Birches NEWS No. 74. Shame

Why Huawei are smart, and the Western sanctions are shameful. Will a decent company be able to get rid of the harassment and pass the test with honor?

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Recently, it is impossible to ignore the ups and downs experienced by the company Huawei, which has become hostage to the complex relationship between the two superpowers. It would seem that everything has already been said and it remains only to wait for the development of events. This is what people who are interested in ready-made technologies think, but in our format of communication with you, the conflict of interests revealed a few more interesting details that can and should be discussed. Remember, in A. Dumas's book “The Three Musketeers” during the first meeting between D'Artagnan and Porthos, the sad fact of the rear of the last gentleman was revealed? The elegant noble sling of Porthos was rich only in the front, while at the back it was an ordinary belt. The detail may not be important, but the tailor would have concluded, based on experience, that a simple belt surrounds the musketeer's body around the entire circle, and a decorative insert is put on its front. Similar to the seals on the straps of our backpacks. So in the case of suffering Huawei, new elements of smartphone production technology are revealed, previously unknown to the common user.

Birches NEWS No. 74.  Shame

In order not to scatter the article over the meanings, I propose to approach the situation from the side of practical questions and answers to them. I will try to make sure that the most interesting question – 'how long will the company Huawei hold out offline' – anyone could answer himself. And in order to draw the necessary conclusions, we need to know:

Table of contents:

  1. Where is the most vulnerable place in the production of chipsets and smartphones Huawei?
  2. How long will the existing HiSilicon chipsets remain relevant if they manage to launch them in China?
  3. What about the development of new chipsets?
  4. Are there other vulnerable technologies for Huawei besides software, chipsets and SD-media?
  5. conclusions

Where is the most vulnerable place in the production of chipsets and smartphones Huawei?

The main partner Huawei in silicon production is the Taiwanese company TSMC, which has already stopped production of new HiSilicon chipsets. On Sunday, the main smartphone assembly point Huawei, Foxconn, reported the closure of several assembly lines, but not of its own free will, but due to a reduction in orders from the company itself Huawei. It's hard to say what is more here, the desire Huawei not to expose your important partner or practical calculation based on the number of ready-made HiSilicon chipsets and demand. It is important to note that the company Huawei still develops and sells smartphones based on chipsets MediaTek and it is quite capable of producing such budget solutions on its own in China. And TSMC will not mind fulfilling an order for such chipsets, because the company MediaTek has not yet been forbidden to cooperate with Huawei. But the objective reality is that the communication technology 5G Huawei, against which the neocons of the West seem to have taken up arms, was planned specifically for the company's proprietary chipsets, HiSilicon 985 and 990.

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The head of Foxconn is Mr. Terry Gou. Source South China Morning Post.

As part of the discussion of mobile technologies, we somehow all the time forget about the events that accompany major financial conflicts. But there is something to see. The head of Foxconn, who by coincidence is one of the strongest presidential candidates of the Republic of China (the official name of Taiwan is not recognized in Russia), Terry Gou is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the President of the United States is putting pressure on him (with whom he met the other day and was criticized), and on the other hand, he needs to preserve the jobs of potential voters, whose loss will occur in the event of a proactive refusal to cooperate with Huawei. What is the cunning Gow doing? Friends, remember your military service. What does a wise company officer do when a surprise check finds non-existent flaws in his work? He begins to scream pretentiously at the outfit, blaming others and disclaiming responsibility. Slightly dumbfounded, but pleased, the commander leaves, and the duty officer along with the outfit goes to drink tea with buns, discussing the “stupidity of the authorities.” This principle works at absolutely all levels, and not only in the army, there it is simply more noticeable. Gou did the same, he loudly demanded that China finally recognize the independence of the Republic of China, but did absolutely nothing. No sanctions against Huawei, no litigation and proceedings, no real steps. A Chinese wedding in all its glory – there is a lot of noise, but no fight.

Birches NEWS No. 74.  Shame


I would also like to note that it is always better to rely on primary sources in your conclusions. God forbid you to read Western publications, when they translate quotes from Chinese leaders into English, they will translate you only as required by the current political moment, which means that you will never know the truth. The language issue is another factor in this conflict that directly affects stock prices and industry investments. Moneybags will not go looking for the source, they will hire Oxford graduates who read the article in the media and make a serious mistake in the end.

Summing up the section, let's say that the problem with the production of Hisilicon chipsets for flagship smartphones Huawei is focused on Fr. Taiwan, where the interests of the two superpowers intersect. This problem can be solved not proceeding from the desire of the West, but by virtue of the internal political situation next year after the local presidential elections. Because businessman and candidate Terry Gow began peddling the island's sovereignty after a visit to the United States and remarks about the huge investments that Foxconn makes in mainland companies, but Terry does nothing other than loud accusations. Businessman Gou must protect investment, and President Gou must protect jobs. Whatever one may say, the USA with their claims is not in this equation. But the silicon production of TSMC is included in it in any case.

How long will the existing HiSilicon chipsets remain relevant if they manage to launch them in China?

