release date, rumors what to expect
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(Pocket Ribbon) – Huawei's transition from Android disruptor to Google outsider has been a dramatic shift in the past year.
The Huawei P40, the flagship phone for 2020, launched without access to Google services, while Huawei continued to follow its own path. It was still a capable device and that leaves expectations behind for Huawei's next flagship, the P50.
Here's everything we've heard so far.
Release date and price
Little has been said about when the Huawei P50 will be announced. The Huawei P40 was announced on March 26, 2020, following a pattern launched by Huawei devices at events just after the traditional Mobile World Congress in February.
While 2021 won't be normal, we're still expecting an annual refresh, so we expect the Huawei P50 and P50 Pro to be announced around March 2021 – although there's nothing to confirm yet.
Design and build
P50 Pro: 159 x 73 mm Curved display
We're starting to see leaks popping up for the Huawei P50 Pro, including one from @OnLeaks, which has a good track record of early device disclosures. Unfortunately, not much has been discovered yet, other than the dimensions of 159 x 73 mm. That's pretty much the same as the P40 Pro, so maybe not much will change.
Indeed, the second batch of images leaking from a source that is less reliable appears to reveal a phone similar in appearance to the P40 Pro. The obvious changes are the extension of the rear camera housing and the move to a single front camera.
P50 Pro: 6.6-inch screen, OLED, Quad HD +, 90 Hz P50: 6.1-inch, OLED, Full HD +, 60 Hz Curved edges
The screen of the Huawei P50 Pro is said to be 6.6 inches and we expect the regular P50 to be smaller. That could bring it back to 6.1 inches, in the sizes of the P40 models.
Little else has been said about the screen, but we expect it to be OLED and to offer a refresh rate of 90 or 120 Hz. The P50 Pro's resolution is likely to be Quad HD +, 2640 x 1200 pixels, while the P50 will likely be Full HD +, 2340 x 1080 pixels.
Samsung Display and LG Display are said to provide the OLED panels for the devices.
Very little has been said about the hardware gear for the next-generation Huawei device, but it is believed to use the Kirin 9000 that debuted in the Huawei Mate 40. This is a 5nm 5G SoC launched before Apple and Qualcomm make their own announcements and it is typical for Huawei to roll this hardware from Mate to P series in this way.
Beyond these details, we don't have any details on RAM, storage or battery capacity, although Huawei's 135W charger is suggested to be able to charge lightning fast.
Single front camera P50 Pro: array with four cameras
The camera is the most anticipated part of Huawei devices. The company beat major rivals like Apple and Samsung, outperformed most rivals, and took some of the biggest strides in mobile photography in recent years.
A leak has revealed that there is a huge camera array for the back of the phone, although there is little to verify its authenticity. In fact, the writing on the lens body is the same as on the Huawei P40 Pro, which could mean it's just a fake from Photoshop. Alternatively, Huawei could adapt the existing system for the new P50.
That information on the outside only applies to the lenses, but not to the sensors underneath. What we can see is a periscope telephoto, claims 125mm, which was 5x optical on the P40 Pro.
However, there is an additional camera here that is not covered by the lens details – suggesting (if not a fake) that it has something to do with extra data recording (depth or ToF) or that it is a macro lens.
But there are also additional sensors scattered across the array, so maybe the fourth lens has something to do with that.
It's early days and so far we just don't know what the Huawei P50 cameras have to offer.
No Google services Harmony OS?
Since this is not a regular Android phone, it is worth saying a little more about software. We know that Huawei cannot offer Google services and instead pushes its own software solutions with Huawei Mobile Services running on an Android core.
Huawei has been developing its Harmony OS for quite some time now. It has been used on some devices such as smart TV so far, but there is always talk that it could power phones of the future. Harmony OS is essentially a version of Android anyway, so we wouldn't expect a big change from the EMUI we've seen on Huawei devices in the past.
There's still an outside chance that if Huawei's position with the US changed, Google services could return – but we don't think it will.
What has happened so far?
Here's a chronology of leaks for the Huawei P50 series so far.
Jan 5, 2021: Apparently Huawei P50 Pro leak reveals four rear cameras – but is it real?
Images claiming to be the Huawei P50 Pro leak show camera details but there is little to verify their authenticity.
January 5, 2021: A 135 W charger can power the Huawei P50
A new Huawei charger capable of delivering up to 135W has been certified and could be the charger for the future P50 series.
December 31, 2020: Huawei P50 Pro gets its first design leak
A leak from a reliable source has revealed a rendered image for the future Huawei P50 Pro.
November 23, 2020: Huawei P50 will be launched in 2021
A report from The Elec discusses display suppliers and some of the hardware for the future Huawei P50 models.
Written by Chris Hall.