What could be the last of the truly great Huawei phones to make its way outside China will be unveiled at the end of the month, with the Huawei Mate 40 set to launch on the 22nd of October according to Huawei’s official Twitter account.
Huawei’s never been shy about hyping up its upcoming phone releases, or indeed namedropping them well ahead of the actual launch events. That’s absolutely been the case for the Huawei Mate 40 series, with the company announcing that it will officially launch them on October 22 2020 in a tweet:
— Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) October 10, 2020
For once we won’t have to get up in the early hours of the morning, with the 2pm CEST – that’s Central European Summer Time – equating to 11pm on the Eastern side of the country, and an even more friendly 9pm over on the West side.
It’s expected that the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro will run on Huawei’s own Kirin 990 SoC, and it’s pretty likely to be the last high-end Huawei chip that the Chinese maker will be able to access for some time.
That’s because, like the ban that sees it unable to bundle Google apps and services on its AOSP Android phones, it’s also banned from ordering semiconductor parts from companies that rely on US technology. Huawei designs its own Kirin chips, but the actual process of building them falls to Taiwan-based TSMC using US technology.
That’s led to a situation that almost certainly means that the very last of the Kirin 990 chips that TSMC produced for Huawei – reportedly closing production lines in mid-September — could be going into a very limited number of Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro handsets – and maybe a fancy high-cost Porsche Design model too, if past Mate series releases are any indication.
Huawei Mate 40 in Australia
As to whether we’ll actually see the Mate 40 or Mate 40 Pro in Australi, that’s a little more complicated. There’s a big question mark around that because of that whole US trade ban deal that’s seen Huawei unable to include key Google apps and services on its phones since 2019.
The last “full” Android flagship phone Huawei sold in Australia was the rather excellent Huawei P30 Pro, but since that time it’s been limited to just an AOSP version of Android with no Google apps and its own Huawei AppGallery in place of the Google Play Store.
That’s led to some genuinely great hardware launching locally in Australia with severely cramped access to the apps you’d actually want on a premium phone.
That’s being polite, really. AppGallery is ripe with suspicious ripoff apps and Huawei’s other solution is to sideload apps, a practice that’s incredibly risky if you’re not fantastically careful about where you source your APKs from.
Leaving aside the geopolitics of the whole situation, it’s a crying shame simply because Huawei has consistently made some of the very best and most interesting smartphones of the past few years, especially if you’re a fan of very good camera technology.
I’ve reached out to Huawei Australia to see if there are any plans at this stage to bring the Mate 40 series phones to Australia. Huawei Australia representatives told Gizmodo Australia that “We are very excited by the global launch of the Huawei Mate 40 however we are currently awaiting final confirmation on local availability. “