Huawei Announces Its Latest Smartphone, the Mate 9

The $776 Android phone will first launch in Europe and Asia, but also could come to the U.S. sometime in 2017.

Huawei, Mate 9, smartphones, Huawei Fit, dual cameras, octa-core

Huawei has unveiled its latest smartphone, the Mate 9, with a 5.9-inch full HD touch-screen display, a unibody metal frame, an ARM octa-core processor, a dual lens main rear camera and a $776 price tag.

The Mate 9, which comes with 4GB of memory and 64GB of onboard storage, features a Kirin 960 chipset with an ARM Cortex-A73/A53 octa-core processor and a Mali G71 octa-core graphics processing unit. The handset runs the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system, which features Huawei's own EMUI 5.0 user interface overlay. Each Mate 9 is precision-built, including an hour of CNC milling on its unibody metal frame, and receives sandblasted texturing and other details.

Like the earlier Huawei P9 smartphone, the Mate 9 gets a dual-lens camera that was co-engineered with lens and camera maker Leica. The second-generation dual-camera module includes a 12-megapixel F2.2 RGB color sensor, a 20-megapixel F2.2 monochrome sensor and enhanced image fusion algorithms that combine to improve photographs over the earlier generation of the system.

Also integrated in the main camera are Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and improved low light capabilities, along with a Hybrid Zoom feature that uses laser focus, phase detection focus, depth focus and contrast focus to focus and capture images.

In addition, the Mate 9 includes a 4,000mAh high-density battery, along with quick charging capabilities that provide a full charge in 20 minutes. The battery itself features Super Safe 5-gate protection, which offers real-time voltage, current and temperature monitoring to eliminate safety hazards and safeguard battery life, according to Huawei.

The handset, which will be available in Black, Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown and Ceramic White colors, will first be launched in China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. A Limited Edition Porsche Design version of the Mate 9 will be available with 6GB of memory and 256GB for about $1,553.

"In developing the HUAWEI Mate 9, we started with a simple question—how can we improve every element of the smartphone experience?" Richard Yu, the CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group, said in a statement. "We know that for today's business users, a fast and functional smartphone is just the beginning. Consumers also want a gorgeous design and intuitive features, so we created two new devices at the forefront of hardware and software innovation. The result is a device that is breathtakingly new, inside and out."

The Mate 9 also includes dual-SIM support for travelers who want to use the phone in multiple countries, and a fingerprint scanner for device and data security.

In February, Huawei unveiled its $350 GX8 smartphone, which features an aircraft-grade aluminum body, a 5.5-inch full HD display, a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 eight-core processor, 2GB of memory, 16GB of on-board storage and a fingerprint scanner for security.

Also just launched by Huawei was its latest wearable device, the $130 Huawei Fit sports watch, which provides multi-sport fitness tracking, heart rate and sleep monitoring, automatic step counting and more on a circular always-on display. With the Fit, Huawei is looking to bridge the gap between a full smartwatch and a dedicated fitness tracker.

It is built with an aluminum body that comes in two finishes, Moonlight Silver and Titanium Grey. Three wrist band colors will be available—black, which is available exclusively at Best Buy through early January—blue and orange. Following the exclusive Best Buy arrangement, the devices will also be sold through Amazon, Newegg and other retailers.

The Fit features a 1.04-inch circular black and white touch-screen display, 256KB of memory, 16MB of onboard storage and an 80mAh rechargeable battery that lasts up to six days on a charge with normal use. The fitness watch meets IP 68 standards for water and dust resistance. The fitness band's LCD touch screen gives users important information at a glance, including the time, the number of steps taken, heart rate and more. The always-on display is visible even in strong light due to a backlit display that is controlled by an ambient light sensor.

The Fit is also a smartwatch and can be connected to a smartphone to offer alerts for incoming call and messages. The watch vibrates when a call comes in, identifies missed calls and allows users to end a call by swiping up on the watch screen.