Huawei has confirmed that it won’t launch its upcoming MateBook laptop, due to the US trade ban. The company’s consumer division CEO Richard Yu has confirmed the indefinite postponement to CNBC in an interview, saying “We cannot supply the PC”.
The Chinese tech company’s trade ban woes are far from over. Sanctions from the US government are restricting Huawei’s ability to use American products like Microsoft Windows and Intel processors. Both of these are required to bring its notebook computers to the international market.
We have already seen Huawei lose access to future Android updates and Google apps, as well as pre-installed Facebook apps. The biggest pitfall for the company is the use of American software on its devices. China will continue to build hardware either way, because the US isn’t its only market. Huawei’s largest consumer base is in China.
Huawei has said that it’s working on its own OS for its mobile phones, but that won’t necessarily work on laptops. Huawei is also said to have a desktop operating system in the works, but going up against Windows and macOS is… foolhardy.
The MateBook was set to be revealed at CES Asia in Shanghai this week, but we won’t see anything from the laptop maker for a while. Yu says that Huawei won’t have the capacity to launch the laptop while it is placed on the Entity List. “[It] depends on how long the Entity List will be there,” the CEO said.
As far as we know, there isn’t any specific technical information available concerning the MateBook. We therefore don’t know which part of the current ban is locking this launch out. We do know about the MateBook 14 and the MateBook X Pro devices the company teased at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year. Neither of these has made it to retail yet. At this point, we’re not especially positive that either will.
Huawei has suggested that its stockpiling of components and proprietary technology will mitigate the effect of the Trump administration’s sanctions. This specific delay may be more a software issue than a hardware shortage, however. We fear that Huawei’s retreat from launching a completed device could finally show the real effects of the trade war.