Huawei’s Honor hints at releasing a new AI-tinged phone in May

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Honor, a sub-brand of Chinese phone giant Huawei, is hinting at big things to come. An email sent to TNW (and, it seems, various other members of the tech press) asks reporters to “save the date” for an event due to take place in London on May 15, focusing on “Beauty in AI.” The phone manufacturer’s PR representatives attached a GIF to the email showing London’s cityscape, with a silhouette of a phone overlaid. It also contains a camera shutter effect over the words “AI,” suggesting that the focus of the event will be photography. Looks like @UKHonor is up…

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LG is reportedly supplying OLED screens for Huawei’s $2,100 Mate RS

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LG has made OLED screens in small numbers over the years, but it spun up large-scale OLED production about a year ago. Google apparently wanted to get in on the ground floor, so it invested in LG’s new OLED operations. So far, it’s just been LG, Xiaomi, and Google using the latest LG OLEDs, but a new report claims Huawei is using them on the new Mate RS.

Huawei announced the Porsche Design Mate RS last week, leaving us all aghast at the exorbitant pricing.

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LG is reportedly supplying OLED screens for Huawei’s $ 2,100 Mate RS was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Huawei’s P20 Pro rivals the best smartphone cameras out there

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We're a skeptical bunch at Engadget, and when Huawei briefed us on its P20 Pro smartphone, listing an endless torrent of specifications and dubbing its Leica Triple Camera system "the most advanced camera on a phone yet," we collectively rolled our e…
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Huawei’s FreeBuds are €159 ripoffs of Apple AirPods

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Huawei has unveiled what look to be the most expensive AirPod ripoffs yet, and they’re called ‘FreeBuds.’ These very familiar-looking, fully-wireless Bluetooth headphones only got a tiny mention in addition to the P20’s announcement, but Huawei had some units for event attendees to try on.

 

The Verge got some ears-on time with the FreeBuds and noted that they’re comfortable and fit well, but Huawei didn’t allow any listening to be done.

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Huawei’s FreeBuds are €159 ripoffs of Apple AirPods was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Would you like the iPhone X more if Apple stole this feature from Huawei’s new iPhone clone?

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Apple iPad Event

On the plus side, Apple’s tenth-anniversary iPhone X is the most significant iPhone redesign Apple has ever launched. But on the downside, it’s also the most divisive iPhone Apple has ever released. The first Apple smartphone to start at $ 1,000 features a bold new design that represents Apple’s unique take on the “all-screen” trend currently sweeping over the smartphone industry. Well, it was Apple’s unique take… but now the “notch” is everywhere you look because it’s being ripped off so aggressively and shamelessly by dozens of Android phones.

Speaking of Android phones that aggressively and shamelessly copy Apple’s iPhone X, Huawei on Tuesday unveiled a pair of new iPhone clones. They look pretty nice, though we’ll never see them in the United States since the current administration forced wireless carriers and Best Buy to stop selling Huawei phones. Though the new Huawei P20 and P20 Pro are indeed iPhone copycats, they also introduce a few nifty features, like the P20 Pro’s triple-lens rear camera. But there’s another new feature that users are probably going to like even more, and it could have solved a few problems for Apple had it been included on the iPhone X.

Android phone makers have been copying Apple’s iPhone for nearly a decade now, but things have certainly reached an entirely new level this year. Companies large and small have decided to toss out any semblance of originality and just blatantly rip off Apple’s latest iPhone design. That goes for small China-based phone makers as well as large companies like LG and Asus. In fact, Huawei, the latest company to steal Apple’s iPhone X design, is one of the biggest smartphone companies in the world.

One would think the company’s success would help it afford a fairly decent team of designers, but apparently that isn’t the case. So instead of designing its own flagship phones for the first half of 2018, Huawei outsourced the new design of its P20 and P20 Pro smartphones to Apple. Here’s how they came out:

As an aside, Huawei wasn’t satisfied with only copying Apple’s iPhone X design, so it also ripped off Apple’s AirPods design. Seriously… look at this picture from The Verge and try to keep a straight face:

Ugh.

Anyway, Huawei is a copycat. We get it. That said, the company has an interesting software solution tied to its display notch that some Android fans are going to love. Even though just about every Android company is stealing Apple’s iPhone X design this year, plenty of Android fans hate the new design. Perhaps that’s why Huawei came up with a solution that offers users the best of both worlds.

