Google today made ARCore 1.0 available to developers and the public, bringing augmented reality to some 100 million smartphones around the world. Handsets compatible with ARCore include Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7, and S7 edge; LGE’s V30 and V30+; Asus’s Zenfone AR; and OnePlus’s OnePlus 5. More devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Asus, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo will be compatible with ARCore later this year. The 1.0 release gives developers an updated set of tools to create virtual content. For example, it features improved environmental understanding that lets people put virtual objects on surfaces like posters, furniture, toy boxes, books, cans, and more. The refreshed Android Studio Beta supports ARCore in the Emulator, so developers can get to work right away. Some of the first brands to offer ARCore content include Porsche, FC Barcelona, and Sotheby's. Google says it is expanding the availability of the Google Lens Preview, which lets you take a picture and gather information about what's in the image. Google says Lens will hit all Google Photos English-language users over the coming weeks. Further, Google is going to add Google Lens to its Google Assistant on select Android flagship devices. Lens lets people create contacts from business cards, recognize plants and animals, and add events to their calendar by taking photos.
Google says its Android Messages app is on the upswing thanks to new RCS-based tools and growing support from phone makers and wireless network operators. To start, brands now have more power to interact with consumers thanks to RCS business messaging. Google says brands can "send more useful and interactive messages" to their customers with photos, videos, and links for purchasing. A number of companies have been testing RCS business messaging via Google's Early Access Program. Some include 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel, and Subway — all on Sprint in the U.S. Google says more businesses will be deploying richer messaging via the Android Messages app over the coming months. The Android Messages app has gained a lot of traction with phone makers and carriers, and more support is on the way. Moving forward, Alcatel, BlackBerry, Transsion, Blu, Positivo, Multilaser, Mobiwire, Azumi, and Essential will all preload Android Messages as the default SMS/messaging app. A number of phone makers already offer Android Messages, including Huawei, LG, HMD Global, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, Sony, and ZTE. The app has a growing footprint with carriers, as well. Google says America Movil, AT&T in Mexico, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Freedom Mobile, Oi, Telia Company, and Telefonica have joined Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Orange, Rogers Communications, Sprint, and Telenor in their commitment to launch RCS messaging. Sprint is the lone U.S. carrier to go all-in with Google's RCS and Android Messages. AT&T and Verizon each offers its own RCS-based messaging client for Android handsets. Google believes this new momentum for RCS and Android Messages will eventually mean a better messaging experience between people, brands, and more.
Google today announced the Android Enterprise Recommended program and an initial batch of handsets that meet the qualifications. Google says the Android Enterprise Recommended program “establishes best practices and common requirements for devices and services, backed by a thorough testing process conducted by Google.” In order to qualify, devices have to meet a number of specifications concerning their hardware, deployment, security updates, and user help programs. For example, devices approved must run at least Android 7 Nougat, and receive security updates no later than 90 days from their release from Google. Further, device makers must commit to offering security patches to unlocked devices for a minimum of three years. Some of the initial devices that meet the requirements — and are thus recommended for business users — include the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL; the BlackBerry KEYone and Motion; the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro; the LG V30 and G6; the Motorola X4 and Z2 ; the Nokia 8; and the Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ Premium, XA2, and XA2 Ultra. Google says it will update the requirements with each new Android platform release to “raise the bar to ensure we are delivering the best experience for our enterprise customers.”
ZTE says American consumers have no reason to fear its cell phones. The company issued a statement after the heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA and other intelligence groups suggested that Americans should not purchase phones made by ZTE and Huawei. "ZTE is proud of the innovation and security of our products in the U.S. market. As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards," said the company. ZTE has carrier deals, unlike Huawei, and sells many of its phone via prepaid operators Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS. "Our mobile phones and other devices incorporate U.S.-made chipsets, U.S.-made operating systems and other components. ZTE takes cybersecurity and privacy seriously and remains a trusted partner to our U.S. suppliers, U.S. customers and the people who use our high quality and affordable products for their communications needs," argued the company. Some in the government characterize phones and telecommunications gear sold by ZTE and Huawei as security risks. Pressure from the government recently put the kibosh in planned deals between Huawei and AT&T, and Verizon Wireless. Moreover, Republican senators and congressmen have put forth bills that would make it illegal for the government to purchase or use equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Neither of these bills has been voted upon yet. For the time being, ZTE's handsets continue to be available in the U.S. at carrier stores and online. Huawei's devices are available online.
