Synaptics today said of the five largest phone manufacturers in the world has agreed to use its Clear ID FS9500 optical, in-display fingerprint sensor. The FS9500 can scan fingerprints through the full thickness of smartphone cover glass, which means device makers can create sleek, button-free designs and still include a fingerprint reader on the front. Synaptics says the FS9500 was designed with "bezel-free infinity displays" in mind. This latest generation of Synpatics' technology can read fingerprints on wet, dry, or cold fingers, and the reader is always protected by the glass, making it durable and waterproof. Synaptics claims its sensor is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition tools, and comes and goes only when needed to authenticate the user. Synaptics didn't name the phone maker, nor did it suggest when a device with the Clear ID FS9500 might come to market. According to IDC, the top five phone makers in the third quarter of 2017 were Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi.
Google recently provided a list of Android-based wearables that have or will receive the Android 8 Oreo update. According to Google, Oreo is already available to the Fossil Q Venture, LG Watch Sport, Louis Vuitton Tambour, Michael Kors Sofie, and the Montblanc Summit. Watches that are testing Oreo include selections from Casio, Diesel, Emporio, Fossil, Guess, Huawei, Hugo Boss, LG, Michael Kors, Movado, Polar, Tag Heuer, Tommy Hilfiger, and ZTE. As always, the exact timing of the update is up to each individual manufacturer. Android 8 Oreo for Android Wear is a minor update that tweaks some notification behaviors and vibration settings, and adds new languages and notification channels for improved battery life.
Qualcomm today named the Snapdragon 845, its flagship processor for 2018. The chip supplants the Snapdragon 835 at the top of Qualcomm's line of mobile processors. The 835 is one of the most popular processors for high-end smartphones from the likes of LG, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei. The 845, announced at the Snapdragon Technology Summit, will power not only mobile phones but Windows-based laptops. Qualcomm didn't provide too many details about the chip, other than to say it will be paired with the company's X20 Gigabit LTE modem. It will target augmented reality and virtual reality applications, offer top security, improve battery life, and support faster recharging. The chip is expected to be manufactured by Samsung, relying on Samsung's 10nm process. Qualcomm is expected to share more information about the Snapdragon 845 in the days ahead. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said the company will build a flagship handset based on the Snapdragon 845 next year.
Huawei's Honor 7X and Honor V10 are compelling, affordable handsets. Both offer aluminum unibody construction, dual cameras, and 2:1 displays. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the latest from Huawei's Honor brand.
Huawei today announced the Honor V10, a flagship handset for Huawei's Honor brand. The large device takes cues from the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, though there are clear differences between them and the more affordable Honor V10. The V10 has a unibody aluminum chassis with smooth edges and curved glass. The display measures 5.99 inches and adopts the 2:1 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. The phone is powered by Huawei's top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor with 8 cores, 6 GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage. The V10 includes a dual-camera array on the rear. The main camera has a full-color, 16-megapixel sensor and the secondary camera has a monochrome, 20-megapixel sensor. They can tap into PDAF and the Kirin 970's neural processing unit for sharp focus and portrait photos with blurred backgrounds. Other features include a 13-megapixel selfie camera, fingerprint sensor, NFC, dual SIM cards, 3,750mAh battery, 4K video capture, Microsoft Translate, muted notifications during gaming, screen recording, face unlock, and 3.5mm headphone jack. The Honor V10 runs Android 8 Oreo with Huawei's EMUI 8 user interface. Pricing has not yet by released.
Huawei said its Honor 7X handset will be available to U.S. consumers beginning today. Anyone interested in the phone can pre-order it from the Honor web site. Available in black, gold, and blue, the Honor 7X costs $199 and is sold unlocked with support for GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. The 7X has an aluminum unibody chassis with 2.5D curved glass and a 5.9-inch 2:1 aspect ratio display. It is powered by Huawei's Kirin 659 processor and has dual cameras, a fingerprint reader, a 3,340mAh battery, and Cat 6 LTE. It runs Android 7 Nougat with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 user interface on board.
