U.S. Split on Whether to Blacklist Former Huawei Smartphone Company

U.S. Split on Whether to Blacklist Former Huawei Smartphone Company

Honor CEO Zhao Ming. His company faces a possible U.S. blacklist over their former association with Huawei.

It’s been awhile since we talked about Huawei, but it seems they’re back in the news – tangentially this time. According to The Verge, the U.S. Government is apparently split on whether to blacklist Honor, formerly of Huawei.

That “former” is important – in November of last year, the smartphone company made the decision to divorce itself from Huawei, mainly for practical reasons.

At the time, Huawei said Honor did so “to ensure its own survival,” because of “a persistent unavailability of technical elements needed for our mobile phone business” (read: the Huawei embargo made it impossible for Honor to obtain critical components).

And the sell-off has already paid dividends – Honor’s first post-Huawei smartphone, the Magic 3 Series, will come equipped with Google’s apps and services, which obviously wouldn’t have been available to companies (or company subsidiaries) subject to U.S. embargoes.

It’s an impressive piece of hardware, too. The standard Magic 3 has a Snapdragon 888 processor and a 6.76-inch 1344p OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It also has three beefy cameras -- a 50-megapixel 1/1.56-inch main camera, a 13-megapixel 1/1.31-inch ultrawide, and a 64-megapixel monochrome camera. The Pro and Pro Plus models even support wireless charging up to 50W.

And the Google inclusion should make the Magic 3 Series exceedingly competitive outside China, while Honor’s prior releases had to rely on Huawei’s internal services which, needless to say, can’t compete with one of the largest information technology companies in the world.

But Honor still faces a – possibly outdated – guilt by association with its former parent company. And while Pentagon and Energy wanted to blacklist Honor, Commerce and State Department officials were apparently convinced that being a former Huawei subsidiary didn’t come with any baggage (or a potential security risk).

Needless to say, the eventual decision on Honor could have profound financial and political ramifications for the Chinese smartphone company.