Intelligence agency leaders have suggested that U.S. consumers not buy phones from Huawei or ZTE, according to a report from CNBC. The six intelligence chiefs, including the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the director of national intelligence made the remarks at a recent security hearing. "We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks," said FBI Director Chris Wray. All six intel heads said plainly they don't think American citizens should use phones or other products from Huawei and ZTE. Huawei recently saw plans to sell its flagship Mate 10 Pro device via AT&T and Verizon Wireless thwarted at the last moment by pressure from the U.S. government. Lawmakers in the House and the Senate have since introduced bills that would make it illegal for the government to use any equipment from Huawei or ZTE. Huawei said it is "aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor." ZTE didn't provide a response. Nearly all mobile devices, including Apple iPhones, are made in China.
Republican Senators today introduced a new bill that would prevent the U.S. government from using telecommunications equipment from either Huawei or ZTE. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Florida Senator Marco Rubio proposed the bill, citing security concerns. "Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it’s more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices," said Cotton. "There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn't make it any easier for China to spy on us." The bill is similar to one proposed last month by Texas Representative Michael Conaway and Wyoming Representative Elizabeth Cheney. Last month, AT&T and Verizon Wireless scrapped plans to sell Huawei's flagship Mate 10 Pro smartphone due to government pressure. Last year, ZTE was hit with a temporary ban after it was discovered the company supplied some equipment to Iran in violation of international sanctions. Both Huawei and ZTE deny any connection to the Chinese government. ZTE's handsets are widely available from prepaid carriers in the U.S., including Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS. Huawei sells its phone to U.S. consumers directly without a carrier distribution deal.
Huawei today starting taking orders for its Mate 10 Pro flagship smartphone. The handset is available for purchase online from a number of retailers, including Amazon, BestBuy, Microsoft, Newegg, and B&H. Those who preorder the Mate 10 Pro between now and February 17 will receive a $150 gift card from the associated retailer. The device itself costs $799 and comes in black, blue, gray, or copper. The Mate 10 Pro has a 6-inch 2:1 display, Kirin 970 processor with 6 GB of RAM, dual Leica cameras with portrait and monochrome modes, fingerprint reader, and Android 8 Oreo. The company had hoped to sell the device through U.S. carriers, but pressure from the government put the kibosh on carrier distribution deals. It is sold unlocked and is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. The Mate 10 Pro will ship starting February 18.
OnePlus and Honor today made red versions of their most recent devices available to U.S. consumers. The OnePlus 5T Lava Red Limited Edition phone (pictured) will be sold from OnePlus' web site starting February 6. Anyone who preorders the handset before February 9 will receive free upgraded shipping. The OnePlus 5T Lava Red is sold with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. It costs $559. Huawei's Honor brand is also bringing a red phone to the U.S. The Honor 7X in red is available from the Honor web store starting today. It costs $199. Both phones are sold unlocked with support for AT&T and T-Mobile. Supplies are limited.
Verizon Wireless has cancelled any and all plans it had to sell handsets from Chinese phone maker Huawei due to pressure from the federal government, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. Verizon Wireless was on deck to sell Huawei's flagship device, the Mate 10 Pro, but has bowed to the government's wishes. AT&T bagged plans to sell the Mate 10 Pro earlier this month. Some members of the federal government label Huawei a threat and suggest it has ties to the Chinese government. Huawei is the third-largest maker of phones in the world, and the largest maker of telecommunications gear. While some U.S. network operators offer handsets from Huawei's rival ZTE, none use either Huawei's or ZTE's telecommunications gear. The news coincides with word that some in the Trump administration at one point sought to create a government-run, national 5G network in order to protect from supposed Chinese threats. The administration later said the proposal was never seriously considered. Verizon and Huawei declined to comment on Bloomberg's story regarding the Mate 10 Pro.
