Huawei may be looking at revitalizing its "MINI" branding for the Mate 20 or upcoming Mate 30 handset family, based on a new trademark application reviewed by Android Headlines. The documentation, filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, gives away almost no details about the device aside from the glaringly obvious fact that it's a smartphone. A second trademark, applying to the marketing term Huawei Mate Smart, has been spotted as well. Both are classified as "Goods and services" under class 9, typically used for smartphones.
Small flagships – a dying breed
Based on Huawei's past use of the Mini branding, the obvious implication is that the company wants to bring back smaller flagship handsets for users who prefer those over the 6-inch devices sold today. The company's current small device bearing flagship branding, the Huawei Mate Lite, is a 6.3-inch gadget with upper mid-range specs revealed back in September.
The company has previously used Mini, such as on the 2017 Huawei P9 Lite Mini, to denote a device that pulls back on specifications and on size. The Huawei P9 Lite Mini is a smartphone measuring in with a much more 5-inch touchscreen.
A Mini-branded variant was also released months after the Huawei P9, so the timing here might make sense if Huawei plans to bring a smaller form factor Huawei Mate 20 to the table for users who don't want an oversized smartphone.
If that's the case, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite already has mid-range internals well-suited to a Mini variant and it wouldn't be too surprising to see those go mostly unchanged. For clarity, the Mate 20 Lite is powered by an in-house Kirin 710 64-bit octa-core SoC, backed up by 4GB RAM and 64GB of micro SD card-expandable storage. Android 8.1 Oreo is the pre-installed Android variant for the gadget, undergirding Huawei's own EMUI 8.2 overlay.
A nonremovable 3,750mAh battery powers that package, with support for rapid charging at 9V/2A. The battery may be smaller in a Mini variant, if that's the direction Huawei is considering for its latest Mate series, out of necessity.
On the rear panel, a 20-megapixel and 2-megapixel dual-camera is included while the front contains a 2-megapixel and 24-megapixel selfie camera. The latter of those is set just above a display set at a resolution of 2340 x 1080.
Huawei Mate Smart?
The second trademark filing spotted by Android Headlines seems far less obvious. The name here appears to point toward enhanced AI-related features but Huawei is already deeply embedded in that particular market and has been since its subsidiary chipset manufacturer HiSilicon revealed the Kirin 970 SoC. That was followed up by a more performance-intensive dual-AI chip, the Kirin 980, late last year.
The company is also already responsible for another handset bearing the designation, the Huawei P Smart, unveiled as 2018 came to a close. There aren't too many differentiating features with that particular handset and no in-family devices to determine where its "Smart" designation was derived.
One plausible possibility is that Huawei intends to release a Mate 'MINI' handset that doesn't cut back on performance but uses the latest AI chipset instead like the high-end variants do. That would offer users the ability to have the latest specs and AI in a smaller form factor, rather than sacrificing performance for the preference.
Another explanation could be that Huawei plans to consolidate its platforms to reduce the number of brands consumers need to remember.