Huawei’s latest flagship telephone has HarmonyOS, a Qualcomm SoC and no 5G


  • The Huawei P50 Pro, in several colors.

  • The front looks like any other smartphone on earth.


  • The back.


  • That’s a huge camera bump. That’s a main camera, a black and white camera, and a wide-angle camera on top. The rectangular lens at the bottom is a periscope zoom camera.


  • Here’s a good look at the shock height and the power and volume buttons.


  • You can see the bottom edge in this picture, which shows the USB-C port and speaker.


  • The screen is curved.


  • Here you can read the prices and sizes, even if you don’t read Chinese.


Despite a global chip shortage, a US export ban and falling market shares, Huawei is still working and announcing its next flagship smartphone, the Huawei P50 Pro. The phone, which was teased back in June, is the company’s first smartphone to hit the market with HarmonyOS, Huawei’s in-house operating system (though it’s just a spin-off from Android).

Huawei survives multiple storms as best it can, but those storms lead to many wild product decisions for the P50 Pro. Huawei devices are usually based on the in-house “Kirin” SoCs of the subsidiary HiSilicon. While the first versions of the phones use the 5 nm Kirin 9000 SoC, Huawei will switch to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC as soon as the supply is exhausted. But wait – hasn’t the US government banned companies from exporting US-origin goods to Huawei?

It did, but Qualcomm was granted a license to sell chips to Huawei back in November 2020.

Qualcomm’s license only covers 4G products, which brings us to the next big curiosity about the P50: it doesn’t support 5G. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Division, blamed the US for this restriction during the presentation and said (via official translation), “Due to the four rounds of US restrictions in the past two years, 5G phones are out of our reach. ” The lack of 5G isn’t a big deal for consumers who see little practical use in it, but it’s a big deal for the 5G-obsessed smartphone makers and carriers.


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The design features a large dual circle camera hump that looks kind of weird. Hopefully one day we’ll get similar designs with massive camera sensors behind each circle, but Huawei is filling them up with multiple smaller cameras and sensors to … give a faux big camera look? The Pro model has a 50 MP main camera, a 40 MP black and white camera (really?), And a 13 MP ultra-wide camera in the top circle. The lower circle receives a 64 MP 3.5x telephoto (with a 200x digital zoom that must make images look like mud), an LED flash and a microphone.

There is also the question of the operating system, as this is the first smartphone that Huawei is launching with HarmonyOS. Huawei executives refer to HarmonyOS as an entirely in-house product and have said it is “not a copy of Android”. However, once you actually get your hands on the operating system, you’ll find that it’s just an Android fork, with Huawei services replacing Google services. Since Huawei has forever replaced Google services in China (where Google Play is not available) and was later forced to do so internationally thanks to the export ban, there is actually no major difference between the company’s Android skin, EMUI, and his “own” operating system HarmonyOS. HarmonyOS 2 is based on a newer version of Android compared to EMUI, but otherwise it’s just a name change.

Back in June, Huawei announced a plan to upgrade 100 older Huawei models in China from Android to HarmonyOS (a move that is only possible because HarmonyOS is just a newer version of Android), and the P50’s press release states that “more than 40 million users” have accepted the company so far.

That being said, we have some pretty normal specs: a 6.6-inch, 120Hz, 2700 × 1228 OLED display; 8 GB of RAM; 128 GB storage; and a 4360 mAh battery. In China, the phone starts at $ 927 (CNY 5,988) for the 128GB version, with sales starting today. There’s not a word about the phone being sold outside of China, and with Huawei facing all sorts of delivery issues, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that availability is limited.