Friday 18 October 2019

'Smartphone...perhaps we should've said smart camera' - Huawei boss on new P30 handsets

Handset chief Kevin Ho reveals that 5G is coming soon to phones across the tech giant's portfolio

Cheered: Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group, unveils the new Huawei P30 and P30 Pro smartphones during a well-received launch event in Paris, France. Photo: Reuters
Cheered: Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group, unveils the new Huawei P30 and P30 Pro smartphones during a well-received launch event in Paris, France. Photo: Reuters
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The president of Huawei's handset arm, speaking at this week's P30 Series launch, made no mention of the latest recommendation by the European Commission on tackling cybersecurity risks in next-generation 5G networks.

While pressure has been heaped on Europe by the US not to use Huawei products in 5G networks over security concerns, the EC's advice on Tuesday did not include a ban on the Chinese tech giant's products.

Following the official launch of the new P30 and P30 Pro, Kevin Ho was asked about the 5G capabilities - or lack thereof - on its handsets having a potential impact on sales as consumers may wait for the next instalment of the series.

"We have a plan to support 5G across models in our portfolio... but this is not expected to happen until maybe the end of this year," he said.

He added that the desire for 5G would be more apparent from the Mate X and Mate 20 X "business" consumer demographic than the "lifestyle" user the P30 targets, while admitting the gap between the two distinct market audiences is closing with each release of the respective series.

Both the flagships P30 and P30 Pro, unwrapped at the Paris Convention Centre on Tuesday afternoon, include a number of upgrades on their predecessors: better battery life, a smaller notch on the curved Oled, an integrated fingerprint scanner that makes the most of the 6.47 inch screen size among them.

But, apart from the new colour range - Amber Sunrise, Breathing Crystal, Black and Aurora - it's the redesign of the camera, a new Leica Quad, that has pushed the 'rewritetherules' marketing agenda and drew gasps from the audience in France.

"We moved to a camera that can make art... I agree that when we say smartphone, perhaps we should have said smart camera," said Mr Ho.

"But the consumer is always looking for a better camera, so we moved it, step-by-step, to be more in line with the professional camera."

In additional to the 20MP wide angle lens, a 40MP 'superspectrum' camera, and an 8MP 5x periscope zoom, Huawei changed greens for yellows in its Bayer filter which it says allows 40pc more light to reach the sensor.

Putting the functionality to the test in front of a packed convention centre, which included no small amount of bloggers and influencers, CEO Richard Yu compared P30 snaps, namely the zoom lens and night mode, with its competitors on the market.

Received by a cheer, matched only when the handsets' fancy new colours were revealed, a clearly amused Yu made a play on the word 'galaxy' when revealing obvious comparisons of stars and moon shots taken by the top mobile phone players on the market.

The geographic setting of the launch was, of course, perfect for trying out the full extent of the P30 Pro's capabilities of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower for the very many social media posts from attendees.

Directly after the Apple launch earlier this week, the official Huawei account tweeted: 'thanks for the warm-up, now on to the main event'.

And this overt challenge was wholly apparent at the launch.

Alas, there was no side-by-side contrast of a juicy red apple. I'm not sure the overexcited crowd could have handled it.

The Huawei P30 Pro will be available from €79.99 on Bill Pay and €999 sim-free, and the P30 will be available from free on Bill Pay and €739 sim-free at Vodafone, Three, Eir, Carphone Warehouse, Virgin and Harvey Norman in Ireland.

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