As we covered a few weeks ago and then again a few days ago, there’s an option in the settings on the P20 and P20 Pro to hide the notch. Here’s what it looks like in the settings app:

 

Now that the phones have been announced and bloggers have had a chance to play with them, we can see what the option to hide the notch looks like in action:

It’s a solution that seems so obvious. In fact, rumors ahead of the iPhone X’s release suggested that the phone would look just like the P20 does with the notch hidden, with a background that’s always black. Apple decided to fully embrace the notch though, and the iPhone X wears it like a badge of honor… for better or worse.

Many Apple fans like the iPhone X’s design. In fact, even some people who hated the notch when they first saw the iPhone X in leaks have since come around to really like the design once the began to use the phone (cough, cough). Still, there are plenty of other people who hate the look of the notch, and I’ve spoken to a number of Apple fans who refused to upgrade to the iPhone X solely because of the design.

If Apple included an option to hide the notch like Huawei did on its iPhone clone, would it have a meaningful impact on sales? We’ll never know. But considering all the reports that have suggested iPhone X sales have been far lower than Apple was expecting, an option to hide the notch certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

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Huawei’s latest Porsche phone has an in-screen fingerprint reader

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Along with its P20 and P20 Pro, Huawei also unveiled its Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS smartphone today. Built with Porsche Design's signature aesthetic, the phone comes with a Leica triple camera — which features a 40-megapixel RGP sensor, a 20-meg…
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Huawei’s P20 is a shiny, extravagant phone

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Huawei just unveiled its brand new flagship phone — the P20. It’s a solid, well-designed Android phone with a shiny design, an iPhone X-like notch and some extravagant features, such as not one, not two but three cameras on the back of the P20 Pro.

I’ve played with the phone for a few minutes yesterday, and I would consider it one of the most polished Android phones out there. It’s a good successor to the P10, a good alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and a good incarnation of Android.

The P20 and P20 Pro

Huawei is launching two different phones. The P20 is the most affordable version of the devices. It features a 5.8-inch LCD display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. In other words, the screen is more or less just like the one on the iPhone X.

The P20 Pro is slightly larger with a 6.1-inch display. And, for the first time in a Huawei phone, it has an OLED display. This feature alone makes the P20 Pro much nicer than the P20.

Phone manufacturers shouldn’t even try selling a phone with a notch combined with an LCD display. It just looks bad.

Both phones have a glass back and an aluminum frame, just like the Samsung Galaxy S9. It doesn’t feel as heavy as the iPhone X with its stainless steel frame, but it feels nice in your hand.

It’s a bit surprising that Huawei opted for a glass back even though the P20 and P20 Pro don’t feature wireless charging. Many manufacturers switched to glass cases to facilitate wireless charging. With those new devices, you get the fingerprints on the back of the device without any additional feature.

There are five colors for the P20 and four colors for the P20 Pro. In addition to standard colors (black, midnight blue for both devices, champagne gold for the P20), Huawei has created two gradient colors that look great — twilight and pink gold.

Another thing that differentiates the Huawei P20 from other Android phones, Huawei has kept the fingerprint sensor on the front, below the display. Many manufacturers have put the fingerprint sensor on the back, which works fine if you have the phone in your hand. But if the phone is on the table, you have to pick it up to unlock it — you don’t have this issue with the P20.

Throwing more cameras at the problem

But the real craziness is on the back of the device. The P20 Pro has three camera sensors because two cameras weren’t enough.

There’s a 40 megapixels lens combined with a 20 megapixels monochrome lens and an 8 megapixels telephoto lens. All of this should help you zoom further, take portait photos and take super slow-motion videos at 960 frames per second.

While that sounds like an overkill, Huawei thinks this is the best physical representation of its work when it comes to photography.

The company automatically detects objects and scenes to adjust the camera settings. The selfie camera automatically enhances your skin so that you feel comfortable sharing selfies with your friends. Long exposures are automatically stabilized for those long dark winter nights.

I could go on and on with Huawei’s special camera features, but it’s hard to judge if it’s actually useful without using the phone for a few days.

The P20 is a bit more reasonable as it only has two rear cameras.

