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Huawei in 2021: The P50, a Pixel-killing camera and a return to Google?

It’s been a turbulent time for telecoms giant Huawei over the last 12 months, with it continuing to be hit with accusations and sanctions from the US government that have forced it to make several radical moves to stay competitive in the Western market.

These have included everything from the launch of replacements for Google Services, like App Gallery, to completely new operating systems, like HarmonyOS.

In fact, the firm’s been moving at such a frenzied pace that you may justifiably be wondering what Huawei has planned for 2021.

Here to help we’ve created this guide detailing our team of tech expert’s predictions of what’s in store for Huawei in 2021.

The bus is perhaps a bit dark, but the sky has been served well

1. It won’t give up on the Western market

Huawei has made clear it will not give up on its aspirations to become a top player in the West, even if it can’t use Google services.

This has been a constant theme in its press releases and showcased by its decision to continue opening Huawei stores in the West. Most recently this was reiterated by Anson Zhang, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Groupwhen it opened its first UK retail store in London, where she said:

“The UK is a hugely important market for us, and we’re pleased to be able to offer customers the opportunity to pick up new technology in-store, in addition to a superior customer service experience. As well as being a key milestone for Huawei in the UK, we’re excited that this will open up more jobs to Stratford residents and help support the British economy.”

2. The Huawei P50 will be a contender of camera phone of the year

A consequence of this will be that the firm continues to win customers away from the likes of Samsung, and its hotly anticipated Galaxy S21 2021 flagship, using top end camera tech.

Huawei’s been slowly pushing this strategy since it first partnered with power-house camera maker Leica to co-engineer the P10’s camera all the way back in 2017.

Since then the firm has released some of the best camera phones on the market with the P20 and P30 lines both scoring incredibly well when we reviewed them. We expect this trend to continue in 2021, though what specific tweaks Huawei has planned for the P50’s snapper remain a mystery.

Related: Best camera phones

Huawei MateBook X

3. New Matebooks

A lot of people forget that Huawei actually makes pretty decent laptops. The firm’s Matebook series has constantly been an unsung hero and regular feature in our best laptop guide year on year.

Which is why we have high hopes it’ll continue this trend in 2021, which is already looking set to be a great year for laptops. According to rumours there are going to be a number of key new technologies hitting the market that should make 2021’s laptops a huge step up on anything we’ve seen before. Highlights include rumblings Nvidia and AMD will bring their respective new Ampere and RDNA 2 architecture GPUs to laptops. If true this would let make the new wave of laptops absolute powerhouses, offering unprecedented gaming and creative performance.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon CPUs and modems are also expected to slowly start making their way onto laptops next year. Given Huawei’s pedigree in the space, it would make sense for the firm to have a 5G capable Matebook in its 2021 line as well.

Related: Best laptops

What is Huawei Mobile Services? Pictured - Huawei app gallery

4. A return to Google services?

Whether or not relations between Huawei and the US will thaw to the point it’ll be able to start using Google Services on its phones and tablets is the biggest question for Huawei fans in 2021.

Though speculation suggests the US President to be Biden has a softer stance to China, and by extension Huawei, it’s unclear when, or if he’ll reverse the Executive Order against it. If he doesn’t Huawei will have to continue developing its own services and App Gallery mobile library.

Then there’s also the question; even if it can use Google Services, will it? Huawei’s a pretty big company with a presence in numerous markets where Google isn’t really a thing, like China and Russia. It’s also not known for being the most forgiving of firms, which means it may not be interested in returning to Google, even if the option’s available.

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