I’ve been using mobile phones since the mid-nineties and have seen several companies impact the industry. Motorola and Nokia helped shape much of the earlier years of mobile phones with the latter introducing me to my first “smart” phone with the Communicator.
Then came BlackBerry that pushed productivity on mobile phones with push email and instant messaging and I was using one all the way till the iPhone grew up. What BlackBerry did for productivity, the iPhone did for touchscreens and that has helped shape the last decade of mobile phones.
While the iPhone has targeted the premium-end of the market, Android brought smartphone to the masses and the likes of HTC and Samsung allowed Android to compete against the iPhone with premium build quality and new features.
Although I’ve mostly stuck with the iPhone as my primary phone over the last decade, I’ve always had an Android, BlackBerry or Windows phone as a backup. That being said there have been a few times when an Android phone became my primary phone.
Phones such as the HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z5 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 have pushed mobile phones beyond what they were capable of and convinced me to use them as my primary device- at least for some period of time. There’s one more phone that did that last year and that was the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
My introduction to the Huawei brand was about five or six years back when Huawei set up office in the UAE. When I asked how does one pronounce the name of the company the answer was a very simple reminder about the company’s state with consumers back in day- to remember it as a company that sounded like “Who are we?”
Although that stuck with me, the devices Huawei was making at that time certainly didn’t and had you asked me about their phones in 2013, I would have just shrugged them off as a brand that almost everyone would never ever hear about.
Huawei certainly proved me wrong!
The first time I actually took notice of their phone was with the Mate 9 In 2016. It was the right phone at the right time- a large screen device with impressive capabilities released just a bit after Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.
Things had gone terribly wrong for Samsung that year- when large screen phones started becoming the norm and Huawei, with the impressive Mate 9 happily stepped in.
From the Mate 9 to the latest P30 Pro, Huawei has proved itself to be on the forefront of mobile phone technology pushing innovations such as the first Android phone with a 7nm chipset or the first phone with wireless reverse charging. Huawei has become the second largest phone maker in the world by improving its products at a rate faster than its competitors.
And there's more to come. With the move into foldable technology, Huawei could have lead mobile phones into what could possibly become the next defining form factor for the industry. The only competitor Huawei had to the Mate X was the Samsung Galaxy Fold, another product that hasn’t started on the right foot. I have played with the Huawei Mate X and it certainly is a very exciting device.
Cutting off access to Android and ARM can severely restrict a phone manufacturer and although Huawei is acting calm on the outside, I imagine there is a storm brewing inside the company. Against many odds, Huawei has risen to the top of the smartphone market in recent years and I doubt it would give up that position without putting up a good fight.
But restricting Huawei means restricting the industry. With no worthy competition, we've seen stagnation across many industries time and again. The war between Apple and Samsung stopped being exciting with both companies finding their comfortable spots. But then came Huawei as the new challenger and rocked the boat that forced Samsung to push harder which resulted in a better product- the Galaxy S10.
The industry needs to continue moving at this pace and with the Mate X as well the Mate 30 Pro, Huawei would have kept the pressure on. I am still wishful that this issue resolves itself and we get to see these products released worldwide. It would be a shame if all the hard work Huawei has put into this industry comes to an end because of politics.