming a pawn in battles between the U.S. and our perceived enemies. Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, and BMW sell millions of cars in China. They’d be fools to be dependent on U.S. electronic parts. Their managers are not fools. They will quietly find other suppliers, in Europe or Asia.

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Coming Soon: The Huawei PC

Huawei is already selling the motherboard, details below. It runs Linux and connects to standard PC components. Deng Li says it will come out with the next version of Hongmeng/Harmony, possibly in August.

It runs on the Kunpeng 920, Huawei’s own processor based on ARM cores. Measured by performance, it’s a hot chip, with some tests scoring higher than Intel. On the other hand, it’s cool, drawing less power than the comparable Intel chips. It’s already widely used in servers.

ARM designs are in almost every mobile phone chip, including Huawei and Qualcomm. They draw considerably less power than Intel and numerous companies have adapted them for servers.

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Huawei on 5G management April 30

China’s telcos have deployed over 200,000 5G cells and sold 50 million contacts, easily twice as many as the entire rest of the world. Many lessons have been learned.

There is no book or magazine article yet that reports what 5G requires in practice. I can only cover a small part of the industry’s experience.

Steven Zheng and Leo Liu of Huawei will speak. Huawei supplied about half the systems. James Crawshaw of Omdia/Informa will present results from an operator survey.

There’s much to learn. https://www.lightreading.com/webinar.asp?webinar_id=1618

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