Google today made its monthly security patch available to some Android devices. December's patch plugs a handful of security holes. Google found a dozen or so vulnerabilities, most of which were classified as moderately dangerous, or able to execute code remotely. Google is pushing a patch dated December 5 to resolve these issues. Google said the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel C, Nexus Player, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P devices will receive the December security patches directly over the air. The factory images will be available for download from Google's developer web site shortly. As far as Google knows, none of these security holes have been exploited. Google has already supplied the patches to its handset partners.
Honor today announced the 7X, a budget-friendly handset that adopts the 18:9 aspect ratio for its screen while offering mid-range specs. The Honor 7X features a metal chassis and 2.5D curved glass on front. The screen measures 5.93 inches across the diagonal and offers full HD+ resolution. Huawei's 2.36 GHz octa-core Kirin 659 processor is under the hood with 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage. The dual-camera array on the rear features a 16-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor. Together, they can create portrait images with blurred backgrounds. An 8-megapixel selfie camera adorns the front of the phone and includes its own portrait tools and gesture controls. A 3,340mAh battery is buried in the chassis and Huawei says it supports rapid charging. The phone includes a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, though it does not include NFC. The Honor 7X runs Huawei's EMUI 5.1, based on Android 7 Nougat. It comes in blue, gold, and black. Pricing and availability was not immediately revealed. Honor is Huawei's budget brand.
Huawei is taking aim at Apple, Samsung, and LG with its latest flagship handsets, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. These high-quality devices feature stunning hardware, top specs, and table-stakes features such as fingerprint readers. Huawei is banking on its NPU-based artificial intelligence to take the phones' dual camera systems to the next level. The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro run Android 8 Oreo with EMUI 8 from Huawei to take advantage of the powerful Kirin processor. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of Hauwei's new smartphones.
Huawei today announced the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, the Chinese company's flagship smartphones heading into the end of the year. The Mate 10 (left) and Mate 10 Pro (right) are high-end devices with curved glass panels front and back, and a metal frame in between. Huawei created a distinct reflective band that runs across the rear of the phones to call out the cameras. The phones share nearly all features and primarily differ with respect to screen aspect ratio and resolution. Where the Mate 10 has a quad HD 5.9-inch LCD panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, the Mate 10 Pro has an HD+ 6-inch OLED panel with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The Mate 10's fingerprint reader is located on the front and the phone supports microSD memory cards, where the Mate 10 Pro's fingerprint reader is on the back and the phone doesn't support memory cards. The phones rely on Huawei's new Kirin 970 processor, its homegrown 8-core CPU, which includes a 12-core GPU and dedicated neural network processing unit, or NPU. The NPU is primarily put to use with the camera, where it is able to recognize objects and adjust the camera's parameters accordingly. At launch, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro will, for example, be able to recognize the difference between flowers and plants, or cats and dogs in order to more accurately capture photos. The phones feature a dual-camera system on the back with a 12-megapixel RGB sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, both at f/1.6. Some of the tools include scene recognition, bokeh, optical image stabilization, and AI-assisted focusing and zooming. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor at f/2.0. The phone will launch with Android 8 Oreo and EMUI 8, a new version of Huawei's Android skin. EMUI 8 was built to take advantage of the Kirin 970 and supports advanced split screen multitasking and a full desktop computing experience sans dock. The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro also include 4,000mAh batteries with rapid and wireless charging, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, WiFi, high-definition audio, USB-C, and high-speed LTE. The Mate 10 is available only with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, while the Mate 10 Pro is available in either a 4 GB / 64 GB or 6 GB / 128 GB configuration. Pricing and availability was not disclosed.
Google today announced the final release of Android 8.0, and also named this version "Oreo". Members of the Android Beta program will receive an update to the final version today. Nexus and Pixel users will receive the update "rolling out in phases over the next several weeks". Google has been working with all of its partners to enable updates for other phones. In the coming weeks and months, other manufacturers will roll out the update to many recent phones. By the end of the year, phones from Essential, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp and Sony will have Android 8.0 Oreo. The update includes some minor new features, such as picture-in-picture and improved auto-fill, plus many important improvements for developers and overall performance.
