Huawei might be planning to return to the USA smartphone market by the end of the year. But if it succeeds, will it matter? And even if the brand overcomes its bad reputation after its network technologies were deemed a security threat by the USA and Europe, will Huawei have what it takes to become a threat to Samsung and Apple again?
Reuters recently confirmed with three unnamed third-party tech research firms that Huawei is trying to return to the 5G phone industry. The company might be able to circumvent the US ban by producing 5G chips domestically using its tools and with help from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co (SMIC). Neither Huawei nor SMIC commented on the rumors.
But even if Huawei returns to the US market through 5G phones, it likely won't have the same momentum as before to bring the fight back to the market leaders.
Huawei still lacks access to Google Play Services
Assuming that Huawei will relaunch its smartphone business in the USA through 5G, market watchers note that even with help from outside firms, Huawei wouldn't be able to reach a 5G chip manufacturing capacity in excess of approximately 14 million units.
Compare that to the 240 million shipments recorded by Huawei in 2019, and you soon realize that Huawei has a long road ahead if it has any intentions of competing with Samsung and Apple again.
Equally important is that the US law prevents Google from offering Play Services to Huawei. The Chinese tech company could rejoin the phone market through the 5G segment, but without access to the Play Store and Google services, Huawei's phone might not get much love from customers in the USA.
Whatever the future holds for Huawei, market watchers say that the company could manufacture 5G versions of existing flagship models this year and bring them to the US market in 2024.