This week, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) officially confirmed that it will not accept orders from Huawei for the production of HiSilicon Kirin chips from May 15, 2020 in accordance with the instructions of the US authorities. This could force Huawei to release the Mate 40 flagship smartphone family based on two different processors.
Orders already placed are not subject to US sanctions and must be shipped by September 14, 2020. But the problem is that before the restrictions were imposed, Huawei ordered only 8 million 5nm Kirin 1020 chips, which will serve as the hardware basis for the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro. The expected sales volumes of these smartphones exceed 10 million units, which means that Huawei will face a shortage of single-chip systems.
The company cannot order an additional batch of Kirin 1020 from TSMC, so it will have to use a different processor. Earlier it was reported that Qualcomm intends to apply to the US Department of Commerce for the right to supply its chips to Huawei. But even if the request is granted, it will only apply to the next generation of the flagship Snapdragon 800 series chipset, which can be installed in the P50 and Mate 50 models. And for the Mate 40, the Chinese manufacturer needs to look for a third option.
Huawei has little choice – either Samsung Exynos or MediaTek. The company will most likely prefer MediaTek. But whichever partner Huawei ultimately chooses will need a chip that matches the performance of the Kirin 1020. According to some reports, the Kirin 1020 is 50% faster than the Kirin 990 found in the Mate 30 and P40 series.
However, we are unlikely to see a Mate 40 with a Kirin 1020 SoC in the global market. Most likely, it will be sold exclusively in China. A version based on an alternative single-chip system will “reach” us.
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