Big Tech

Huawei’s triple-camera feature helps propel high end smartphone sales

Li Tao UPDATED :

Huawei Technologies’ focus on a better photography experience for smartphone users seems to be paying off with shipments of its flagship P20 models surging more than 80 per cent in less than three months.

China’s largest smartphone vendor has shipped six million P20 and P20 Pro phones since the flagship model was first introduced in Paris in late March, according to Kevin Ho, president of Huawei’s handset business.

Compared with the previous flagship P10 models that were launched in early 2017, the P20 models – which include a triple-camera on the P20 Pro handset – have helped drive shipments up 81 per cent year on year during the 10 week period, with shipments in Greater China and overseas markets surging 63 per cent and 150 per cent respectively, Ho said during a keynote speech at CES Asia in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Huawei, which has positioned itself as a premium brand targeting mid- to high-end consumers, is sticking to expensive handsets mostly priced above US$500 as the Shenzhen company tries to stay above the price wars commonly seen among most Chinese smartphone brands. The P20 Pro sells at up to 6,288 yuan (US$982) in China, one of the most expensive handsets from a mainland Chinese vendor.

Huawei makes play for mobile gamers with ‘turbocharged’ technology that beats all Android competitors, as well as Apple

The P20 Pro, the bigger-screen handset among the company’s P20 series, features an Apple X-style notch at the top of the touch screen, ultra-thin bezel and a large screen-to-body ratio. It is equipped with the first triple camera in the industry – a 40 megapixel (MP) RGB lens, a 20 MP monochrome lens and an 8 MP telephoto lens – as the Chinese company tries to compete in photographic quality with digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, as well as trying to narrow the gap with Samsung and Apple outside its home market.

“It is Huawei’s unremitting efforts for a better photography experience on smartphones that have pushed up shipments of P20 both at home and abroad,” Ho said.

Last week the company’s Huawei and Honor brands co-unveiled turbocharged graphics processing technology that was claimed to be ahead of other Android-based phones when it comes to mobile gaming applications.

The Huawei P20 Pro is equipped with three cameras on the back. Photo: SCMP/Ben Sin
Chinese smartphone brands are also making gains in phone sales in the European market that was previously dominated by Samsung and Apple. Huawei and Xiaomi expanded shipments by 38.6 per cent and over 999 per cent respectively in the first quarter of 2018, while Samsung and Apple – the two leading vendors in Europe – saw a 15.4 per cent and 5.4 per cent decline in the same period, according to a report from research firm Canalys.

However, Huawei is facing fierce competition from its Chinese peers, many of which have stepped up efforts in research and development to deliver innovative products with higher price tags.

On Tuesday, China’s third-largest smartphone vendor Vivo launched a new “notch-free” flagship handset, bucking the trend of Chinese smartphone makers who have followed Apple’s iPhone X notch format, with a design compromise that incorporates a full screen display with a pop-up camera solution. The phone is priced from 3,898 yuan up to 4,998 yuan.

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