Huawei somehow made enough Kirin 9000 chips to launch a new phone

Embattled Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has overcome the odds to debut the latest and greatest version of its Kirin SoC in the new Mate 40 Pro smartphone.

The Mate 40 wasn’t launched under normal circumstances, of course, with the US having effectively blockaded Huawei’s access to any chip fabs for the past few months. This means that, on top of not being able to buy chips from US companies like Qualcomm, Huawei now has nobody to make the ones it designs for itself.

That’s a shame, because by all accounts the Huawei Kirin family of SoCs compete well with the best Qualcomm, Apple and Samsung have to offer. The latest – Kirin 9000 – is the first to be manufactured on the 5nm process and Huawei claims it’s the first 5G chip to manage that. It can, against all odds, be found in the flagship Mate 40 Pro, which was officially launched today.

We haven’t seen a press release, but you can watch the launch event below, which doesn’t start until 30 minutes into the video for some reason. As well as the Kirin 9000, the Mate 40 seems to have top specs across the board, which it should with a price tag of £1,100. UK punters can pre-order the Mate 40 from 3 November, but we don’t yet know when they’ll actually turn up.

The other big variable remains how many Kirin 9000s Huawei managed to get out of TSMC, or whoever, before the chip embargo kicked in. Reports estimate it may have stashed up to ten million of them, which is a decent effort. Chinese media reckon there will be plenty of domestic demand for the Mate 40 as a collectors item and, considering Huawei is not allowed to have proper Android anymore either, that’s where we’d expect the vast majority of its sales to be.

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