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Huawei skirts US ban with 'new' P30 Pro, but only the colors are new

The phone isn't actually new, which means it could still use Google apps.

The Huawei P30 Pro now comes in mystic blue and misty lavender.
Angela Lang/CNET

Huawei unveiled what it called its "new" P30 Pro flagship smartphone on Friday at IFA 2019 in Berlin, but it turns out to be the same P30 Pro handset, just in two new colors. Richard Yu, who's CEO of Huawei's consumer business unit, said the new colors were "inspired by nature." They are mystic blue, which is supposed to look like the sea on the horizon, and misty lavender, which is meant to look like a sunset.

"Today I bring our new phone, new P30 Pro," Yu said in Huawei's IFA press conference.

An ad for the "new" P30 Pro phones shows them being used to take photos of clothes and food in the same shades of pinkish purple and blue.

Huawei P30 Pro new IFA

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei consumer business unit, presents the "new" P30 Pro Friday at IFA in Berlin.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET

Huawei was blacklisted in the US in May in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that charge. 

But US companies are able to sell equipment to Huawei if they get licenses and when it doesn't pose a threat to national security. The reprieve has reportedly triggered more than 130 applications for licenses to sell US products to Huawei. It doesn't, however, apply to new products, meaning Google Android-licensed apps and services likely won't be used on any new phones from the Chinese tech giant.

Bringing out "new" but actually old phones skirts the ban, as reported earlier by The Verge; the two new colors of the P30 Pro will launch with Android 10.

Huawei's actual new phone, the Mate 30, is due to launch on Sept. 19

Huawei also used IFA to unveil its foldable Mate X phone, the 5G Kirin 990 chip and its new wireless AirPods rival, the FreeBuds 3.

IFA, a massive consumer technology showcase held annually, is used by tech companies to unveil their latest products. It runs from Friday, Sept. 6, to Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.