Huawei says its forthcoming flagship handset will be a better device than Apple's next iPhone. "We will have an even more powerful product," said Richard Yu, head of Huawei's consumer division, in an interview with Bloomberg. "The Mate 10, which has much longer battery life with a full-screen display, quicker charging speed, better photographing capability and many other features that will help us compete with Apple." Huawei is expected to reveal the Mate 10 as soon as September 2 at a press event scheduled during the IFA trade show in Berlin. At the same time, Yu said Huawei plans to exit the entry-level segment of the smartphone market. "We are giving up the very low-end devices because the margin in this is extremely low, and it’s not making enough profit for us." Moving forward, Huawei will focus on mid-range and high-end devices.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company's handset partners have new Daydream-compatible devices in the pipeline and there should be a total of 11 such phones available by the end of the year. At the moment, only four phones are able to use Google's virtual reality headsets, including the Pixel and Pixel XL, ZTE Axon 7, Motorola Z, and Huawei Mate 9. It's not clear if Pichai was including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, which are primed to receive Daydream compatibility through a software update. The figure likely does include Google's 2017 Pixel devices, whatever they may be. Daydream has certain hardware requirements, particularly where the display is concerned. For example, the display must be between 4.7 and 6 inches, must have a 60 Hz or greater refresh rate with low-persistence mode, and must have at least full HD resolution, with quad HD preferred. Companies including Motorola, HMD Global, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, and LG all have major device announcements lined up between now and early September. It is possible these forthcoming handsets will be among those supporting Google Daydream.
Huawei's latest Honor-branded handset is the Honor 9. This all-glass Android smartphone picks up where last year's Honor 8 left off. It makes some design changes, such as relocating the fingerprint reader from the rear to the front, while carrying over the dual-lens camera that Huawei has become fond of as well as the reasonable footprint of last year's phone. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the Huawei Honor 9.
Huawei today provided an in-depth look at the Honor 9, the top handset for its Honor brand. The Honor 9 picks up where the Honor 8 left off last year thanks to its curved glass and aluminum frame. The phone has a polished, mirror-like finish that resembles that of the new HTC U11. The phone comes in blue ice, glacier gray, and midnight black. The Honor 9 has a 5.15-inch full HD display and it is powered by Huawei's Kirin 960 processor with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Like some other Huawei handsets, the Honor 9 features a dual camera array on the rear. The main rear camera has a 12-megapixel sensor and it is aided by a secondary 20-megapixel sensor to help with contrast and exposure; the higher-resolution sensor also provides 2x zoom. The user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. The phone can capture up to 4K video. The Honor 9 includes standard connectivity options, such as Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and WiFi. Other features include USB-C, 3.5mm headset jack, fingerprint sensor, and a 3,200mAh battery. The phone runs Android 7 with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 on board. As for LTE, the phone supports a limited number of LTE bands, including 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, 40, and 41. This means it will not be able to access LTE service on most U.S. carriers. The Honor 9 goes on sale in Europe this summer.
Huawei's Honor brand today expanded the availability of the unlocked Honor 6X to some 460 Target retail stores across the country. Now, U.S. consumers can pick up the unlocked Android handset for $250 at their local store. The 6X has been available online since early this year. The phone was recently updated to Android 7 Nougat and Huawei's EMUI 5.0 user interface skin. The phone includes a 5.5-inch full HD screen, fingerprint reader, Kirin 655 processor, 12-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel selfie camera, and 3,340mAh battery. It supports U.S. LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 20, and 38, which makes it compatible with AT&T/Cricket, T-Mobile/MetroPCS, and Consumer Cellular. Some advanced carrier-based features may not be available.
Huawei today announced the general availability of the Watch 2 Classic. This Android 2.0 wearable is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. The Watch 2 Classic is a more conservative wearable when compared to Huawei's Watch 2 thanks to its stainless steel casing, ceramic bezel, titanium finish, and leather band. It features a 1.8-inch screen, 420mAh battery with rapid charging, and an IP68 rating for protection against water and dust. Huawei says the battery provides up to two days under normal use, 10 hours under dedicated training with GPS, and up to 21 days when in watch-only mode with pedometer. Connectivity options are limited to Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi. Huawei is selling the Watch 2 Classic in some 600 Best Buy stores, as well as online from Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, B&H, Jet, and Kohl's. The Huawei Watch 2 Classic costs $370. The sportier Huawei Watch 2 has been on sale since April.
