If you'd told me Huawei would rise to be the world's biggest smartphone vendor this time last year, I would have laughed you out of the room, and yet here we are. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many companies very hard, but Samsung's decline has been steeper than most as many of its key markets are suffering. Meanwhile, Huawei now sells 70% of its smartphones in China, whose economic recovery has been relatively swift in recent months.
We've extensively reported on OEMs that needlessly kill useful background processes to save battery life, creating problems like missed notifications and alarms, aborted sleep tracking, broken upload schedules, and more. While all of these issues are annoying, they're not exactly life-threatening. However, as soon as we're talking about coronavirus tracing apps, missed exposure notifications could put you or others at risk, and it looks like that happened to the German COVID-19 tracking app, which hasn't been able to alert some people due to background restrictions.
Huawei has had its share of rough times recently. From navigating through the turmoil of the US banning trade, to figuring out how to sell phones without Google's suite of Play services and apps, it's been a period of adjustment for China's largest telecom. And now it appears that the company is facing renewed scrutiny about the use of its technology in the United Kingdom.
In the past few years, the FCC has made overtures against Huawei and ZTE, characterizing them as national security threats. Well, now it's official: the commission has passed an order officially declaring the two Chinese tech giants as national security threats to the United States.
Honor and parent brand Huawei have seen a lot of trouble recently thanks to things like the trade ban and the sanctions put in place last year. That hasn't stopped the flow of new devices, though, despite them being really hard to use without any Google apps. Now Honor is unveiling a new 9A handset that packs the promise of major battery power, alongside some new wireless earbuds.
Huawei's latest iteration of its custom skin on top of Android, EMUI 10.1, was first introduced along with the P40 series in March. Back then, we didn't know when the software would make the jump to other phones internationally, even though some handsets received the update in the form of a beta. That's now changing — Huawei has announced that it will start rolling out EMUI 10.1 across its lineup starting this month.
You would think that smartwatch shipments fell sharply this year due to many people being confined to their homes during lockdown orders, but the market is alive and well with a 12% growth compared to last year's first quarter, according to Canalys. However, the news isn't great for every player: Apple's and Fitbit's share annual growth turned negative while Huawei, Samsung, and Garmin are the winners of Q1 2020.
Even though Huawei has been blocked from working with Google, the company is continuing to push forward with its Android smartphones. The P40 series was announced earlier this year, but at the time, only the P40 and P40+ models were available to purchase outside of China. Now the camera powerhouse that is the P40 Pro+ is coming to the rest of the world, but there's still no sign of the Play Store.
The Honor Play 4 and Play 4 Pro are your typical high-octane Huawei smartphones at greatly reduced prices that won't be sold far beyond China. Both phones have 5G, the Play 4 has four rear cameras and vapor cooling while the Play 4 Pro has two in-display selfie cameras and 40W charging. But the newest attraction we can pick out here is that there's a special version of the Play 4 Pro that has an IR temperature sensor.