We've come to expect new smartphones to be 5G phones, since the vast majority of new devices use this current generation of connectivity, but a few cheaper phones still just use 4G. In a big surprise, we could see the Huawei P50 join the 4G-phone ranks too.
According to popular leaker Digital Chat Station, posting on Chinese social media platform Weibo, chipset company Qualcomm is working on a 4G-only version of its top-end Snapdragon 888 chipset (which we've seen in the OnePlus 9, Xiaomi Mi 11, Oppo Find X3 Pro and more). On the back of that, another popular leaker Bald Panda stated that the chipset in question would be used for the Huawei P50.
If true, that would be quite a surprise - almost all flagship or big-name phones in 2021 are 5G devices, and it would seem strange for Huawei to put out a 4G version of its next flagship - though the reasons do make sense.
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It's possible that there will be both 4G and 5G versions of the Huawei P50, a possibility that Digital Chat Station subsequently raised, which would give people who don't live in 5G-enabled regions a more affordable model to buy.
We'll have to see what the situation is when the Huawei P50 launches, though. We don't have a solid time for when that'll happen, but it'll probably be sooner rather than later.
Why the 4G?
It's no big secret that Huawei has been affected by trade sanctions the US has put on China - but while the sanctions block many things, including the trade of 5G chipsets, apparently 4G chipsets are still on the table.
That could explain why Qualcomm is making a 5G-less version of its top chipset - it would allow the company to maintain trade with Huawei.
Still, while that would make sense for a mid-range phone, as handsets at that price tag wouldn't always be expected to have 5G, it's curious that this could affect Huawei's flagship phone, especially as the company does make its own chipsets.
As stated, we'll have to see what happens - this rumor could turn out to be totally unfounded when the phone launches.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.