Amazon has updated its Alexa mobile app for Android devices with the ability to support voice requests. Until today, the app was merely a tool used to manage in-home, Alexa-powered devices such as the Echo and Echo Dot. Now, Android smartphone owners can issue voice commands to Alexa from their smartphone in order to access playlists or tap into Alexa’s various skills. The app does not support wake word functionality, which means people will need to open the app in order to make voice-based requests. The updated Alexa app with voice control is available from the Google Play Store and the Amazon App Store. An update for Alexa for iOS devices is still in the works. Phone makers HTC and Huawei have already taken steps to add Alexa to their devices, such as the U11 and Mate series handsets. This update brings Alexa voice functionality to devices without special hardware requirements. Alexa is free to download.
Google today said Huawei has committed to using Android Messages, the search company's RCS-based messaging service, as the default SMS/MMS tool on its phones. RCS, a global standard, includes advanced messaging features such as texting over WiFi, group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, and read receipts. Huawei joins a long list of phone makers, carriers, and even brands that have added RCS to their messaging services. In the U.S., Sprint has adopted Google's RCS, as have phones from LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, and Kyocera. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon continue to use their own messaging services, though RCS-like features are included when people message others on the same carrier. Samsung has adopted its own RCS-based messaging app, but its use is limited to select carriers overseas. Android Messages supports normal SMS protocols, meaning it can interact with any and all devices whether or not RCS is on board. In addition to adopting RCS, Huawei device owners will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo. Last, Google and Huawei are working together to offer the Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution via Huawei's telecommunications services, which will broaden the reach of RCS to more users around the world over time.
Some people who work for the U.S. government don't want AT&T and other firms doing business with Huawei, according to Reuters. Unnamed U.S. lawmakers are "urging" AT&T "to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei" due to national security concerns. The lawmakers in question suggested that AT&T cease working with Huawei on the development of the 5G network standard. Moreover, the lawmakers don't want AT&T or its discount subsidiary Cricket Wireless to sell Huawei handsets. The lawmakers, including members of the Senate and the House, further suggested that any U.S. firm doing business with Huawei may see its ability to do business with the U.S. government hindered. Earlier this month, AT&T canned plans to sell the Huawei Mate 10 Pro smartphone due to government pressure. The two companies were widely expected to kick off sales of the phone at the Consumer Electronics Show. The phone will still be made available to U.S. consumers directly from Huawei online. Neither AT&T nor Huawei commented on Reuters' story. Huawei is the world's third-largest supplied of handsets and the largest supplier of telecommunications gear. Reuters suggests the change in tone with respect to Chinese technology firms comes from the Trump Administration. The U.S. has recently blocked a handful of other Chinese acquisitions, and is actively seeking to prevent China Mobile from dipping its toe in the U.S. market. Last week, lawmakers introduced legislation that would prevent the U.S. government from using equipment or devices from Huawei and ZTE.
A new bill introduced by Texas Representative Michael Conaway (R) would prevent any part of the U.S government from using equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. The "Defending U.S. Government Communications Act" (H.R. 4747) explicitly prohibits the government from "using or contracting with an entity that uses certain telecommunications services or equipment" from Huawei and ZTE. Conaway cited a number of reports that link both companies to China's communist party as the chief reason for introducing the bill. The idea is to protect the security of government communications, according to Conaway. Last year, ZTE was hit with a temporary ban after it was discovered the company supplied some equipment to Iran in violation of international sanctions. Just this week, Huawei's plans to distribute its Mate 10 Pro flagship device via AT&T fell apart due to government pressure. Huawei is the world's third-largest maker of smartphones and the world's number one maker of telecommunications equipment. Representative Elizabeth Cheney (R) from Wyoming co-sponsored the bill. The bill will need to approved by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform before it can be sent to the House for a vote.
Huawei today announced a range of efforts it is taking to increase visibility for its Mate 10 Pro flagship smartphone. To start, the device will be available for pre-order between February 7 and February 17, with a ship date of February 18. The phone will retail for $799 and will be sold online, unlocked from Amazon.com, Best Buy, Newegg, B&H, and Microsoft. The phone will not be sold by any U.S. carriers, at least not in the near future, but it is compatible with the GSM-based networks of AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. People who pre-order the phone during the initial 10-day window will receive a $150 gift card from the associated retailer. Huawei said it plans to increase its marketing in the U.S. in order to help sell the phone. To start, it has partnered with "Wonder Woman" actor Gal Gadot to serve as the brand's Chief Experience Officer. Gadot has long used Huawei phones, according to the company, and has offered the firm honest feedback over the years. Moreover, Huawei plans to increase its advertising budget in the U.S. to raise awareness of the brand and the Mate 10 Pro. It has already begun to put up billboards with the "the best phone you never heard of" slogan around the U.S. Huawei was expected to announced a distribution deal with AT&T this week, but the arrangement fell apart in recent days for unspecified reasons. Huawei is also making the Porsche Design Mate 10 variant available through the same channels as the standard version. The Porsche Design model costs $1,225.
