Mobile

Huawei ups the smartphone ante

April 9th, 2018
Last week Huawei released its P20 series of smartphones in South Africa, setting high expectations in the local market. SEAN BACHER was there.
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When Huawei announced the availability of its latest smartphones, the P20 and the P20 Pro, in South Africa this week, it also set high expectations for increased market share.

“Even though we don’t quite have the market share we would like, we are slowly increasing it due to our superior quality and service at a more reasonable price,” says Akhram Mohamed, product director at Huawei South Africa.

He said that innovation in the smartphone market is starting to stagnate, and Huawei needed to push the boundaries.

“All modern phones have front and rear cameras and use the same operating system with the manufacturer’s skin plastered on it, with a few widgets and proprietary apps to set them apart.

“It’s for this reason that so much research and development went into the P20 series. The P20 uses a Leica dual camera with a 12MP sensor and a 20MP monochrome one. The P20 Pro uses a triple camera — with the highest total pixel count on a smartphone to date. It uses a 40MP RGB sensor, a 20MP monochrome sensor and an 8MP sensor with telephoto lens offering the best picture quality during the day and night.”

Due to the P20 series having great cameras and being more powerful because of  the Kirin 970 CPU, and running Google’s 8.1 operating system, the latest Huawei devices have been among the few selected by Google to use Google ARCore.

ARCore enables developers to build apps that can understand a user’s environment and place objects and information in it using augmented reality. This needs a lot more processing power than most current phones can offer.

Mohamed says the ARCore combined with the Kirin 970 CPU the P20 series will be able to help in the education sector. For example, many kids in South Africa have never seen a European city but, with the P20 series using Google ARCore and virtual reality, the phone is able to bring the city to them, allowing them to roam the virtual streets.

In addition, the cameras and high speed offered by the CPU will allow the visually impaired to take photos of an object and get an audio description of what that object is.

Users can also take pictures of stars and planets and get information like name and orbit. While this is currently available with numerous apps on the Google Play Store, most of these deliver the information slowly due to the lack of processing power.

In addition to the P20’s superior cameras and speed, Mohamed also believes the phone’s ability to multitask will be a big attraction to many.

“So many users carry two phones around with them – one for business and one for leisure. Our latest devices can be both a professional device, thanks to speed and security, and a leisure one, offered by the advanced camera features and 128GB of on-board storage.”

Both phones are currently available at all major cellular retail outlets. The Huawei P20 series comes in Black, Midnight Blue and two new gradient colours, Twilight and Pink Gold.

The P20 sells for R13 000 and the P20 Pro for R16 000.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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