Chinese infrastructure vendor and handset maker Huawei is known for undercutting their competition in terms of price, and according to a recent teardown of one of their more popular modems that price erosion will soon come to handsets. The folks at ABI Research tore apart a Huawei E173, a very popular USB modem, and found that there are two variants of said device. One is the E173u, which features a Qualcomm modem inside, like any other modem on the market, while another model, the E173s, which is available in a limited number of markets, has silicon made by Huawei themselves under the “HiSilicon” brand. Vice President of Engineering for ABI Research James Mielke had this to say: “Huawei is one of the few remaining vertically-integrated companies in the mobile space. Will it succeed where Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, and others have failed? Like Huawei, they had diverse capabilities, but they have seen their conglomerates dismantled. The comparison between these identically-named modems may give some clues to Huawei’s plans.”
Most, if not all, of Huawei’s mobile phones feature baseband chipsets from other manufacturers, most notably Qualcomm, who allows just about anyone to get up and running with an Android or Windows Phone handset in little time. If Huawei aims to enter this space as a serious player, upsetting the traditional players such as Broadcom, Infineon, and ST-Ericsson, then they’ve got the potential to be an unstoppable force. Now while many of you reading this couldn’t care less as to who makes the modem inside your smartphone, it’s an important component in an important part of the wireless industry that’s fiercely competitive and facing ever decreasing margins.
Who’s to say that at some point in the near future we’ll hear about Huawei licensing processor and GPU designs from ARM and taking on Qualcomm full force? It’s something that may very well happen, and it would be pretty wild if it did.
[Via: Light Reading]