Huawei Aims to Maintain Its Growth Trend With P9, P9 Plus Smartphones

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-04-07
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Huawei Aims to Maintain Its Growth Trend With P9, P9 Plus Smartphones
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    Huawei Aims to Maintain Its Growth Trend With P9, P9 Plus Smartphones

    Huawei executives' goal with the new P9 line is to continue growing the company's global market share. Here's a look at the new handsets' key features.
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    The Minimalist Design Is High End
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    The Minimalist Design Is High End

    Huawei says that its design concept with the P9s was "minimalist." The devices feature only a logo, camera and ultra-thin bezel on the front. In addition, users will find 2.5D hardened glass and a "translucent metal surface," thanks to metal polishing. A white version of the P9 comes in ceramic, which was colored with paint that's similar to what's found in "premium cars." Everything about the P9's external design is high quality.
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    But It Falls Short on Screen Quality
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    But It Falls Short on Screen Quality

    Although Huawei is trying to appeal to the top end of the market, the P9's display could be a deal-breaker for some customers. The 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch displays in the P9 and P9 Plus, respectively, offer only full-HD resolution. Many other higher-end devices come with much higher resolutions. It's odd that Huawei would pitch the P9 as a top-of-the-line product and not offer a nicer screen.
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    There Aren't Many Differences Between the New Versions
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    There Aren't Many Differences Between the New Versions

    The main difference between the P9 and P9 Plus is size. Since the P9 Plus has a larger display, it's taller and wider than the P9. Beyond that, however, there are few differences. Both devices have the same processor and run the same software. Both smartphones also feature dual cameras on the back. One small difference: The P9 Plus has a slightly larger battery.
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    An Octa-Core Processor for High-End Performance
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    An Octa-Core Processor for High-End Performance

    To make good on Huawei's desire to deliver strong performance, the company has bundled an octa-core processor in its new handsets. The processor, called the Huawei Kirin 955, has four cores with clock speeds of 2.5GHz and another four cores at 1.8GHz clock speeds. Together, they'll deliver superior performance to the P8 Huawei already sells.
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    It Runs Android Marshmallow
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    It Runs Android Marshmallow

    Huawei's devices will be running the latest version of Google's operating system, Android Marshmallow, and come with a new version of the company's operating system skin, called Emotion UI. The skin has been generally well-received, though it's really the security and features baked into Marshmallow that customers would ultimately be after.
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    Camera Quality Could Win Over Buyers
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    Camera Quality Could Win Over Buyers

    Instead of one camera, the P9s come with dual cameras (a feature rumored to be coming to the next iPhone). One of the rear cameras specializes in capturing an image's color, while the other is monochrome and designed solely to capture detail. Together, they stitch together an image that Huawei said will be of "superior quality," compared to competing devices. In fact, Huawei argues that its cameras could be useful companions for professional photographers.
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    They Have a Rapid-Charging Feature
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    They Have a Rapid-Charging Feature

    It's as if smartphone makers have decided that in order to deliver a high-end device, it must come with a rapid-charging feature. Realizing that, Huawei said that its P9s have long battery lives (it didn't provide an exact figure) and can get six hours of talk time restored after just 10 minutes of charging.
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    Expect Stellar Internet Connectivity
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    Expect Stellar Internet Connectivity

    Since Huawei made a name for itself in wireless connectivity, the P9s will likely be a standout when it comes to connecting to cellular and WiFi networks. The devices have what Huawei calls "virtual-triple-antenna" architecture, which is aimed at providing faster throughput and better connectivity to cellular and WiFi networks, even in desolate areas.
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    A Fingerprint Sensor Rounds Things Out
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    A Fingerprint Sensor Rounds Things Out

    Another must-have in any high-end smartphone is a fingerprint sensor. The Huawei P9s come with a new version of the fingerprint sensor available in the company's previous devices. The sensor is on the back of the smartphone and does a better job than previous options at identifying a fingerprint, according to the company.
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    Let's Have a Word About Pricing, Availability
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    Let's Have a Word About Pricing, Availability

    The Huawei P9 is a top-notch handset, and its pricing reflects that. The 32GB P9 will be available April 16 for 599 euros (about $683). The 64GB version will bump the price to 649 euros ($740). The P9 Plus will go for 749 euros ($854). While the P9 line will be available in many European countries, as well as China, it will not include the United States as a "launch market." Savvy shoppers will likely be able to get their hands on an unlocked Huawei P9 and get it running on U.S. networks. In addition, Huawei has said that it plans to launch a "flagship" smartphone in the United States this year, and the P9s are its top devices.
 

In 2015, China's Huawei became the world's third-largest smartphone maker, shipping 106.6 million handsets. That figure was up 44.3 percent year-over-year and its growth was more than double Apple's own annual growth in 2015. Given Huawei's success—and the possibility it might one day become the biggest smartphone maker—all eyes were on the company on April 6, when it announced its new high-end smartphones, the P9 and the P9 Plus. These handsets are impressive in multiple respects, with a 5.5-inch screen, an octa-core processor, and dual rear-facing cameras. Huawei has also updated the P9's design, creating a device that looks somewhat iPhone-like, but almost entirely eliminates the left and right screen bezels to provide a slim profile. The Huawei P9 line, in other words, is a fine new addition to the company's handsets, and if history is to be our guide, it will allow Huawei to continue growing its global market share. Read on to find out why so many are excited about Huawei's new handsets.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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