New big-screened Huawei phone looks to build on the P9's camera capabilities.
For the past couple of generations, Huawei's Mate series has been about packing the company's latest internals and camera tech into a big-screened handset — with suitably epic battery capacity to boot. And now we're getting our first look at how the next Mate might look. The shot below was posted on Chinese social network Weibo (via MyDrivers) and appears to reveal a few key data points about the unannounced phablet.
Firstly, the dual-camera trend kicked off by the P9 seems to have carried over to the next Mate, with dual 20-megapixel sensors mentioned. (Previous rumors have pointed to an optically-stabilized camera setup, unlike the P9's which lacked OIS.) Look closely and you'll also see a dual-LED flash and fingerprint scanner, though apparently no laser autofocus or external Leica branding. The latter in particular is a surprise given the prominence given to the Huawei-Leica partnership back when the P9 launched. Besides that, it looks pretty much how you'd expect a plus-sized Huawei phone to look.
Twin 20MP cameras, a beastly new chip, and a totally re-tooled Huawei UI atop Android Nougat.
For hardware nerds, the Mate 9's new Kirin 960 processor will be a major point of interest. Huawei used the Mate 8 to showcase its Kirin 950 chip last year — the first to use ARM's Cortex-A72 core design, and a new 16nm FinFET process. It's previously been rumored that Kirin 960 will step things up to ARM's latest Cortex-A73, which is even more powerful and efficient than its predecessor. (And again, it would be another first for Huawei.)
Other specs remain unclear. We'd expect an appropriately beefy battery for what's likely to be a phone with a near-6-inch display. On the software side, there's a good chance the Mate 9 will be the first phone to ship with the promising EMUI 5 interface atop Android 7.0 Nougat. We've gotten a glimpse at EMUI 5 through a leaked ROM on the Huawei P9, and the updated software seems to eliminate many of the pain points of previous EMUI versions, specifically in the notification shade, lock screen and app-switching areas.
The Huawei Mate 8 first broke cover with a Chinese launch in December 2015, so we'd expect the Mate 9 to emerge roughly a year later. Given the momentum that Huawei's built up in Europe with the P9 series — and the difficulties Samsung's facing with the Note 7 right now — the Mate 9 could be one to watch.