Huawei launches P40 phone and new Sound X speaker at virtual event

Huawei has revealed the next flagship smartphone in its line-up alongside the company’s first wireless speaker.

The P40 phone and the Huawei Sound X were unveiled online at a virtual press conference in place of the physical event that was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Like previous flagship phones from Huawei, the P40 contains top-level specs with a focus on the camera that was designed in conjunction with German camera-maker Leica.

The P40 comes in three flavours: the P40 with a 6.1-inch screen, and the P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ which both have a 6,58-inch screen. The latter models feature a larger screen and bonus features like wireless charging.

The Huawei P40 will have a triple-camera array featuring a 50MP primary sensor, 16MP ultra-wide, and an 8MP telephoto lens with OIS. The Pro and Pro+ have the same but also add a 3D Time of Flight (ToF) sensor that enables the phone to better recognise distances. This will be great for portrait shots, but also for augmented reality (AR) apps.

The two phones are powered by the Chinese company’s own Kirin 990 processor and boast 5G connectivity. Like the undeniably brilliant Huawei Mate XS, neither phone has support for Google apps because of the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China.

Away from the phones, Huawei’s first ever wireless speaker, the Huawei Sound X was co-developed by French audio brand Devialet.

The Sound X has also been designed to facilitate seamless interaction with smart devices in the listener’s vicinity. Gently tapping your phone against the Sound X transmits audio to the speaker. And the lossless, low-latency audio can be further bolstered by a proprietary EMUI 10.1 (Huawei’s take on the Android OS) multi-device control panel, Huawei’s equivalent of Apple’s AirPlay, when it is transmitted from the P40.

The Huawei Sound X comes equipped with Devialet’s patented signal-processing SAM(R) (Speaker Active Matching) technology, and iconic Push-Push symmetrical structure (which places the two high-power speakers symmetrically, so that their back wave vibrations cancel each other out) for the best audio quality, within an impact-resistant form.

Huawei also revealed several other gadgets, including new versions of its watch, the Huawei Watch GT 2 and smart sunglasses with built-in speakers for taking and receiving calls.

The three P40 phone models will be available from April 7 and cost 799 euros for the P40, 999 euros for the P40 Pro and 1,399 euros for the P40 Pro+. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed.

Analysts are sceptical of Huawei’s ability to shift the devices outside of its home country of China, especially when it’s difficult to get Google software on them and the coronavirus upends people’s spending.

‘Smartphones are not a priority and certainly not premium ones,’ Marta Pinto from market research firm IDC, told the BBC. ‘People’s consumption confidence is falling because they are more concerned about buying things like groceries and whether they will keep their jobs.

‘Even if you are still buying, because you’re working from home, you’ll probably purchase a laptop and monitor. Or because kids need to go to school online, you might buy them a tablet or Chromebook.’

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