Huawei today began updating the Honor 6X to Emotion UI 5.0 and Android 7 Nougat. The 6X, which shipped earlier this year, included EMUI 4.1 and Android 6 out of the box. Huawei's newer handsets, such as the P10, are shipping with EMUI 5.0 and Nougat. The system update brings the 6X's experience inline with Huawei's latest phones. EMUI simplifies the experience a bit, with fewer steps required to take most actions. EMUI 5.0 also runs more smoothly, is more secure, adds an app drawer options, and lets people use two account profiles within a single app. Huawei says all Honor 6X handsets should receive the update by the end of the month.
Huawei today made its new smartwatch, the Watch 2, available from various online retailers for $300. The device runs Android Wear 2.0 from Google and includes GPS, a heart rate monitor, NFC, 420 mAh battery, and a 1.2-inch AMOLED display. The Watch 2 is rated IP68 for water resistance. Huawei says the standard model can be purchased from Best Buy, Target, Jet, Walmart, B&H, and others. The company expects to bring the Watch 2 Classic to the U.S. later this year for $369. Huawei has no plans to bring the LTE variant of the Watch 2 to the U.S. right now.
Huawei hopes to tap into the feedback of power users in a way that will benefit U.S. consumers through the new Honor Beta program. The Honor Beta team will be able to test new features ahead of public release and provide feedback directly to Huawei's R&D team. Those interested in the participating can apply via the Honor brand's Facebook page. Huawei is looking for English speakers who live in the U.S. Huawei expects to review applications and then match them with specific opportunities for testing purposes. The company said those selected to participate may get to use software and hardware that's not slated to reach the market for one to two years. "Honor will explore what U.S. consumers want and adapt products and strategy each step of the way," said the company. "Honor can quickly evolve its products and strategy on a regional level. Honor Beta is one big step in preparing to lead the unlocked smartphone market of tomorrow." The Honor Beta program is accepting submissions starting today.
Huawei today announced the Honor 8 Pro, a flagship handset for its Honor brand. The phone has specs similar to the Huawei P10, but it is much larger thanks to a 5.7-inch quad HD display and 4,000mAh battery. The phone is powered by Huawei's octa-core Kirin 960 processor with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and a Mali GPU. Like many of Huawei's recent handsets, the Honor 8 Pro includes two cameras on the rear, each rated at 12 megapixels, one that captures full color and one that captures monochrome. Special shooting modes include slow-motion, time-lapse, panorama, full manual, aperture, and more. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and some of these same modes. The Honor 8 Pro runs Android 7 Nougat with EMUI 5.1. The phone includes Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi, but LTE support is limited to Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, and 40, making it only partially compatible with some U.S. LTE networks. The phone supports rapid charging and memory cards up to 128 GB. The Honor 8 Pro comes in blue, black, or gold for about $585. It will ship with a Cardboard-style VR viewer. Huawei said the phone will be made available in Europe beginning today.
Today at 3pm ET, users of the Huawei Mate 9 will be able to update their phones over the air to support Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. The Mate 9 is the first phone to have built-in access to Alexa On The Go. Currently, other phones can only access Alexa when used with a hardware accessory of some kind. Users must launch the new Huawei Alexa app before they can talk to Alexa. The app synchronizes with the user's Amazon account and the same Alexa configuration used at home with any Echo and Echo Dot devices the user may have. Alexa On The Go can be used to control smart-home devices, get personalized news updates, listen to podcasts, make restaurant reservations, get weather, access personal calendar info, and play hands-free games such as Jeopardy and 20 questions. It also supports placing orders with Amazon.com, Starbucks, pizza chains, and movie theaters. Huawei is working on future updates to the Alexa integration that will enable voice activation (instead of manually launching the Huawei Alexa app), setting timers and alarms on the phone, and music playback. The current rollout applies only to U.S. versions of the Mate 9; it will roll out to other markets that Amazon supports at a later date.