Let’s go through some fine prints. Both devices are powered by an ARM-based Kirin 970 system-on-a-chip designed by Huawei. It runs Android 8.1 with Huawei’s EMUI custom skin.

It comes with 128GB of internal storage, no microSD slot, no headphone jack and a USB Type-C port. There will be dual SIM versions of both devices.

The company says that you can unlock the device with your face, but it’s nowhere near as good as Face ID. It takes a 2D photo of your face so you can easily bypass it with a photo.

Trying to be different

When you see the shiny P20, it has a distinctive look. That hasn’t always been the case with Huawei phones. The company has chosen to embrace the notch. It makes the P20 look much different from the notch-less Samsung Galaxy S9.

In many ways, the P20 isn’t groundbreaking. It’s a faster, more capable smartphone. But it’s hard to keep innovating after more than a decade of smartphones. So the P20 feels like a solid Android phone.

The only issue is that you won’t be able to buy the P20 in the U.S. That’s why Huawei introduced its smartphone in Paris with videos featuring Orange, Vodafone, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Huawei’s upcoming Mate flagship said to sport in-display fingerprint scanner

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Under the display fingerprint sensors are slowly becoming a thing and we are hearing reports that Samsung might include it in the upcoming Note9. This year we have already seen Vivo X20 Plus UD and X21 UD smartphones with the in-display sensor and it is just a start. Today we are hearing reports that Huawei might be going this route and it is said to sport an under-display fingerprint scanner. Huawei is said to be choosing the Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint solution which might make the new Mate 11 ( or Mate 20) flagship the first smartphone to ship with that particular sensor built-in. The Huawei Mate flagship s scheduled to launch in late Q3 or early Q4 (so September or October). Qualcomm, in order to build its ultrasonic sensor, is said to have partnered with Taiwan-based GIS and China’s O-film Tech, both specializing in offering touchscreen solutions. While it is three-time costlier than the traditional counterparts, but is also 0.44mm thick and works through “up to 800-micron cover glass”, compared to only 200-300 microns of glass thickness for ‘normal’ capacitive scanners. The sensor will also work when your fingers are wet or greasy. Huawei isn’t the only company looking towards under-display fingerprint sensors, others brands are also apparently decided to build …
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Huawei’s U.S. plans hit major setback as Best Buy said to stop sales

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Huawei can’t catch a break in the States. Just at the company was set to announce a big carrier deal at CES, AT&T reportedly switch gears last minute. Now, a week before the company is set reveal its next big flagship at an event in Paris, Best Buy is reportedly planning to stop sales of the company’s products “over the next few weeks.”

That news comes courtesy of a report from Reuters, based on a “person with knowledge of the matter.” The Chinese smartphone maker was clearly banking on 2018 to be the year it finally expanded sales to the world’s third largest smartphone market. The AT&T deal was reportedly all but finalized ahead of the company’s big CES push.

The last minute nature of the news clearly left the company in a lurch, with consumer CEO Richard Yu going off-script to excoriate carriers and U.S. officials that have repeatedly raised concerns over the company’s perceived ties to the Chinese government.

Huawei offered a non-comment to TechCrunch in the wake of the report. “Huawei values the relationship it has with Best Buy and all our other retail partners,” the company writes in the statement. “As a policy, we do not discuss the details of our partner relationships.”

The statement goes on to offer the standard sort of defense of the company’s position.

Huawei currently sells its products through a range of leading consumer electronics retailers in the U.S.  We have a proven history of delivering products that meet the highest security, privacy and engineering standards in the industry and are certified by the Federal Communications Commission for sale in the U.S.  Our smartphones are widely acclaimed – both among critics and consumers – for their innovation in areas like battery life, processing power, build quality, and camera capabilities. Our products are sold by 46 of the top 50 global operators, and we have won the trust and confidence of individuals and organizations in 170 countries around the world.  We are committed to earning that same trust with U.S. consumers and making our products accessible in as many ways as possible.

A Best Buy spokesperson told TechCrunch, “We don’t comment on specific contracts with vendors, and we make decisions to change what we sell for a variety of reasons.” Noncommittal, sure, but it does appear to acknowledge a shift in the company’s relationship with the smartphone maker.

Until now, Best Buy has been a saving grace in the company’s U.S. plans. While it’s true that most smartphone purchases occur through carriers in the States, the chain is still the largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.S., marking another major setback for the company’s plans.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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