AT&T will not sell the Huawei Mate 10 Pro smartphone, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Huawei was widely expected to announce a distribution deal with AT&T during its CES keynote address, scheduled for Jan. 9. The deal has collapsed for reasons unknown. Huawei has not yet been able to strike a carrier deal in the U.S., leaving it essentially shut out of the market. If and when it sells devices in the U.S., it generally does so through the open market through partners such as Amazon.com. The Mate 10 Pro is a flagship handset that Huawei has been selling abroad since late last year. Huawei didn't immediately comment on the matter. Official word may come from the company during its CES address later this week.
Huawei's Honor brand expects to roll out an animoji-style feature to its V10 smartphone later this year. The company demonstrated the facial recognition technology on stage during the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Using the V10's user-facing camera and special software, people will be able to make faces that are then animated on the screen, similar to the iPhone X's animoji feature. Honor's animations were more complex than Apple's, at least according to the demonstrations made on stage, as the animoji were more responsive to minute facial expressions. Honor did not say exactly when the feature will be available, but it will first reach the V10. The company also spoke about its plans for the U.S. market. Honor is already on step two of a three-step plan. The first was to enter the open market with support for select GSM networks. The second was to expand compatibility to all GSM networks in the U.S. The third, and yet unrealized, step is to sell its devices from one or two U.S. carriers. Honor did not say if it has made progress with U.S. network operators, such as AT&T and T-Mobile.
Huawei today debuted a new red variant of the Honor 7X smartphone. Huawei is only making 20,000 units with the red color, and calls it a limited edition. It will be made available in the U.S., the U.K., Russia, India, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain before February 14. Moreover, Honor has partnered with Monster which has agreed to give the first 100 people to buy the red Honor 7X (in each country) a pair of red co-branded Honor/Monster AM-15 headphones. The Honor 7X is already available in black, blue, and gold for $199. It has a 5.9-inch screen with 2:1 aspect ratio, dual cameras, Kirin 659 processor, 3,340mAh battery, and Android 7.1 Nougat.
Huawei today announced that its Honor V10 smartphone will reach several markets beginning this week. The phone goes on sale in India, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain can pick the phone up for less than $500. The phone will land in Malaysia and Russia later this month. The V10 has a unibody aluminum chassis with smooth edges and curved glass. The display measures 5.99 inches and adopts the 2:1 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. The phone is powered by Huawei's top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor with 8 cores, 6 GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage. The V10 includes a dual-camera array on the rear. The main camera has a full-color, 16-megapixel sensor and the secondary camera has a monochrome, 20-megapixel sensor. They can tap into PDAF and the Kirin 970's neural processing unit for sharp focus and portrait photos with blurred backgrounds. Other features include a 13-megapixel selfie camera, fingerprint sensor, NFC, dual SIM cards, 3,750mAh battery, 4K video capture, Microsoft Translate, muted notifications during gaming, screen recording, face unlock, and 3.5mm headphone jack. The Honor V10 runs Android 8 Oreo with Huawei's EMUI 8 user interface on board. The V10 will be made available online, unlocked to U.S. buyers within a few months.
Nokia today said it has signed a multi-year patent licensing agreement with Huawei. Terms of the deal, including the patents in question and pricing structure, were not disclosed. Both companies make telecommunications equipment used by wireless network operators. Huawei also makes phones, while Nokia-branded handsets are made by HMD Global. "Huawei is one of China's largest companies and is among the world's leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to welcome them to our family of patent licensees," said Maria Varsellona, chief legal officer at Nokia. Nokia said the only information it will share regarding the deal will appear as licensing revenue on its quarterly earnings statements.
