Back in September 2019, the Mate 30 Series was announced and was the first phone to fall foul of the US trade ban, which meant no Google services, despite the presence of Android 10 on the range.
And as that ban shows no signs of being lifted, it’s entirely possible Huawei will have to forge ahead with its own services running on open-source Android.
You may know that the firm is developing its own in-house operating system called HarmonyOS, but for now, it is sticking with Android; installing its own app store - the App Gallery - and using its own apps to replace some of Google's missing services.
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It’s a big ask to get developers to make their apps available in Huawei’s App Gallery but that appears to be the company's plan at the moment. It's also openly working with Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo to create a Chinese alternative to Google Play.
Regardless, you still won't be able to access Google Maps, YouTube or other Google apps which rely on Google services being installed on the phone (although their mobile browser counterparts remain unaffected).
When is the Mate 40 coming out?
It’s likely Huawei will hold an event in September 2020 to launch the range of phones, but it’s way too early for this to be confirmed.
One the same day of Apple's hotly-anticipated 15 September event, Huawei's CEO of consumer took to social media to promise that the forthcoming Mate series will be, "what you've all been waiting for" and that we should "stay tuned," implying further announcements in the near future.
In a separate report from Nikkei Asian Review, sources claim that new US restrictions mean TSMC, Huawei's leading chipset production company, has delayed the production of chipsets and won't be taking new orders for quite some time. The sources claim that this could result in a one or two-month delay to the manufacturing process while Huawei evaluates other options, although it's not clear how much of an effect this will have on the launch.
It's possible that we could see the release of the Mate 40 delayed to late 2020 or even early 2021, if Huawei can't source a chipset manufacturer, although the latter would cause conflict with the release of the tentatively-named Huawei P50, sometime early next year.
With the P40 and P40 Pro now among us, still suffering under the effects of the entity list, there's also a small chance that the Mate 40 might not get a global launch at all, and instead, be confined to China and other markets which don’t demand GMS (Google Mobile Services) to begin with.
How much will the Mate 40 cost?
Again, any figures at this stage are pure speculation but, put simply, it will cost what other flagship phones cost. We thought Huawei might drop the price of the Mate 30 because of the Google absence, but it didn't - the phone still cost just as much as its rivals.
The more relevant question is where you’ll be able to buy one. Huawei has a rather poor track record when it comes to launching devices and then failing to make them available to buy. Many of its MateBook laptops, for example, are still not available in the UK. The same goes for the base Mate 30; it’s still not officially available in the UK or Europe.
What features/specs will the Mate 40 offer?
Right now, there are very few. One is that it will be the first phone (range of phones, to be exact) to use the next-generation Kirin processor.
That might sound obvious but Huawei Central says that industry sources are reporting that the chip is already in trial production, that it is using a 5nm process and that it’s based on ARM A77 architecture.
In early June, known Twitter-based tech leaker, Ben Geskin, shared a Chinese patent document - first picked up by LetsGoDigital - which depicts a seemingly buttonless smartphone that apparently features an under-display selfie camera.
Add to that the heavily curved edges of the display and the circular camera surround seen in the renders and it doesn't take a detective to hypothesise that we're looking at an incarnation of the Huawei Mate 40 or Mate 40 Pro.
Fast-forward to August and, thanks to established tipster @OnLeaks, and websites HandsetExpert and Pricebaba, we're given a series of high-resolution CAD renders depicting both the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro - complete with circular camera surrounds.
And here comes your very first look at the #HuaweiMate40!— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) August 3, 2020
As usual, 360° video + gorgeous 5K renders, on behalf of new coming Partner @handsetexpert!
-> https://t.co/xd4IGse2Vn pic.twitter.com/Vst0uqq96A
A periscopic camera appears to be in play on the Pro's quad-camera array, while both phone also tote a dual-lens front-facing camera, similar to the P40.
Moving away from renders to actual components, GSM Arena spotted a series of images on Weibo that showcase what appear to be the actual camera modules destined for both the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro.
The designs feel decidedly Mate-appropriate, namely thanks to the circular element on each, however, this is set within a rectangular framework, which could be visible on the back of the phone or may simply help house the cameras inside their respective Mate 40 series bodies.
Something that no render has depicted thus far has been a cut-out for what's assumed to be the rectangular telephoto zoom sensor arrangement - only present on the camera module destined for the Mate 40 Pro.
The protective film on these components also alludes to some sort of 3D technology, although this could simply be interpreted as the marking for each cameras' ToF sensor - used for depth-perception when adding bokeh to portrait shots.
And that’s it. There aren't really any other notable rumours or leaks to shed any light on at this stage, hinting at what else might change or be improved.
Getting back to our wishlist for the Mate 40, Google services are obviously right up there but we’d like to see it offer improvements in the camera department - which if those renders are anything to go by suggest there might be some significant ones. Anyone who owns a P30 Pro is unlikely to lust after the Mate 30 Pro as its zoom lens basically the one you’ll find on the Mate 20 Pro (and even older P20 Pro) – 3x optical.
With the P40 Pro+ arriving with the industry’s first 10x optical zoom, the Mate 40 (Pro) will need to step up its game significantly.
Check-in regularly for the latest Mate 40 Series leaks and rumours.
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