Whatever name it carries, the successor to the Huawei P10 should be a fascinating device.
Huawei, like many other big names in mobile, has a predictable cadence to its flagship smartphone launches. The new technology gets showcased first in the Mate series in the fall, usually paired with an updated version of EMUI, running the very latest Android build. That technological base is then further refined for the P series the following spring.
That gives us a rough idea of what to expect from the Huawei P20, which we’re expecting to see in the spring of 2018. And, of course, the usual flurry of leaks that accompany any big phone launch have helped to fill in some of the gaps.
Here’s what we know so far:
The name: Huawei P20
Huawei trademarked the "P20" monicker earlier in 2017, and later confirmed the name in a teaser just before mWC 2018. P20 is a rounder number than 11, with fewer syllables (in English, anyway). And the jump from 10 to 20 would also underscore the significant tech upgrades coming in this new phone, such as the rumored triple-camera setup and bezelless display.
It’s also reasonable to expect Huawei, for the third year running, to offer the P-series flagship in two sizes, so expect a P20 and P20 Plus.
The hardware: Same core platform as the Mate 10
Expect Huawei’s Kirin 970 chip to return, complete with Neural Processing Unit, and possibly an upgrade to Android 8.1 on the software side. (Given Huawei’s newfound alignment with Android’s version numbers, this might mean we jump to EMUI 8.1.)
Android 8.1 is important for Huawei because it’ll allow third-party apps to unlock the power of the NPU through Android’s own neural networking APIs — APIs which aren’t present in the older version 8.0.
Besides that, expect the same core feature set we saw in the Mate 10’s software, only in a more compact handset. With one major exception.
Huawei’s Leica-engineered cameras have finally started to hit their stride, with the latest iteration in the Mate 10 going toe-to-toe with the Google Pixel 2. The Huawei P20 series could take things even further.
It’s long been expected that the Huawei P20 Pro (the highest-end entry in the P20 series) will come equipped with three rear cameras. This is something that’s even been teased by Huawei itself, but now we have more information about just how this system will work.
According to WinFuture, the P20 Pro will have an 8MP telephoto lens, a 20MP black-and-white one, and to top things off, an astounding 40MP RGB lens. Assuming this information is true, we could be faced with one of the most powerful camera systems ever found on a smartphone. The P20 and P20 Lite should still offer commendable experiences with dual camera setups, but photography geeks will definitely want to go for the Pro.
An iPhone-style notch?
It had to happen sooner or later. Eventually, one of the big names in Android would emulate the iPhone X’s infamous sensor cutout. This report comes from XDA, which did some digging in pre-release firmware and discovered references to a display with rounded corners and a central iPhone-style notch, likely used to house sensors and the front-facing camera.
An overlay image included in the software gives us a clue as to what the P20’s front face might look like. As you can see, it’s somewhere between the Essential Phone and the iPhone X. While it’s unlikely that every version of the P20 will have this style of front, let’s assume that the most expensive version will have it.
Details pulled from the same ROM suggest one device, possibly the P20 Plus, will use a 6.01-inch Samsung LCD with a Full HD+ screen resolution. That model carries the codename "Emily," it’s reported, with model numbers carrying the prefix "EML."
As a final note on the display, we’d caution against saying the LCD (as opposed to AMOLED) part choice is set in stone. AC understands that the Mate 10 Pro at one point was being tested with 6-inch LCDs before Huawei was able to secure supplies of AMOLED panels.
A launch date
Expect a launch after MWC 2018.
Huawei sent out invitations to a press event that will be held on March 27, and while the company didn’t outright mention the name of the phone, it did mention the event would be focused on its next flagship handset family.
You can also see Huawei teasing three cameras, with a tagline, "See mooore with AI," hinting to the cameras tying into the Kirin 970’s Neural Processing Unit.
Updated March 2018: Article updated with new leaks and information.
March 20, 2018 at 01:24PM