Whenever people discuss the problems Huawei is facing due to the so-called Trump ban the conversation rarely strays from the smartphone discussion and yet Huawei is more than just a smartphone company. Their product line is every bit as extensive as Samsung’s.
They don’t just make expensive phones like the P40 Pro, they also make Televisions and even dabble in the laptop game as well. In fact, the stats show that they actually have a very viable laptop business. Have you ever seen a Huawei laptop in real life? Me neither, I just ogle at them on YouTube.
The company started marketing their MateBook series back in 2016 when they gained a meagre 2% market share. In 2020 that number has grown to about 17% of the Chinese market and the company is expected to ship about 6 million units of its popular MateBook series in 2020. The company has also said that they have seen a growth of about 250% compared to 2018. Not a bad side business if you ask me.
The secret to Huawei’s success is pretty simple. Excellent, high-end stunning hardware is paired with popular software. These laptops come preinstalled with Windows. Like everywhere else in the world, people in China and those from other countries like the U.S, E.U, U.K. etc expect to get Windows on their laptops because it’s the most popular desktop OS out there.
But how is this possible you ask? How come they are still allowed to install Windows on Huawei laptops when the company is not allowed to use Google Services? This is because Microsoft was granted a licence by the Trump administration that allows it to export their software to the Chinese giant. Why Google didn’t get such a licence is not something I can understand.
You would think that Huawei would be happy with this exception. After all the future is bright and it seems things are on the up. Well, the thing is that they are still worried. Trump and his bans reminded the company just how fickle fate can be in the hands of an unpredictable foreign government.
The company wants a backup that they can fall on should, say another ban was to come into effect preventing them from using Windows. The thing is despite everyone expecting Donald Trump to leave office next month, a new dude in the White House might not be enough to see a reset in the China-US relations and the company wants to be prepared.
Huawei has already made laptops that come preinstalled with Deepin Linux in the past. The incredible 2020 MateBook X Pro already comes with the Deepin Option and it seems this Deepin experiment will become an entrenched backup. The company’s Qingyun L410 laptop which will go on sale soon also has Deepin as an option. Another interesting thing to note is that the laptop will be running the Kirin 990 processor. The same guy that powers the P40 Pro.
If you are a computer user and don’t know what Deepin Linux is then you haven’t lived. This is easily the most beautiful Linux distro there is out there. The Debian distro comes with eye-candy right out of the box and the fact that it’s based on Debian means that it’s rock-solid too. Then there is the added benefit that the Distro is Chinese made and is backed by the State and other major corporations.
There is also the hilarious fact that both Deepin and Huawei’s Mate series seem like they take their design cues from Cupertino. Bringing the two together is like fulfilling a destiny. I mean the last laptop released by Deepin was called a MateBook X Pro! The end result is a stunning laptop that almost feels like it was made by Apple.
As an aside, you don’t need the MateBook X just so you can get the Deepin experience. You can download the Deepin ISO file here, put it on a USB drive and live-boot into Deepin. And no, despite a lot of nonsense articles saying the opposite, Deepin is not spyware.
Huawei has been talking about their unified operating system for a while now. Dubbed Harmony OS, the operating system is now in beta mode if you have a Huawei phone you can install it but it doesn’t seem like there is a ready version for their laptops. For now, it’s just Windows primarily with Deepin in the wings should Mr Biden want to continue putting pressure on China.
It’s not clear what the effect would be if that were to happen though. To be honest, Windows is not the beginning and end that it used to be on the desktop. With things like cloud computing the only time, you need Windows is when you are a heavy Adobe product user.
Still people are afraid of new things and Huawei will probably suffer if they are prevented from using Windows. Deepin is a different beast that a lot of people will not be willing to ride. So it would still be Windows or Miserly for Huawei.