Based on experience and FPS in the most difficult games for Android, it is known that flagship processors live for at least four years, without limiting the owner of the smartphone in anything. I think you will agree that the flagship will lose its presentation faster, getting chips, scratches and abrasions, than there will be software that will make him think. And Huawei would have had this time lag to somehow ride out the harsh days if the company could get the current chipsets into production at factories in China. Alas, these are only dreams, because modern Chinese wafer factories can only offer a 28 nm process technology, and it takes at least 5 years to build new factories.

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This is clearly seen by the same industry leader – TSMC, which in 2018 laid a 3-nm plant, which will only reach full capacity in 2023. Approximately such deadlines were observed before when switching to a new technical process. This is despite the fact that TSMC has all the necessary technologies, a favorable economic climate and its own army of well-trained specialists. All those that China does not have and Huawei. This question can be closed – the current HiSilicon chipsets will remain relevant for 5 years in existing and released until the end of 2019 (estimated estimate of the amount of Hisilicon stocks in Huawei), smartphones.

What about the development of new chipsets?

The development of new chipsets is not only the purchase of a license from ARM, is it also the development itself? Before the first prototype is made, many engineers will sit down at their personal computers, turn them on and run special editor programs. Before the start of the big holy war to rid the world of the oppression of spy smartphones Huawei, it never occurred to anyone to ask what, in fact, the company with the beautiful name Synopsys, Inc. (SNPS in NASDAQ) was doing.

Birches NEWS No. 74.  Shame

It did not come until the company Huawei received sanctions, including from Synopsys. The carpenter produces furniture using files and saws, saws and files are produced according to the process technology 1 centimeter at the factory, drawings for the production of files and saws are made by a hired (or part of the structure) design office. And the tools for writing drawings, methods and standards that simplify their writing, as well as compatible with plant equipment, are provided by some institute. Such an institution, or, if you prefer, the creator of development tools, is Synopsys. Sorry for such a long description, but understanding the essence is indispensable if we want to understand the full force of the blow that the company took upon itself Huawei. Imagine a pipe mill and a design office that can no longer send, receive, and use CAD-format designs. This is the complete destruction of all progress, the refusal of Synopsys to cooperate with Huawei completely knocks the earth out from under the latter. Synopsys provides its chipset and ASIC development tools for 90% of the entire FinFET market, which means most of today's and future chipsets are included. The only direct competitor to Synopsys is the American company Cadence, which, it seems, did not announce sanctions Huawei only due to the lack of common affairs.

If Huawei does not find ways to circumvent this prohibition, then even with good relations with Taiwan, they will not be able to provide manufacturing-compatible blueprints for new chips. And developing tools to produce development tools will take much longer than anything else. And how Huawei will get out of the situation is not yet clear.

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However, in addition to the operator equipment 5G, which seems to be the reason for all the fuss, there is a consumer client – a modem in the end device. And Huawei already has such a modem, including all production documentation. The modem is called Balong 5000, and it should debut in the European market this month in the Mate 20 X. The fact remains that Huawei has a modem and all the necessary production documentation for it, which in theory allows you to create 5G – a smartphone based on MediaTek. And here you need to understand that none of the competitors will have all 5G infrastructure for a long time, including operator and consumer equipment. And this is the main bargaining trump card Huawei to date, with the help of which the US sanctions map is bit in the European Union countries, which convinced them to completely ignore the US threats.

Are there other vulnerable technologies for Huawei besides software, chipsets and SD-media?

Let's not remember the limitations of Google here, anyone knows that Android is an Open Source project, which means that anyone can write Android personally for themselves. At least with wings, at least with mother-of-pearl buttons. For this reason, it shouldn't come as a surprise to rumors of a new OS Android from Huawei called OS Hongmeng. The only drawback of the worker Android – custom can only be the lack of an app store from Google. And now I propose to imagine myself in the place of a Google manager, who gets the information about what users bet on Hongmeng Open Gapps, including Google Play. What will he do? That's right, he will remain silent about the new cash flow (purchase of games and applications, subscriptions) until someone outside the company finds out and writes about it to the US Congress. And this has been going on for years with all AOSP projects. So the 'Google sanctions' are not as bad as they are portrayed.

Birches NEWS No. 74.  Shame

Everything that the company Huawei has decided to share about the new OS can be read on the resource Huawei, which it has chosen as the mouthpiece of its activities in this direction

In the comments, it was suggested to consider the option of prohibiting (revoking the license) on the use of codecs, for example, the popular HEVC (H.265), but we hardly have to talk about such a possibility. And this is because the manufacturer of a device with hardware support (and only with it) of this codec is now paying royalties to two groups of patent holders. There are many voting members in these groups, and they are so different that it is unrealistic to get them to vote to cancel receiving their income. They can nod at each other for an infinitely long time, like deputies of the parliament of one neighboring country, and in the end come to nothing. You can read a good article on this topic here.


And the conclusions are very simple, friends. Considering the national pride of the Chinese in general and Huawei in particular, we can confidently assert that there will be no compromise. Either Taiwan and China (together) will find ways to circumvent US sanctions, or we will see smartphones Huawei based on MediaTek + Balong modem.

Owners of Huawei are strongly advised to read the sections and XDA Developers on the topic 'how to change the IMEI of a smartphone' in advance, in the end you will get something like this conditional Sony or Motorola instead of Huawei, in the Google Play settings column 'About the application' which will have 'uncertified device' written, which will not affect the work of the services of the empire of good. At least it is now.

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