Huawei Ban: Now HiSilicon might lose access to ARM chip designs
Huawei has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late. Having lost rights to Google’s services and applications and the Android OS as a whole following US government’s ban, Huawei had a major setback. However, according to some reports, the brand has been working on its own alternate OS with support for Android apps to tackle this issue. While this was a matter of relief, latest reports from ARM, the UK-based chip designer indicate that the situation seems to keep getting worse for Huawei.
ARM is one of the most popular chip designers and almost every chipset manufactured by Qualcomm, MediaTek and Huawei’s own HiSilicon Kirin are designed by ARM. However, according to internal documents obtained by BBC, ARM has instructed its staff to suspend business with Huawei after the recent trade debacle in the US. ARM has asked to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei and its subsidiaries, meaning both Huawei and Honor will no longer be able to use Kirin chipsets designed by ARM. This move seems to be a consequence of the fact that ARM seems to be using technology that’s originated in the US.
This is a huge setback for Huawei in terms of the ability to manufacture their own chipsets as their chips are based on ARM’s underlying technology which is licensed to them. In a statement, ARM said that they are complying with all the regulations and instructions set forth by the US Government, while Huawei does not have anything to say about this matter as of yet.
While Huawei can still use and manufacture their current HiSilicon chips manufactured in co-ordination with ARM, it’s the future chipsets that will be affected by this move. The 5G enabled Kirin 985 was expected to launch later this year in Huawei’s next flagship but looks like the SoC will now have to be built from scratch without ARM’s aid. Even if that is past the design phase and possibly out of the ban purview, future chipsets will surely be affected.
Huawei seems to be in real trouble as of now and we can only hope they find a way out soon as some recent devices from the brand were indeed great examples of innovation.