Coronavirus: Huawei Launches Flagship P40 Smartphone During Pandemic

Photography-focused P40 smartphone range launched by Chinese tech giant, as it contends with US restrictions, and potentially a chip ban

Huawei Technologies has this week launched its new flagship smartphone, with the arrival of its P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ devices.

The global Coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the launch event, and instead the device was revealed to the world online.

But the arrival of the new smartphones comes amid a collapse in phone sales due to Covid-19. A report from analyst house Strategy Analytics stated that in February global smartphone shipments dropped 38 percent year-on-year to 61.8 million devices.

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Huawei P40

Another headache for Hauwei comes after senior officials in the Trump administration agreed to new measures to restrict the global supply of chips to Huawei Technologies, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Huawei is already contending with the fact that the existing US ban has resulted the absence of Google’s mobile services including YouTube, Gmail and the Google Play Store on new devices from the Chinese firm.

It comes as the White House ramps up criticism of China over coronavirus.

Into this maelstrom of US pressure and a pandemic, Huawei launched its photography-focused P40 smartphones on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, showed three smartphones in an online broadcast: the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+, which have triple, quad and penta-camera configurations and “overflow” displays that curve over all four edges of the devices.

Yu claims the P40 series comes with the largest camera sensor on a smartphone, up to 10 times optical zoom and advanced artificial intelligence.

Yu, however, hopes that despite the smartphone downturn, sales for the new devices could be strong.

“I hope the P40 series still can sell very, very well globally,” Reuters quoted him as telling reporters by video link.

He said coronavirus was under control in China and Huawei’s manufacturing was back up to speed in China.

“The situation is good; more and more people go back to work and the shopping mall,” he said. “Every government can learn from China, so I hope the coronavirus is under control very quickly.

“I am looking forward to that, so I am still positive,” he said.

Hardware specs

As mentioned above, there are three versions of the new phones: the standard P40, with a 6.1 inch screen, and a larger mid-range P40 Pro. The top of the range is Pro+, which both have 6.58 inch displays.

These are 5G phones, and the basic basic model has three rear cameras, including one that is capable of a 3x optical zoom.

Thing get a bit more fancy with the other two models, as the P40 Pro adds a time-of-flight depth sensor and upgrades the telephoto lens to a periscope design, to deliver a 5x optical zoom.

And the Pro+ goes one step further with a 10x optical zoom periscope lens.

Huawei is touting the artificial intelligence capabilities of the new portfolio, so unwanted objects can be removed from a scene and to eliminate reflections in glass.

To make up for the lack of the Google Assistant, a smart assistant can be summoned by saying “Hey Celia”. It can reportedly identify objects the phone is shown

The P40 and P40 Pro will be available from 7 April in Europe priced at 799 euros and 999 euros respectively, while the P40 Pro+ will arrive a couple of months later priced at 1,399 euros.