Synaptics today said of the five largest phone manufacturers in the world has agreed to use its Clear ID FS9500 optical, in-display fingerprint sensor. The FS9500 can scan fingerprints through the full thickness of smartphone cover glass, which means device makers can create sleek, button-free designs and still include a fingerprint reader on the front. Synaptics says the FS9500 was designed with "bezel-free infinity displays" in mind. This latest generation of Synpatics' technology can read fingerprints on wet, dry, or cold fingers, and the reader is always protected by the glass, making it durable and waterproof. Synaptics claims its sensor is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition tools, and comes and goes only when needed to authenticate the user. Synaptics didn't name the phone maker, nor did it suggest when a device with the Clear ID FS9500 might come to market. According to IDC, the top five phone makers in the third quarter of 2017 were Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi.
Google recently provided a list of Android-based wearables that have or will receive the Android 8 Oreo update. According to Google, Oreo is already available to the Fossil Q Venture, LG Watch Sport, Louis Vuitton Tambour, Michael Kors Sofie, and the Montblanc Summit. Watches that are testing Oreo include selections from Casio, Diesel, Emporio, Fossil, Guess, Huawei, Hugo Boss, LG, Michael Kors, Movado, Polar, Tag Heuer, Tommy Hilfiger, and ZTE. As always, the exact timing of the update is up to each individual manufacturer. Android 8 Oreo for Android Wear is a minor update that tweaks some notification behaviors and vibration settings, and adds new languages and notification channels for improved battery life.
Qualcomm today named the Snapdragon 845, its flagship processor for 2018. The chip supplants the Snapdragon 835 at the top of Qualcomm's line of mobile processors. The 835 is one of the most popular processors for high-end smartphones from the likes of LG, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei. The 845, announced at the Snapdragon Technology Summit, will power not only mobile phones but Windows-based laptops. Qualcomm didn't provide too many details about the chip, other than to say it will be paired with the company's X20 Gigabit LTE modem. It will target augmented reality and virtual reality applications, offer top security, improve battery life, and support faster recharging. The chip is expected to be manufactured by Samsung, relying on Samsung's 10nm process. Qualcomm is expected to share more information about the Snapdragon 845 in the days ahead. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said the company will build a flagship handset based on the Snapdragon 845 next year.
Huawei's Honor 7X and Honor V10 are compelling, affordable handsets. Both offer aluminum unibody construction, dual cameras, and 2:1 displays. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the latest from Huawei's Honor brand.
Huawei today announced the Honor V10, a flagship handset for Huawei's Honor brand. The large device takes cues from the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, though there are clear differences between them and the more affordable Honor V10. The V10 has a unibody aluminum chassis with smooth edges and curved glass. The display measures 5.99 inches and adopts the 2:1 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. The phone is powered by Huawei's top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor with 8 cores, 6 GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage. The V10 includes a dual-camera array on the rear. The main camera has a full-color, 16-megapixel sensor and the secondary camera has a monochrome, 20-megapixel sensor. They can tap into PDAF and the Kirin 970's neural processing unit for sharp focus and portrait photos with blurred backgrounds. Other features include a 13-megapixel selfie camera, fingerprint sensor, NFC, dual SIM cards, 3,750mAh battery, 4K video capture, Microsoft Translate, muted notifications during gaming, screen recording, face unlock, and 3.5mm headphone jack. The Honor V10 runs Android 8 Oreo with Huawei's EMUI 8 user interface. Pricing has not yet by released.
Huawei said its Honor 7X handset will be available to U.S. consumers beginning today. Anyone interested in the phone can pre-order it from the Honor web site. Available in black, gold, and blue, the Honor 7X costs $199 and is sold unlocked with support for GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. The 7X has an aluminum unibody chassis with 2.5D curved glass and a 5.9-inch 2:1 aspect ratio display. It is powered by Huawei's Kirin 659 processor and has dual cameras, a fingerprint reader, a 3,340mAh battery, and Cat 6 LTE. It runs Android 7 Nougat with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 user interface on board.
Google today made its monthly security patch available to some Android devices. December's patch plugs a handful of security holes. Google found a dozen or so vulnerabilities, most of which were classified as moderately dangerous, or able to execute code remotely. Google is pushing a patch dated December 5 to resolve these issues. Google said the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel C, Nexus Player, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P devices will receive the December security patches directly over the air. The factory images will be available for download from Google's developer web site shortly. As far as Google knows, none of these security holes have been exploited. Google has already supplied the patches to its handset partners.