The P10 is Huawei's flagship phone for 2017, (aside from the super-size Mate series.) It's a definite step up from the P9, packing in the very impressive Kirin 960 chipset, also found on the Mate 9. It sports a more rounded metal design and a new style of fingerprint sensor on the front. But it lacks any of the trendy new features in the competition's 2017 flagships. How does it stack up in person? Read on for our impressions.
Huawei today announced the P10, its new mid-size flagship phone for 2017. The phone is similar in size to last year's P9, but with more rounded sides and corners to make it feel thinner. The metal-body phone will be offered in eight different colors — including Greenery, Dazzling Blue, and Ceramic White. Greenery is Pantone's color of the year for 2017. Most colors will come with a sand-blasted soft-touch finish, while Dazzling Blue will sport a hybrid diamond cut (brushed metal) finish, and Ceramic White will be high-gloss. The P10 is powered by the same Kirin 960 processor as found in the Mate 9, accompanied by 4 GB of RAM. The 5.1-inch, full-HD display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 with rounded edges. A new-generation, dual-sensor Leica camera module on the back includes a 12-megapixel / f2.2 traditional camera plus a 20-megapixel monochrome camera. The 8-megapixel camera on the front also has a Leica lens. The company has also placed the fingerprint reader on the front, below the display, where it replaces the usual three Android navigation buttons. Swiping left brings up recent apps, while swiping right performs the "back" action. The phone runs Android 7.0 with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 software on top. The 3,200 mAh battery can be topped up with fast charging via the USB-C connector. A 3.5mm audio jack is also present. The company will also offer a slightly larger variant in the P10 Plus. The P10 plus steps up to a 5.5-inch 2K display and 3,750 mAh battery. It also has a better camera lens with a f/1.8 aperture. It will be offered in seven color options. Pricing starts at €649 for the P10. The US is not among the list of initial launch markets, but some versions will support AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
Huawei today announced the second generation of its Android Wear smartwatch. The new Huawei Watch 2 adds a number of features, including optional 4G LTE data, standalone GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, NFC, Android Wear 2.0, and a special watch-only mode that can achieve up to 25 days of battery life. The watch-only mode displays only the time and a live step counter. In smartwatch mode, the 420 mAh battery can power the watch for two days, or ten hours with both LTE and GPS active. Fast charging via the magnetic dock can fully power up the battery in one hour. The 1.2-inch, fully-round, AMOLED display has improved resolution at 328 ppi. The standard model has a plastic body to allow for integrated LTE antennas. The face is made of ceramic and Gorilla Glass 3. The rubber straps are standard 20mm with quick-release pins. The Watch 2 is rated IP68 for water resistance. A "classic" model is also available with a sleeker metal body, but without LTE. The classic model comes with a 22mm hybrid strap that is leather on the outside, and rubber on the inside for sweat resistance. The controls consist of the touch screen and two side buttons: a home button and a customizable shortcut button.
The FCC today approved a new, unannounced phone from Huawei that matches leaked photos of the P10. The company is expected to announce the P10 flagship phone in a little over a week at the MWC trade show in Barcelona. The documents made public on the FCC web site show the external design of the phone and reveal wide support for the many LTE bands expected of a flagship phone, but reveal few other details. Two versions have been approved so far, with both supporting the primary bands used by AT&T and T-Mobile, although neither seems specifically designed for US networks (neither supports LTE band 30 nor 66, for example.) One version supports dual SIM cards. The phone has dual rear cameras, a USB-C connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The all-metal design has rounded sides and large injected antenna bands that resemble those on Apple's iPhone 7. The phone also includes NFC and dual-band Wi-Fi. Unlike most previous Huawei phones, there does not appear to be a fingerprint sensor on the rear. A front-mounted fingerprint sensor would be a major design shift for Huawei.
Huawei today said it will begin rolling out Android 7 Nougat to its Honor 8 handset starting Feb. 10. The update adds features and tweaks performance. To start, the update gives Honor 8 owners the option of selecting the stock Android user interface rather than Huawei's EMUI. Other changes include the option to use the app drawer, use two apps side-by-side, more fully customize notifications and the Quick Settings menu, set camera priorities, share contact cards via QR codes, switch between profiles quicker, and rearrange the settings list. Huawei says it optimized performance as well, reducing the number of steps needed to complete most tasks, reducing Bluetooth pairing times, and preventing the system from storing certain subsets of user data. Huawei says the rollout will be gradual, though it expects all Honor 8 devices globally to receive the update by the end of the month.
