Qualcomm Attempting To Embed Snapdragon SoC In Huawei Flagship Smartphones As Chinese Manufacturer Struggles Due To Sanctions

Huawei is currently struggling to get its high-end HiSilicon Kirin processors reliably manufactured amidst the ongoing US-China trade war. Interestingly, Qualcomm is reportedly using the situation in attempting to embed its powerful Snapdragon SoC lineup in Huawei smartphones. U.S.-based Qualcomm Incorporated is trying to persuade the Government to allow sales of processors and other key components to Huawei.

Huawei smartphones could replace the in-house developed HiSilicon Kirin SoCs with Qualcomm Snapdragon series if the latter can convince the U.S. Government to relax some of the norms under the ongoing U.S.-China trade sanctions. Under the new U.S. Executive order, Huawei is effectively left without reliable suppliers to develop high-end Kirin chipsets.

Qualcomm Trying To Embed Snapdragon SoC Inside High-End Huawei Smartphones?

Huawei is facing some very tough challenges ahead due to the latest US Executive orders which effectively dissuades or prevents US-based companies from working with Chinese manufacturers. This has left Huawei in a very precarious situation. The company is unable to source key technologies and components needed for its HiSilicon Kirin Series of chipsets that are embedded inside the majority of Android smartphones sold in the developing regions of the world.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is rapidly gaining new grounds with its powerful Snapdragon Series of SoCs. Interestingly, the company is currently the one leading the 5G mobile connectivity revolution with its chipsets that include a capable 5G modem. Hence, with Huawei unable to provide a capable chipset with powerful processor, and 5G modem, Qualcomm is eagerly hoping the IS Government could relax some restrictions.

According to a new report, if certain restrictions are either lifted or relaxed, Qualcomm will be able to sell Snapdragon chipsets to Huawei, and that also includes 5G modems. Preliminary orders could be in the range of $8 Billion.

Huawei Strapped For Components That Go Inside High-End Kirin SoCs Only?

Incidentally, Huawei appears capable of producing Kirin SoCs that go inside affordable, budget, and even mid-range Android smartphones. The company is apparently finding it difficult to produce the current-generation HiSilicon Kirin SoC.

Some experts indicated Huawei does have an option of approaching MediaTek or Samsung. However, Samsung’s own Exynos chipsets have received numerous reviews that aren’t great. The Korean tech giant is itself struggling with the high-end Exynos SoC that the company embedded inside its own flagship Android smartphones fabricated for select regions. MediaTek, on the other hand, doesn’t have an audience or buyers in the high-end or premium Android smartphone segment. The company confidently manufactures SoCs that go inside the affordable and mid-range Android smartphone.

That leaves only US-based Qualcomm, which leads the market for Android handsets in terms of performance, efficiency, and ubiquity. The Snapdragon Series of SoCs are used in millions of devices worldwide. While the potential deal will not just help Huawei get supplies in the near future, the duo could jointly develop new and more advanced technologies for future smartphones.

If Qualcomm is able to convince the US Government then Huawei might embed the upcoming Snapdragon 875 package that also includes the Snapdragon X60 modem, within its next flagship Android smartphone. However, this would also mean Huawei smartphones could get rather expensive, as the Snapdragon 875 SoC is believed to cost $100 more than the current flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 865.

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Alap Naik Desai


A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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