Expanded and enhanced artificial intelligence capabilities and dual Leica cameras are the main draws in Huawei's three new Mate 10 smartphones, which also include Huawei's Kirin 970 chipsets that are built to integrate mobile phones with artificial intelligence.
The new handsets, the Huawei Mate 10, the Mate 10 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate 10, were unveiled by the company on Oct. 16 and will be available through staggered releases in various countries around the world through the end of 2017. Huawei will also market the phones in the U.S. but the company says it will announce those plans later.
The Mate 10 features a 5.9-inch 2560x1440 pixel LCD display, while the Mate 10 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 10 include 6-inch 2160x1080 pixel LCD displays. All three models use Kirin 970 chipsets, which include ARM octa-core processors, Mali-G72 12-core graphics processing units and specialized neural network processing units.
Combined, the components help deliver vastly improved AI capabilities when used with Huawei's included HiAI mobile computing platform. The combination of hardware and software allows the Kirin 970 chipsets to deliver 25x better performance and 50x greater energy efficiency for AI-related tasks, compared to four Cortex-A73 cores, according to the company.
The smartphones, which include glass on both sides of the handsets, also include Leica 20-megapixel and 12-megapixel main rear cameras, 8-megapixel front cameras, optical image stabilization, 4,000mAh batteries, fast charging and 4G LTE connectivity.
The Mate 10 includes 4GB of memory and 64GB of built-in storage, while the Mate 10 Pro includes 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage. The Porsche Design Mate 10 includes 6GB of memory and 256GB of built-in storage.
The handsets all run on the Android 8.0 operating system and incorporate Huawei's EMUI user interface. Also included in each model are WiFi 2.4G, Bluetooth 4.2 and Near-Field Communications connectivity, as well as a USB Type C port.
Prices for the phones are $824 for the Mate 10, $942 for the Mate 10 Pro and $1,645 for the Porsche Design Mate 10. The Mate 10 will be available starting in late October in more than 15 countries and regions including Spain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.
The Mate 10 Pro will be available beginning in mid-November in more than two dozen countries, including Germany, France, Italy, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The Porsche Design Mate 10 will be available in mid-November in countries to be announced later.
The Mate 10 comes in Mocha Brown, Black, Champagne Gold or Pink Gold colors, while the Mate 10 Pro comes in Midnight Blue, Titanium Gray, Mocha Brown or Pink Gold colors. The Porsche Design Mate 10 comes in Diamond Black.
The Mate 10 is 5.92 inches long, 3.06 inches wide, 0.32 inches thick and weighs 6.56 ounces, while the Mate 10 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate 10 are 6.07 inches long, 6.63 inches wide, 0.28 inches thick and weigh 6.27 ounces each.
"As we enter the age of intelligence, AI is no longer a virtual concept but something that intertwines with our daily life," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said in a statement. "AI can enhance user experience, provide valuable services and improve product performance. The Huawei Mate 10 Series introduces the first mobile AI-specific Neural Network Processing Unit, launching a new era of intelligent smartphones."
Thomas Husson, an analyst with Forrester, told eWEEK the new Huawei Mate 10 handsets have the needed features to take on the sales leaders from Samsung, Apple and others.
"Huawei comes last to the Christmas smartphones sales party after Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, Apple's iPhone 8 or Google's Pixel 2, but definitely not too late," said Husson. "As always with Huawei, the strong emphasis on the technical specifications is a double-edged sword: it enables the Mate 10 Pro to compete on the high-end with its competitors, but it reinforces the lack of brand personality for Huawei."
That could change, though, if Huawei does a good job communicating its design partnership with Porsche and creating new consumer experiences based on its AI chipsets, Husson added. "It could start differentiating in the space," he said of Huawei. "I think the much more affordable version of the standard Mate 10 will help Huawei achieve significant volumes in Q4 2017."
Editor's Note: This article was updated to correct the model number of the Kirin 970 chip set in the Huawei Mate 10 smartphones.