Huawei P-series unveiled in Paris

The Huawei P20 Pro.
The Huawei P20 Pro.

Over 2 000 people piled into the Grand Palais in Paris today to witness the unveiling of the new P-series smartphones from Chinese manufacturer, Huawei.

The P20 and P20 Pro are the latest flagships from the company, following last year's P10 and P10 Pro.

Huawei says it decided to change its naming convention, which used to increase by one and not 10, because "we are making a big jump in new technology", says Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei technologies consumer business group.

Yu says the new P-series will focus on bringing "more light, more art and more intelligence to the device".

Huawei is focusing on the cameras on the new smartphones. The P20 will have a Leica co-engineered dual-camera set-up: one colour camera with 12MP and a 20MP monochrome camera.

The front-facing camera on both devices will feature 24MP and 3D imaging for facial recognition.

The P20 Pro will feature three cameras with the largest amount of megapixels featured on a mobile phone to date: 40MP. There will be a 20MP monochrome camera, and 40MP colour camera and an 8MP 3X telephoto lens.

The company will also concentrate on artificial intelligence within the camera system. Its processor will allow the camera to recognise over 500 objects in 19 categories and then suggest the best camera settings for the scenario.

The P20 and P20 Pro will have a notch at the top of the screen, similar to Apple's iPhone X. However, Yu pointed out that this notch is smaller, leaving more space for notifications.

The P20 will have a 3 400mAh battery and the P20 Pro will have a 4 000mAh battery, both with super charge capabilities.

The new smartphones will come in four colours: midnight blue, pink gold, graphite black and twilight - the new twilight colour will feature a gradient from dark blue to purple.

The devices will run on Android 8.1 with the customisable Google Assistant built-in.

The recommended retail price for the P20 will start at 649 euro (around R9 500), and 899 euro (around R13 000) for the P20 Pro.

This year, Huawei opted not to launch its flagship at Mobile World Congress, like rival Samsung, which unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ that also feature camera smarts and a dual-camera set-up on the larger device.

Zhao Likun, Huawei's SA consumer business group GM, said during a business update to journalists, that last year Huawei held 16.3% of total market share in the South African smartphone business. He noted that in the premium device segment in this country, it now holds 13.8% of the market, up from 7% in 2016.

Huawei will invest heavily in SA over the next year, he added. The company will construct its own warehouse in the country, the first one outside of China, which will shorten delivery time from three weeks to three days, and the company will also invest in local content creation.

He said that last year, the total revenue for the global consumer business group was $36 million, up from $25.9 million in 2016. Last year, 153 million Huawei smartphones were shipped worldwide.

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