Huawei P9 Phone Aims High-End with Leica Dual-Lens Camera
The new P9 and P9 Plus smartphones launched by Huawei today are aimed at setting "a new standard in smartphone photography," the company says. Unveiled during an event in London, the new phones from China's electronics giant were co-engineered with the iconic German photography brand Leica Camera AG -- a first for smartphones, according to Huawei.
Huawei placed the camera technologies of the P9 and P9 Plus front and center during today's event by bringing on stage renowned photographers Mary McCartney and David Guttenfelder, both veterans of National Geographic. The company has also enlisted Hollywood's help, with actors Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson both appearing in a new television commercial for the P9.
Featuring dual-lens cameras, the P9 and P9 Plus are designed to optimize both color and black-and-white photographs. The Android-powered smartphones are set to become available across European and Middle Eastern markets starting April 16.
Premium -- and Global -- Ambitions
Huawei has "made it quite clear their ambitions lie in the premium part of the market," William Stofega, head of mobile device technology and trends research at the analyst firm IDC, told us. "This reinforces that whole notion."
While Huawei has yet to launch in the U.S., the P9 -- and its accompanying "heavy-duty media campaign" -- indicates the company is planning to enter the market soon, Stofega said. He added he expected that such a move would most likely take place this summer, before Apple's next big product kickoff in September.
Huawei's consumer electronics chief has confirmed his company plans a smartphone debut in the U.S. later this year, according to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.
U.S. Market Entry Soon?
Stofega said it's possible that Huawei will look to market its smartphones in the U.S. via direct online sales, rather than through partnerships with wireless carriers. However, the company also faces potential obstacles due to its Chinese roots and infrastructure -- founder and president Ren Zhengfei began his career as a military technologist for the People's Liberation Army.
Rather than feature chips from leading vendors such as Qualcomm, MediaTek or Intel, the P9 and P9 Plus both feature Huawei's own Kirin 955 Octa-core processors. The 5.2-inch P9 will be available in either 3 GB (about $683) or 4GB (about $730) models, while the 4 GB, 5.5-inch P9 Plus will sell for approximately $854.
Both versions of the phone will run Android 6.0 and feature fingerprint sensors, ambient light sensors, USB Type-C connector sand 3000mAh batteries that support rapid charging.
During its London event, Huawei also unveiled its new B3 TalkBand, a wearable timepiece that also provides activity tracking and hands-free calling. With a release date yet to be announced, the B3 will be priced starting at approximately $193.
Image Credit: P9 Smartphone via Huawei.
Image credit: Product shot by Huawei.