Huawei's iPhone 13 Pro rival might be coming pretty soon

Huawei Mate 40 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Lots of rumors pointed to the Huawei Mate 50 series being canceled this year - Huawei's top-end Android phones, which would likely have rivaled the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, apparently fell victim to the ongoing chipset shortages and Huawei's own struggles.

This would make sense, as the Huawei P50 series launching months late suggested the company's calendar was in disarray, but apparently the rumors aren't correct. Popular leaker Digital Chat Station has posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo to say "q1 flagship business in the test s898 4g, the model seems to be sm8425".

That might seem nonsensical, and DCS is known to write in cryptic language (a fact not helped by the fact this statement is machine-translated from Chinese) but it's saying that Huawei is testing a flagship for early 2022 using the Snapdragon 898 chipset.

That chipset is the as-yet-unannounced successor to the Snapdragon 888, a top-end chipset lots of premium Android smartphones use. According to DCS, Huawei is testing a 4G-only version, and it did the same with its P50 phones using a non-5G Snapdragon 888.

We'd imagine this flagship is the Huawei Mate 50 as that's the next top-end phone we were expecting from Huawei, and it's too early for the P60 to show up. 

Analysis: should you take a chance on Huawei?

When the Huawei ban first happened in 2019, new phones from the company couldn't come with Google apps including the Play Store - this meant you couldn't easily download apps, making them pretty hard to use.

Over two years on, and Huawei phones have easy ways to get apps, making them much better to buy and use. However the company as a whole is on shaky ground - its market share is plummeting outside China, and its phones getting launched way off schedule is enough to be wary of what's happening for the brand.

When you buy a new phone, you don't just want it to be great to use - you want it to be supported for years to come with frequent software updates and security patches. And with Huawei's current scattergun approach to... well, everything, it could be a little hard to have confidence that the company will keep delivering for years.

We're not saying Huawei is going to go bust in the next year, but the company's priorities seem to be drifting away from smartphones to other tech gadgets, that aren't affected by the various trade embargoes.

So if the Huawei Mate 50 does come out at the beginning of the year - which, we should note, is when we're also expecting the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Xiaomi 12 - the company is going to have to work hard to prove these are devices it'll continue to support into the future. Otherwise buyers might be more tempted by Samsung or Xiaomi's offerings.

Tom Bedford

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.