What you need to know
- A Huawei P40 Pro teardown by the Financial Times found that the phone still features hardware from U.S. entities.
- The device has RF front-end modules and antennas from Qualcomm, Skyworks, and Qorvo.
- At this point, it isn't clear if Skyworks and Qorvo secured licenses to supply the parts to Huawei, but that is likely the case.
Huawei's inclusion in the U.S. Entity List means it is not allowed to do business with U.S. companies unless they secure a license, and the Chinese manufacturer's latest phones in the P40 series lack Google services as a result. The ban also extends to the hardware, with Huawei banned from using hardware components made by U.S. companies.
However, as the Financial Times discovered, that isn't the case on the P40 Pro. The publication commissioned a teardown of the P40 Pro (paywall) and found that the phone features RF front-end modules and antennas from three U.S. entities: Qualcomm, Skyworks, and Qorvo. While Qualcomm has secured a license from the U.S. commerce department to work with Huawei, it isn't clear if Skyworks and Qorvo have done the same.
It is interesting that the teardown found U.S. parts inside Huawei's latest flagship, because a similar teardown of the Mate 30 Pro by iFixit revealed no parts from Skyworks or Qorvo. Huawei instead used alternatives sourced from its in-house HiSilicon division.
It is possible that Skyworks and Qorvo secured a license from the commerce department just like Qualcomm. With the ban stretching for over a year now, Huawei has had to find alternatives to U.S.-based entities for hardware, and it was able to do so, relying on HiSilicon and vendors from China and South Korea to fill in the gaps.
But U.S. companies retain a clear advantage when it comes to RF modules, and with the likes of Skyworks relying heavily on Huawei for sales, it is entirely likely the U.S. entities secured a license to sell to Huawei. After all, Huawei wouldn't want to risk complicating things even further with the U.S. government by running foul of the ban when it has demonstrated that it can source parts from non-U.S. vendors.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.