Huawei's Mate 60 smartphone should have been impossible

Huawei Mate 60
(Image credit: Huawei/Future)

Smartphone manufacturers are always trying to achieve the 'impossible', pushing the boundaries of tech with incredible cameras, displays and the like. Not so obviously impressive is the addition of 5G, which has been around in smartphones since 2019. But Huawei's adoption of tech is surprising, since US sanctions meant it wasn't supposed to happen.

Since 2019, sanctions have restricted Huawei from accessing chipmaking tools essential for producing 5G chips, leaving the company relying on a short supply of stockpiled chips. But with the 5G Mate 60, which has been announced to much fanfare in China, Huawei seems to have achieved the impossible. Could the brand finally be returning to our best camera phones roundup in 2023?

Huawei Mate 60

(Image credit: Huawei)

In what a TechInsights analyst told Reuters comes as "a slap in the face" to the US, Huawei has made its own advances in semiconductor design, with chipmaking help from SMIC. Indeed, the Mate 60's processor is "the first to utilize SMIC's most advanced 7nm technology and suggests the Chinese government is making some headway in attempts to build a domestic chip ecosystem", according to the analyst. The sanctions were initially put in place due to security fears over Huewei's ties to the Chinese government.

The timing of the launch is being seen as particularly provocative, coinciding with a visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "Raimondo comes seeking to cool things down, and this chip is [saying] 'look what we can do, we don't need you,'"  the analyst adds. Indeed, the launch has led to a social media frenzy in Chin and beyond.

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With all the incredible iPhone 15 rumours doing the rounds, it's a little strange to see so much buzz around a 5G phone. The Mate 60 features a 6.82-inch LTPO OLED display and a 50MP camera – but rather than the specs, it's the suggestion that China has found away around US-imposed limits that seems to be the real story here. 

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).