Saturday, December 2, 2023

Huawei is reportedly all out of its homegrown chips but a new patent could be a gamechanger – do phone


Again in Might 2019, Huawei was positioned on the U.S. entity listing which it nonetheless is on at present. The U.S. cited safety as the rationale why it put the corporate on the listing which prevents it from accessing its U.S. provide chain, together with Google. Precisely one 12 months later, the U.S. modified its export guidelines stopping foundries utilizing American know-how to provide chips from sending chopping-edge silicon to Huawei. 

A new report says that Huawei has used each single final homegrown Kirin chip

As a consequence, Huawei cannot even get hold of its personal Kirin chips designed by its HiSilicon unit. At one time, Huawei was TSMC’s second-largest buyer after Apple. For its final two flagship collection, the pictures-centered (no pun meant…or was it?) P50 line launched in 2021 and this 12 months’s Mate 50 line (apart from the low-priced Mate 50e), Huawei acquired permission to make use of Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line SoCs designed to not work with 5G.

A new report launched by analytical agency Counterpoint Research (by way of the English-language South China Morning Post) says that based mostly on its computations, Huawei has used up all of its personal homegrown chips. Within the report on smartphone utility processor (AP) market share, Counterpoint mentioned, “Primarily based on our checks and promote-by means of information, Huawei has completed its stock of HiSilicon chipsets.”
Throughout the third quarter of this 12 months, HiSilicon’s share of the smartphone AP market was zero p.c. That was down sequentially from the .4% share it had final quarter and the three% share it had in the course of the third quarter final 12 months. The highest designers of AP chips for smartphones embody MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Apple.

In October, The Monetary Instances reported that Huawei is seeking to redesign its telephones to work with much less superior chips produced by Chinese language foundries. China’s largest foundry is SMIC and whereas it was in a position to produce chips utilizing its 7nm course of node, these chips have been for cryptocurrency mining and never advanced sufficient to drive a smartphone. SMIC and different Chinese language foundries are producing 14nm chips at finest, removed from the chopping-edge 3nm chips that TSMC and Samsung Foundry are delivery subsequent 12 months.

Which means that whereas Huawei will be in a position to provide 5G connectivity on its new telephones if it makes use of silicon made in China, its telephones won’t be as quick because the competitors. That is as a result of the upper the method node, the decrease the transistor depend in these chips. And sporting fewer transistors, the chips will be much less highly effective and vitality-environment friendly. The final time the iPhone had a 14nm chipset was when the Samsung model of the A9 chip was utilized in some iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus fashions again in 2015.

Huawei has achieved a tremendous job designing its personal HarmonyOS working system (now on its third model) and it changed the Google Cell Companies ecosystem with its personal Huawei Cell Companies. But since Huawei will not be capable of finding a foundry in a position to produce chopping-edge chips with out utilizing U.S. know-how, the export rule change is Huawei’s greatest challenge at this level.

Huawei’s EUV patent could be a gamechanger

And the U.S. has additionally labored with the Netherlands to forestall the export to China of essential Excessive Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) machines. Principally made by a Dutch firm known as ASML, these are college bus-sized machines that price $150 million every and are used to etch circuitry patterns thinner than a human hair on silicon wafers. These patterns need to be extraordinarily skinny in order that billions of transistors can be positioned inside a chip.

Final month, a senior Dutch official mentioned that the Netherlands will have to defend its economic interests. In different phrases, it’d quickly have to permit ASML to export EUV machines to China as a substitute of passing up on the financial affect of permitting these machines to be shipped to China. As soon as this occurs, we could see Chinese language foundries like SMIC make a push to develop chopping-edge AP chips for smartphones.
But Huawei won’t need to depend on ASML. Final month the corporate obtained a patent permitting it to create its personal EUV machine that may be used to fabricate chips utilizing a 7nm course of node and decrease. If Huawei could make an EUV machine with out utilizing U.S. patents, it is going to have a sturdy shot at bringing again its Kirin chips.

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