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US Sanctions Cause Huawei to Unveil New Phones Without 5G


  • Huawei announced the launch of two models of its P-Series phone line, the P50 and the P50 Pro
  • Both models will not support 5G and instead will use the Kirin 9000 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 to support 4G
  • CEO, Richard Yu, directly blamed United States sanctions and chip shortages

“Because of the US sanctions, our new smartphones cannot run on 5G wireless connections even though we are sure the global leader in 5G technology.” These sharp words came from the CEO of Huawei, Richard Yu, at the HarmonyOS launch this past Thursday.  During the event, Yu spoke in stark detail about the company’s position and how their new P50 and P50 Pro phones will lack 5G functionality.

But even though he voiced frustrations over the four rounds of U.S. sanctions put in place under former president Donald Trump—sanctions which have been upheld under the Biden administration—Yu offered reasons for optimism. Yu stated, “But with 4G, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and our AI computing algorithms, we still can provide as powerful a performance as all the 5G phones.”

In June, The Chinese tech giant began addressing its struggles surrounding the P50 and P50 Pro launch, but Thursday’s announcement marks a momentous backslide for one of the world’s 5G frontrunners and gives the market an idea of how hard the sting of the United States’ wrist-slapping proved to be. This news comes on top of the company’s steep decline in market share since 2019 when sanctions were first enforced.

But even with the 5G setbacks, the 4G-supporting P50 and P50 Pro offer exciting spec and design updates.

Launch Dates, Specs, Design, Features


There still is no word if the P50 and P50 Pro will be available for purchase outside of China—where both phones will launch on August 12th; many say it will be months before details regarding international release surfaces. As for price tags, the P50 model starts at 4,488 yuan ($695) and the P50 Pro starts at 5,988 yuan ($927).

Both phones run on Huawei’s new operating system, the HarmonyOS, which is widely seen as the company’s answer to the Google Android OS ban from the US. Huawei recently announced that China just reached over 50 million HarmonyOS users. They announced this alongside the news that now even Chinese phone brands outside of Huawei are beginning to adopt the HarmonyOS.

In terms of processors, the phones will use either the Kirin 9000 or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888. All phones launching this August will strictly use the Kirin 9000, and later this year the P50 and P50 Pro will be available to purchase with the Snapdragon 888.

P50 vs. P50 Pro: What’s the Difference?

While it’s never polite to compare siblings, there are some factors worth noting about the differences between the newest editions to the P-Series lineage. Perhaps Huawei’s greatest achievements come in their picture-taking tech.

The P50 Pro has four back cameras: 50-megapixel primary, 64-megapixel telephoto, 40-megapixel monochrome, and 13-megapixel ultra-wide. Reports claim that the telephoto camera has the ability to shoot at up to 200x zoom. The P50, while still packing a powerful punch, only has three: 50-megapixel primary lens, 12-megapixel telephoto, and 13-megapixel ultra-wide.

DXOMARK ranked the P50 Pro’s camera system #1 in both its global smartphone camera ranking and its ultra-premium ranking.

The P50 Pro has a display of 6.6 inches, 120Hz OLED, a curved edge, and tiny bezels. It also comes with a 4360mAh battery and 66W fast charging port.

At 6.5 inches, the P50 the size difference is slight. The refresh rate is 90Hz, but it also comes with a curved edge and tiny bezels. And while the max charge speed is the same as the Pro, the overall capacity is 4100mAh.

The Future of Huawei

The Chinese tech empire is currently foundering. From market share to freefalling revenues, the state of many of its vitals point towards evidence that global sanctions have punctured holes in the momentum of a giant that once led the pack in many key areas. In three days, the P50 and P50 Pro will be available for shipping in China. And their performance may well be a portent for the global status of Huawei.

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Nathan Rizzuti

Nathan is a technological addict who roams the underpasses and byways of the world, searching for the most interesting and useful pieces of consumer gadgetry.

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