US-sanctioned Huawei launches luxury smartwatch and handset under new brand, remains silent on source of high-end tech in latest phone chip
Huawei at a splashy event on Monday launched new products including a tablet and a gold-inlaid smart watch, but kept silent on the technology behind its recently announced 5G-capable flagship smartphone, the Mate 60 Pro.
The company has been under US sanctions since 2019 that are aimed at preventing it from accessing advanced technologies such as cutting-edge semiconductors, measures that have halved its consumer business revenues.
Shenzhen-based Huawei appointed Hong Kong movie star Andy Lau as ambassador for its new luxury brand Ultimate Design and announced a gold-inlaid smartwatch and a premium smartphone called the Mate 60 RS under the brand.
Huawei said the Mate 60 RS would be offered with black and red ceramic cases, but didn’t offer price points or technical details for the device.
Other new products included the MatePad Pro tablet, a 98-inch smart television called the V5 Pro and FreeBuds Pro 3 earbuds.
Huawei typically holds a major annual launch event each autumn, and announced the 5G-capable Mate 40 smartphone at its 2020 event before skipping the 2021 event.
Last year it launched the Mate 50 handset with only 4G capabilities as it struggled to procure advanced parts. But the Mate 60 Pro began presales in August with 5G capabilities.
Canadian chip intelligence firm TechInsights said a teardown had indicated the phone’s Kirin 9000s chip was manufactured by Chinese contract chip firm SMIC and used an advanced 7-nanometre manufacturing process.
The US Commerce Department said earlier this month it is working to obtain information on the technology behind the chip, while SMIC and Huawei have so far remained silent on the technology.
Typically, 7nm chips require Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) machines from the Netherlands’ ASML, which has been barred from selling the machines to Chinese chip makers since 2019.