Huawei today said it will begin selling the Mate 9 flagship smartphone in the U.S. starting January 6. The device will be available online, unlocked with support for U.S. GSM/LTE networks. It costs $599. Moreover, the device will gain support for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant in a future software update. Huawei didn't say when Mate 9 owners can expect to begin saying, "Alexa," for requests.
Huawei's latest for the unlocked crowd is the Honor 6X. This slim metal-and-glass smartphone has an attractive design and decent set of specs for a phone that costs as little as $200 if you're smart about buying it. Here are our first impressions.
Huawei today announced the Honor 6X, a follow up to the 5X that improves upon specs and design. The 6X boasts a 2.5D curved glass front and aluminum rear panel to give it a metal-and-glass chassis. The phone includes a fingerprint reader for biometric security. The display measures 5.5 inches and delivers full HD resolution. The Honor 6X relies on Huawei's own Kirin 655 processor, which uses an octa-core design with 4 high-power 2.1 GHz cores and 4 low-power 1.7 GHz cores. The processor is accompanied by 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, and the phone supports memory cards. The main camera includes a 12-megapixel sensor and secondary 2-megapixel sensor with a pro mode, bokeh, night shooting, special filters, and a wide aperture range from f/0.95 to f/16. The phone has an 8-megpaixel front-facing camera. Some of the camera tools include time-lapse, audio control, beauty/makeup mode, and food mode. The 3,340mAh battery supports up to two days of battery life. Huawei said the Honor will be made available Jan. 4 unlocked, and will be sold online. It supports US LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 20, and 38. The Honor 6X costs $250, but Huawei plans to sell it for $200 during "flash sales" on Jan. 10, 17, 24, and 31.
Huawei said its Honor 8 smartphone will receive Android 7 Nougat and EMUI 5.0 through an update planned for February 2017. According to Huawei, EMUI 5.0 streamlines the user interface and cuts down on the number of steps needed to reach core functions. The update will also reduce the amount of UI chrome, leaving more room on the screen for content. Huawei will allow people to choose a home screen with or without an app drawer, as well as run multiple profiles (personal, work) and easily switch between them. Further, EMUI 5.0 employs machine learning to analyze and adapt to user behavior over time. On the security front, EMUI 5.0 will allow owners to password protect individual apps. Huawei did not say exactly when the update will be made available. The Honor 8 has been for sale in the U.S. since the summer. It is available online and is sold unlocked.
Huawei's Mate series is the company's take on the high-end phablet, competing with phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note7. Perhaps seizing on the opportunity presented by the flaming Note7 fiasco, the Mate 9 marks the first time Huawei will sell its Mate series in the U.S. Past Mate models have impressed us with high-quality hardware and good performance. How does this year's entry stack up? Read on to find out.
Huawei today announced the Mate 9, the latest iteration of its flagship, large-screen Mate series. Unlike most previous flagship Huawei phones, this model will come to the U.S. Key specs include a 5.9-inch full-HD display, an evolved version of the Leica dual-camera system found in the P9, a Kirin 960 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, memory card slot, NFC, IR port, and a USB Type-C connector supporting fast charging. Its unibody metal design also contains a 4,000 mAh battery. The Mate 9 runs Android 7.0 with version 5.0 of Huawei's EMUI OS tweaks. The camera supports bokeh, HDR, panorama, light painting (long exposure) and RAW capture. The Mate 9 will come in five colors: Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, and Ceramic White. Pricing and launch date for the U.S. will be announced at a later date. A special Porsche Design variant will be available only in other markets.
An unannounced Huawei phone for AT&T appeared today on the FCC web site. Slated for AT&T's GoPhone prepaid lineup, the H1611 appears to be an affordable Android phone with a large screen, Snapdragon 615 processor, and sealed-in 3,000 mAh battery. Front and rear cameras are also shown, as well as a memory card slot. The approvals show support for standard AT&T LTE bands, including band 30. The documents reveal few other details. The AT&T web site does not yet list the phone.
