In short: Besides the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X, Huawei's Tuesday event also saw the announcement of the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS, an ultra-luxurious offering that's technically a product lineup of its own despite sharing a name with the other three handsets. What illustrates that autonomy the best is its price tag, with the series starting at €1,695 and going up to €2,095, which amounts to over $2,400.
In most aspects, the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS is the Mate 20 Pro, albeit with a unique Black color and a prominently featured Porsche logo, as well as some improved internals. Both models are hence equipped with 8GB of RAM, 25-percent more compared to the Mate 20 Pro, with consumers also being given a choice between 256GB and 512GB of flash memory, whereas the main Mate 20 series is limited to 128GB of storage space. A Red variant of the handset is also in the works but won't be available for purchase in Europe, with the device being planned to launch as a China exclusive, as was the case with the Mate RS Porsche Design launched this spring.
Whereas previous Porsche-branded Huawei devices lacked a display notch on the automaker's aggressive insistence, that doesn't appear to be the case with this third-generation handset, even though the Chinese manufacturer did its very best to hide the cutout during its Paris presentation and even obfuscated it in the official renders provided to media outlets which can be seen here. Other aspects of the handset are still as premium as they come, with the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS featuring a rear panel covered in real artisan leather that's symmetrically split by a glass pane. In other words, wireless charging of the Mate 20 Pro is also supported by this device, though the overall package delivers a much more luxurious feel and what Huawei describes as a "race track" look.
Other flagship features included in the Mate 20 Pro such as 3D facial recognition, an in-display fingerprint reader, and the world's first 7nm system-on-chip are also part of the Porsche Design Mate 20. The device will be available in select European markets and China later this month but don't expect it to be picked up by many resellers given its limited appeal that's a result of the extremely high price tag attached to it. Instead, the Porsche Design Mate 20 will be primarily retailed by Porsche and Huawei themselves, which is also what happened with the Porsche-branded Mate RS and Mate 9.
Background: Whereas the Mate RS Porsche Design was a significant upgrade over the P20 Pro, Huawei's other 2018 flagship launched this spring, the newly unveiled Mate 20 Porsche Design is much closer to the capabilities of the Mate 20 Pro. Its pricing is still the same and clearly signals this is a collector's item more than a product targeting the average consumer. Porsche will almost certainly be gifting the newly announced Android smartphone alongside some of its vehicle models sold later this year, much like it did with previous handsets released as part of its Huawei partnership.
Even though luxury smartphones traditionally shipped with subpar internals relative to what their regular peers were offering, Huawei has been looking to innovate in this department over the last several years, with all three of its Porsche-branded Android handsets delivering the very best of what the mobile industry has the offer, i.e. had to offer at the time of their release. Seeing how the company's mainstream lineup is now catching up in terms of pure hardware power, Huawei limited the Mate 20 series to 128GB of storage space despite the fact that it already commercialized a "regular" phone with twice as much flash memory earlier this year in the form of the P20 Pro. While that move can hardly be described as consumer-friendly, the otherwise feature-packed nature of the newly unveiled Mate 20 series is likely going to be enough to convince most consumers to glance over that fact.
In terms of other capabilities, the triple-camera setup and Kirin 980 chip from the Mate 20 Pro are also utilized by this Porsche-branded device, making it possibly the most powerful mobile photography tool and overall powerhouse ever delivered by the mobile industry. While Huawei did not elaborate on the matter, the last two generations of its Porsche-series products suggest the new Mate 20 RS will only be available in limited quantities and won't be re-released at any point in the future, so it's likely to be out of stock come the turn of the year.
Impact: Huawei's partnership with Porsche is entering its third year and appears to be stronger than ever, with the company being likely to continue pursuing that collaboration moving forward. Last year's Mate 10 was even modified to drive a custom Porsche Panamera on its own and the Chinese original equipment manufacturer may be looking to repeat that marketing stunt in the coming weeks or come up with something that's even more eye-catching, regardless of how commercially unfeasible it might be.
At the end of the day, commercial feasibility isn't high on the list of Huawei's priorities when Porsche-branded devices are concerned and this year's Porsche Design Mate 20 is no exception to that product strategy. The device is as much of an advertisement for Huawei and Porsche's brands as much as it's an actual smartphone intended to be used, so while some fans of the two companies or those looking for truly no-compromise devices may end up breaking the bank to get it this fall, the handset is unlikely to be prominently featured in most stores.
While Huawei won't be bringing the Mate 20 lineup in the U.S. in any official capacity due to its tense relationship with stateside regulators and lawmakers, its partnership with Porsche may actually see this limited-edition device launch in America via some of the automaker's showrooms. Even if that doesn't happen, U.S. consumers who end up importing it should be able to use the handset on all GSM networks — including those from AT&T and T-Mobile — and will also rest easy in terms of after-sales support because the stateside arm of Huawei will still honor all international warranties, a company official told AndroidHeadlines.