Huawei's latest Mate 10 smartphones are its first to feature artificial intelligence (AI) technology. At the Dubai launch event on October 30, Clement Wong, Huawei's head of global product marketing, said the company is fostering "meaningful innovation" by catering to the realistic needs of smartphone users, providing features such as advanced photography and improved battery life.
The Huawei Mate 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 were first unveiled in Munich on October 16. The devices combine Huawei's recently launched Kirin 970 chipset and EMUI 8.0 Android interface. The Mate 10 Series continues the smartphone maker's legacy of long-lasting battery life, while integrating New Leica Dual Camera technology.
Huawei partnered with The Executive Council of Dubai to be one of the first smartphone companies to introduce Dubai Font to their users. The Mate 10 Series is the first smartphone series by Huawei that has Dubai Font embedded into it. Dubai Font has been designed for more than 180 countries and in 23 languages integrating Arabic and Latin typefaces.
The new devices "go beyond smart", the company claimed, to make them more intelligent with personalized AI applications that deliver a "faster, stronger and seamless smartphone experience to users." The Chinese vendor has taken the smartphone industry by storm, racing ahead of its local rivals and now competing head-to-head with the global heavyweights.
Huawei surpassed rival Apple in global smartphone sales consistently for June and July 2017, according to Counterpoint Research. It was a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence. But is there room for Huawei to grow in a saturated smartphone market?
"The smartphone market is growing," Wong told Telecom Review. "The reason is that smartphones are not used in the same traditional way anymore. You remember the feature phone stage when voice calling was prominent, and then SMS, and then internet browsing, and then video. The features of smartphones are always growing. The Huawei Mate 10 plays on this evolution - it's not just a cellphone but an intelligent phone."
The driving force behind this transformation, he said, is consumer needs, and Huawei has "tried to develop something that appeals directly to the needs of the consumer by empowering their lives more." Huawei has a "strong background in technology to deliver this," Wong added, "including our experience in networks and also our chipset knowledge."
Huawei launched its AI chipset, the Kirin 970, at IFA Berlin this year. The smartphone System-on-a-Chip (SoC) combines an 8-core CPU, a new generation 12-core GPU, and a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to power AI computing.
The Huawei Mate 10 Series, infused with the new chipset, offers a "significantly faster intelligent experience for consumers," said Wong. "We have put our AI focus on smartphones purely to enable some core advantages to our products, such as power saving and advanced photography."
The performance of the Kirin 970 NPU offers 25 times that of a CPU (Central Processing Unit) and with 50 times the efficiency of a CPU. "If you use CPU to run an AI application it will be super slow so that wouldn't have been a good time to introduce AI into smartphones," Wong explained. "A combination of good chipset and improved battery performance has delivered a great AI experience for our customers."
The Kirin 970 delivers 25x better performance and 50x more energy efficiency for AI-related tasks, according to Huawei. The devices pack a 4000 mAh high-density battery featuring a smart battery management system that understands user behavior and intelligently allocates resources to maximize battery life.
For improved photography, Huawei again partnered with Leica to co-engineer the dual-lens camera for the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. They combine 12-megapixel RGB + 20-megapixel monochrome sensors, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), dual lenses with the world's largest aperture of f/1.6, AI-powered Bokeh Effect and AI-powered Digital Zoom.
"The dual camera concept was launched a while ago with the purpose of capturing depth of field," said Wong. "But we aren't using the dual feature this time purely for this angle - we wanted to provide the best quality picture by using black and white sensors as well as color sensors - and what makes the picture so beautiful is the software that can merge the two."
New AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition, which automatically chooses camera settings based on the object and scene, supports an advanced AI-powered Digital Zoom function with AI Motion Detection for clearer and sharper pictures.
In addition, providing the "world's fastest 4.5G experience", the Huawei Mate 10 smartphones only require a few seconds to load and play 4K online. The devices are also the world's first smartphones with Dual 4G SIM support enabling each SIM to make calls and browse simultaneously.
Ultimately, Wong said, Huawei aims to produce more intelligent phones that cater to realistic needs of consumers. "This is what I find so exciting about working in this industry - there are always new avenues to evolve," he said.
"How to win the consumer's heart is much more important to Huawei than competing to be the best," Wong added. "I think people who use the Mate 10 will love it because of its practicality. People are realizing that implementing AI is beneficial for everyday use and that is what we call meaningful innovation."
The devices will launch with Huawei's all-new EMUI 8.0 powered by Android 8.0. Features include an AI Engine to fully leverage the capabilities of the Kirin 970; an AI Accelerated translator to deliver faster and more accurate interactive translation for a smoother communication experience; an easy projection feature to connect the new Huawei Mate Series to a larger screen; and support for a full desktop experience.
"AI might not be the most exciting thing to some people, but AI is functional and will benefit customers in the long run," Wong said. "For instance, some manufacturers have used AI to detect faces to unlock phones, but we believe the fingerprint mechanism is much easier and practical."
Now is the right time to introduce AI into smartphones for a number of reasons," Wong added, "including the technology being ready in terms of chipset development, combined with the ability to offer it with sufficient battery life."
With an all-new "FullView Display", the Huawei Mate 10 features a 5.9-inch screen with a 16:9 display and HDR10 to support vivid colors. The Mate 10 will be available in more than 15 countries and regions including Spain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.
Price and availability
The Huawei Mate 10 is available for purchase at the Huawei brand store located on level 2 at The Dubai Mall and across leading retailers. Huawei Mate 10 64 GB is available in Mocha Brown and Black colors at a price of AED 2,299 while Mate 10 Pro 128 GB will be available in Mocha Brown, Titanium Gray and Midnight Blue colors at a price of AED 2,999 from end of November.
Mate 10 Series comes with Mate 10 Care offer that includes an initial 6 months screen damage warranty service available at all Huawei Service centres across the UAE.