Huawei churned out two mid-range handsets in Berlin, the Nova and Nova Plus. The phones share most features, but the Plus is a bit bigger thanks to the larger screen and battery. Here are first impressions of Huawei's new hardware.
Huawei today announced the Nova and Nova Plus handsets, two mid-range smartphones that feature curved metal designs, diamond-cut bezels, and 2.5D glass for a seamless in-hand experience. The devices share almost all features, expect for the screen, battery, and camera. Both run on a Snapdragon 625 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The Nova phones include a rear-mounted fingerprint reader that doubles as a trackpad and can be used to scroll through pictures as well as answer calls. A memory card slot accepts microSD cards. The devices have 8-megapixel f/2.2 selfie cameras with a "beautiful skin" tool to remove blemishes. Another tool called Knuckle Sense can automatically put the photo editor in cropping mode with the tap of a knuckle. The software includes a night reading setting that filters out blue light. The Nova has a 5-inch screen, 12-megapixel main camera, 3,030mAh battery and compact body, while the Nova Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, 16-megapixel camera, 3,340mAh battery, and larger profile. The phones will be sold in gray, silver, gold, and pink. The Nova will cost 399 Euros, while the Nova Plus will cost $429 Euros. It's unlikely either phone will be sold in the U.S.
A planned update to the USB Type-C specification will give it more control over audio functions, paving the way for it to fully supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack on most phones. Speaking at the Intel Developers Forum, engineers Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail explained that the new USB audio standard lowers power usage through USB and defines how buttons on headphones can control music. The standard "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," said Saunders. The 3.5mm headset jack is universally available on most consumer electronics, but is decades old. Dropping the jack will free up internal space, lowers the potential for interference, and negates the need for a digital-to-analog converter. Moreover, Saunders says the updated spec allows for software-based audio effects and signal processing that can, for example, cancel out nearby noise. Last, the updated USB-C spec improves support for video. Saunders says the new video capabilities will be good for working on a PC or watching a movie, but not necessarily for graphics-intensive gaming. USB-C is slowly gaining traction in smartphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 made the switch to USB-C, as did HTC 10, LG G5, and just-announced Huawei Honor 8. The connector is slim and reversible, and Type-C cables can push power in both directions.
Huawei's Honor brand finally has a true flagship model in its lineup, and it combines Huawei's manufacturing chops with the Honor design flair, plus true flagship specs. It has the features of the Huawei P9 (another flagship) plus a few small extras. The design has a bit more flair, though. It's very iPhone-like. But how is it in person? We go hands-on.
Huawei's Honor brand today announced the Honor 8, the company's first true flagship-class phone under its Honor brand. The Honor 8 has most specs in common with the well-regarded Huawei P9, the company's flagship outside of the Honor brand. That includes the 12-megapixel camera with laser focus and a secondary camera providing monochrome exposure info for improved image quality. It also includes the 5.2-inch, full-HD display, Kirin 950-series processor, 3,000 mAh battery, 8-megapixel front camera, fast charging, fingerprint reader, NFC, memory card slot, and USB Type-C connector. Further, the Honor 8 improves on the P9 with 4 GB of memory instead of 3, and adds an infrared emitter for controlling home A/V gear. The design is glass on the front and back, with an aluminum frame. A 15-layer process creates a unique visual effect behind the glass. It will be available in blue, white, and black, with the blue color being exclusive to Best Buy for the first 60 days. The phone will be sold unlocked for $400 (32GB) or $450 (64GB) starting September 3rd. Pre-orders begin August 17th.
Samsung has sued Huawei in China for patent infringement. The Korean phone maker says several of Huawei's devices, including the Mate8 and Honor line, are violating six of its technology patents. Samsung is seeking $24 million in damages as well as a ban on the manufacture and sale of the devices in question. The lawsuit is a tit-for-tat response to a similar lawsuit filed by Huawei against Samsung earlier this year. Samsung said it attempted to resolve the matter through negotiation, but has been unable to strike a deal with Huawei. "It has regrettably become necessary to take legal action in order to defend our intellectual property," said Samsung. Tech firms often use patent-based lawsuits against rivals as a negotiation tactic.