Honor today announced the 7X, a budget-friendly handset that adopts the 18:9 aspect ratio for its screen while offering mid-range specs. The Honor 7X features a metal chassis and 2.5D curved glass on front. The screen measures 5.93 inches across the diagonal and offers full HD+ resolution. Huawei's 2.36 GHz octa-core Kirin 659 processor is under the hood with 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage. The dual-camera array on the rear features a 16-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor. Together, they can create portrait images with blurred backgrounds. An 8-megapixel selfie camera adorns the front of the phone and includes its own portrait tools and gesture controls. A 3,340mAh battery is buried in the chassis and Huawei says it supports rapid charging. The phone includes a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, though it does not include NFC. The Honor 7X runs Huawei's EMUI 5.1, based on Android 7 Nougat. It comes in blue, gold, and black. Pricing and availability was not immediately revealed. Honor is Huawei's budget brand.
Huawei is taking aim at Apple, Samsung, and LG with its latest flagship handsets, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. These high-quality devices feature stunning hardware, top specs, and table-stakes features such as fingerprint readers. Huawei is banking on its NPU-based artificial intelligence to take the phones' dual camera systems to the next level. The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro run Android 8 Oreo with EMUI 8 from Huawei to take advantage of the powerful Kirin processor. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of Hauwei's new smartphones.
Huawei today announced the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, the Chinese company's flagship smartphones heading into the end of the year. The Mate 10 (left) and Mate 10 Pro (right) are high-end devices with curved glass panels front and back, and a metal frame in between. Huawei created a distinct reflective band that runs across the rear of the phones to call out the cameras. The phones share nearly all features and primarily differ with respect to screen aspect ratio and resolution. Where the Mate 10 has a quad HD 5.9-inch LCD panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, the Mate 10 Pro has an HD+ 6-inch OLED panel with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The Mate 10's fingerprint reader is located on the front and the phone supports microSD memory cards, where the Mate 10 Pro's fingerprint reader is on the back and the phone doesn't support memory cards. The phones rely on Huawei's new Kirin 970 processor, its homegrown 8-core CPU, which includes a 12-core GPU and dedicated neural network processing unit, or NPU. The NPU is primarily put to use with the camera, where it is able to recognize objects and adjust the camera's parameters accordingly. At launch, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro will, for example, be able to recognize the difference between flowers and plants, or cats and dogs in order to more accurately capture photos. The phones feature a dual-camera system on the back with a 12-megapixel RGB sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, both at f/1.6. Some of the tools include scene recognition, bokeh, optical image stabilization, and AI-assisted focusing and zooming. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor at f/2.0. The phone will launch with Android 8 Oreo and EMUI 8, a new version of Huawei's Android skin. EMUI 8 was built to take advantage of the Kirin 970 and supports advanced split screen multitasking and a full desktop computing experience sans dock. The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro also include 4,000mAh batteries with rapid and wireless charging, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, WiFi, high-definition audio, USB-C, and high-speed LTE. The Mate 10 is available only with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, while the Mate 10 Pro is available in either a 4 GB / 64 GB or 6 GB / 128 GB configuration. Pricing and availability was not disclosed.
Google today announced the final release of Android 8.0, and also named this version "Oreo". Members of the Android Beta program will receive an update to the final version today. Nexus and Pixel users will receive the update "rolling out in phases over the next several weeks". Google has been working with all of its partners to enable updates for other phones. In the coming weeks and months, other manufacturers will roll out the update to many recent phones. By the end of the year, phones from Essential, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp and Sony will have Android 8.0 Oreo. The update includes some minor new features, such as picture-in-picture and improved auto-fill, plus many important improvements for developers and overall performance.
