Huawei Rolls Out P9, P9 Plus Flagship Smartphones

The P9 models aren't slated for U.S. distribution in the first launch phase, but could come here later in 2016.

Huawei, Huawei P9, Huawei P9 Plus, smartphones, Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 7, Apple, Samsung, flagship smartphone

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is launching its latest flagship phones, the P9 and its larger stablemate the P9 Plus, in markets around the globe starting April 16. The handsets feature new dual-lens cameras, long battery life and biometric fingerprint readers for security and privacy.

The new phones, which will help the company compete globally with the latest smartphone models from Apple, LG, Samsung and others, debuted April 6 in a glitzy launch event in London.

The P9 and P9 Plus handsets are built using aerospace-quality aluminum bodies with rounded, diamond-cut edges for high style.

The P9 gets a 5.2-inch full HD 1080p touch-screen display and is powered by a Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM-based processor, while the P9 Plus gets a 5.5-inch full HD touch-screen display and the same Kirin CPU. The smaller P9 is fitted with a 3,000mAh high-density battery, while the P9 Plus uses a larger 3,400mAh battery. The P9 Plus also offers dual-IC Rapid Charge, giving users six hours of talk time after a 10-minute charge.

The P9 will be available in a version with 3GB of memory and 32GB of internal storage and another version with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage. The P9 Plus will be available with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage. Both models run the Android Marshmallow 6.0 operating system.

Both the P9 and P9 Plus smartphones include built-in cameras that were engineered in collaboration with Leica and feature new dual-lenses that are built to work in tandem to capture brilliant, accurate and high-quality images for users, according to Huawei. One camera captures red, green and blue colors, while the other is a monochrome device that captures details in black and white. The images from both cameras provide great detail and impressive low-light capabilities, according to the company. The camera also includes a wide-aperture feature that lets users experiment with visual effects to create unique images and content.

"Huawei is excited to give P9 users the best smartphone photography experience by leveraging the unrivalled capabilities of Leica, the leader in the world of imaging for more than 100 years," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said in a statement. "Consumers around the world use their smartphones to take billions of pictures each year, making photography critical to user experience. P9 users can now capture images with unmatched clarity, richness and authenticity, with a masterfully designed and powerful smartphone that looks and feels incredible."

The phones also include cellular and WiFi connectivity for flexibility and biometric fingerprint readers for device security and privacy.

The P9 and P9 Plus will be available in Europe, the Middle East and Asia following the April 16 launch, but could also come to the United States in the future. The company has indicated in the recent past that it could bring its flagship handsets to the United States.

Pricing for the phones will be about $683 for a 32GB P9 or about $740 for a 64GB version. The P9 Plus will sell for about $854.

In 2015, Huawei became the world's third-largest smartphone maker, shipping 106.6 million handsets, according to a recent eWEEK story. That figure was up 44.3 percent year-over-year, and its annual growth was more than double that of Apple in 2015.