Huawei’s President of Consumer Business for Europe, Walter Ji, got interviewed by Android Pit, and in that interview, Mr. Ji actually revealed some of Huawei’s plans for next year. The company’s President of Consumer Business for Europe has been with Huawei for 18 years, and he came to his current position back in 2016, and is involved in smartphones, tablet, and wearables, as he’s overseeing the consumer-end side of Huawei’s business in Europe. Mr. Ji confirmed that Huawei will focus on delivering even better smartphones in 2019, he has confirmed that Huawei will bring “more innovation in the camera department”, as he said that the company is planning to release a quad camera smartphone in 2019. He also said that “three or five times the zoom is not enough”, as he continued saying that the company is planning to introduce 10x zoom on its flagship smartphone(s) next year, in order to make them more unique. He basically said to expect quite a few surprises when it comes to the company’s flagship smartphone offerings in 2019.
Mr. Ji has also reiterated that the company is working on its foldable smartphone, and 5G support as well. He actually said that the company is planning to introduce its foldable smartphone with 5G support in the first half of next year, contrary to previous reports which suggested that it will arrive in the second half of 2019. He said that the company is putting even more effort in the premium range of smartphones, which includes its P and Mate series device, and will probably include this upcoming foldable smartphone. The company’s President of Consumer Business for Europe also touched on software for a bit, he said that the company is not seeing Android One as an ideal solution for consumers. He says that Huawei tested it in the markets that the company is active in, and says that consumers are not too happy with it, which is why Huawei is doing its best to improve EMUI in order to cater to consumers, as they seem pleased with it thus far.
Walter Ji also referred to 5G, briefly, he basically said that 5G will bring some significant differences to the table, and that it is a significant step forward when it comes to smartphone connectivity. He did say, however, that 3G and 4G will remain quite important, as the expansion of 5G may not go as far as consumers expect it to. He also said that 5G connectivity will be a huge challenge for battery life and power consumption, and that software will be the key in order to get everything just the way it should be. Mr. Ji also said that the company is adapting its Kirin chips for future challenges, while he also said that AI is “an important bridge between the increasingly complex devices, and the ever-simpler operation that users desire”. Mr. Ji has also confirmed that Huawei is planning to open more of its large flagship stores, as he said that the company is planning to open between ten and twenty such stores in 2019 (he was probably referring to Europe, though), while the first of them will be opened in Hamburg in the first half of the year. At the very end of his interview. Mr. Ji did also say that Huawei s putting a lot of focus on PCs and laptops, just to make sure that consumers don’t forget that.
Background: Huawei had recently introduced its Mate 20 flagship lineup of handsets, and it seems like the company is planning to improve further next year. The Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X got introduced a while back, and all of these are flagship-grade phones, though they’re quite different one compared to the other. All of those devices are fueled by the same processor, the company’s flagship Kirin 980 chip, while Huawei is actually rumored to release a new flagship processor ahead of time, the Kirin 990. The company is actually rumored to announce that chip in the first quarter of next year, and the Kirin 990 is rumored to ship with a 5G modem. Huawei usually introduces only one flagship processor per year, so this will definitely be a step away from its usual release cycle, but it would be an understandable one considering that a number of manufacturers will announce 5G-ready smartphones next year, and 5G will become available in 2019, even though it will be far from mainstream next year. It will probably take 5G several years to become a standard, in fact.
Impact: Huawei seems to be having huge plans for next year, which is not surprising considering that this is the second / third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, it is constantly trading places with Apple. Huawei reiterated a number of times that its plan is to overthrow Samsung, and become the world’s number one smartphone manufacturer. It is possible, but it will take quite a bit of time to come to fruition (if it ever does), as Samsung is still far ahead at this point. Huawei obviously plans to release compelling new smartphones in 2019, and based on Mr. Ji’s words, the P30 series of devices will ship with four cameras on the back, while Leica’s lenses will probably be a part of the package once again. The company’s foldable smartphone is also something to look forward to in 2019, as Huawei will face Samsung and LG in that market segment, while a number of other companies will probably introduce their foldable smartphones as well. Samsung had already shown off its demo device with a foldable display, and it remains to be seen what LG and Huawei are planning, as we did not see much info regarding those two devices. LG is, however, rumored to announce such a phone in early 2019, some rumors are even saying it will arrive in January, while Samsung will probably announce its offering in Q1 as well. Huawei will join those two Korea-based companies in the first half of the year, but Mr. Ji did not say when. Improvements in the AI department are also expected from Huawei in 2019, and the same can be said for AR.