Rumor: Huawei smartphones may get socs from MediaTek and Unisoc

Huawei would like to equip its smartphones and tablets with socs from MediaTek and Unisoc. This is necessary, because TSMC would no longer accept new orders for the production of socs from Huawei due to a restriction by the US government.

The cheaper phones and tablets would come with Unisoc-socs, while the more expensive models would be equipped with MediaTek processors, Nikkei and CNMO report. Now many models have Kirin socs from Huawei’s own HiSilicon division, which employs ten thousand people. TSMC would not take new orders to produce socs due to new US regulations. Under those restrictions, companies that use US software or technology are only allowed to supply chips to Huawei with a license. The measure will take effect in four months.

Analysts estimate that Huawei has enough Kirin-socs to provide new models with new Kirin-socs until the end of the year, but in time Huawei will still have shortages. Unisoc and MediaTek are considering whether they can and want to provide Huawei with enough socs for its products. By supplying socs to Huawei, they too can become part of the trade war between China and the United States.

Huawei has been relying on its own socs for smartphones since 2011, and now does the same for network equipment and other devices. It also designs the soc based on Arm’s Cortex cores, Arm’s GPUs, its own modem technology and its own chips for neural networks. The most recent soc for high-end smartphones is the Kirin 990. Huawei is the number two in the smartphone market, behind market leader Samsung. The first measures against the company came into effect a year ago. Since that time, new models are no longer allowed to have Google apps on board.