Huawei says its forthcoming flagship handset will be a better device than Apple's next iPhone. "We will have an even more powerful product," said Richard Yu, head of Huawei's consumer division, in an interview with Bloomberg. "The Mate 10, which has much longer battery life with a full-screen display, quicker charging speed, better photographing capability and many other features that will help us compete with Apple." Huawei is expected to reveal the Mate 10 as soon as September 2 at a press event scheduled during the IFA trade show in Berlin. At the same time, Yu said Huawei plans to exit the entry-level segment of the smartphone market. "We are giving up the very low-end devices because the margin in this is extremely low, and it’s not making enough profit for us." Moving forward, Huawei will focus on mid-range and high-end devices.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company's handset partners have new Daydream-compatible devices in the pipeline and there should be a total of 11 such phones available by the end of the year. At the moment, only four phones are able to use Google's virtual reality headsets, including the Pixel and Pixel XL, ZTE Axon 7, Motorola Z, and Huawei Mate 9. It's not clear if Pichai was including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, which are primed to receive Daydream compatibility through a software update. The figure likely does include Google's 2017 Pixel devices, whatever they may be. Daydream has certain hardware requirements, particularly where the display is concerned. For example, the display must be between 4.7 and 6 inches, must have a 60 Hz or greater refresh rate with low-persistence mode, and must have at least full HD resolution, with quad HD preferred. Companies including Motorola, HMD Global, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, and LG all have major device announcements lined up between now and early September. It is possible these forthcoming handsets will be among those supporting Google Daydream.
Huawei's latest Honor-branded handset is the Honor 9. This all-glass Android smartphone picks up where last year's Honor 8 left off. It makes some design changes, such as relocating the fingerprint reader from the rear to the front, while carrying over the dual-lens camera that Huawei has become fond of as well as the reasonable footprint of last year's phone. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the Huawei Honor 9.
Huawei today provided an in-depth look at the Honor 9, the top handset for its Honor brand. The Honor 9 picks up where the Honor 8 left off last year thanks to its curved glass and aluminum frame. The phone has a polished, mirror-like finish that resembles that of the new HTC U11. The phone comes in blue ice, glacier gray, and midnight black. The Honor 9 has a 5.15-inch full HD display and it is powered by Huawei's Kirin 960 processor with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Like some other Huawei handsets, the Honor 9 features a dual camera array on the rear. The main rear camera has a 12-megapixel sensor and it is aided by a secondary 20-megapixel sensor to help with contrast and exposure; the higher-resolution sensor also provides 2x zoom. The user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. The phone can capture up to 4K video. The Honor 9 includes standard connectivity options, such as Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and WiFi. Other features include USB-C, 3.5mm headset jack, fingerprint sensor, and a 3,200mAh battery. The phone runs Android 7 with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 on board. As for LTE, the phone supports a limited number of LTE bands, including 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, 40, and 41. This means it will not be able to access LTE service on most U.S. carriers. The Honor 9 goes on sale in Europe this summer.
Huawei's Honor brand today expanded the availability of the unlocked Honor 6X to some 460 Target retail stores across the country. Now, U.S. consumers can pick up the unlocked Android handset for $250 at their local store. The 6X has been available online since early this year. The phone was recently updated to Android 7 Nougat and Huawei's EMUI 5.0 user interface skin. The phone includes a 5.5-inch full HD screen, fingerprint reader, Kirin 655 processor, 12-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel selfie camera, and 3,340mAh battery. It supports U.S. LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 20, and 38, which makes it compatible with AT&T/Cricket, T-Mobile/MetroPCS, and Consumer Cellular. Some advanced carrier-based features may not be available.
Huawei today announced the general availability of the Watch 2 Classic. This Android 2.0 wearable is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. The Watch 2 Classic is a more conservative wearable when compared to Huawei's Watch 2 thanks to its stainless steel casing, ceramic bezel, titanium finish, and leather band. It features a 1.8-inch screen, 420mAh battery with rapid charging, and an IP68 rating for protection against water and dust. Huawei says the battery provides up to two days under normal use, 10 hours under dedicated training with GPS, and up to 21 days when in watch-only mode with pedometer. Connectivity options are limited to Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi. Huawei is selling the Watch 2 Classic in some 600 Best Buy stores, as well as online from Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, B&H, Jet, and Kohl's. The Huawei Watch 2 Classic costs $370. The sportier Huawei Watch 2 has been on sale since April.
Huawei today began updating the Honor 6X to Emotion UI 5.0 and Android 7 Nougat. The 6X, which shipped earlier this year, included EMUI 4.1 and Android 6 out of the box. Huawei's newer handsets, such as the P10, are shipping with EMUI 5.0 and Nougat. The system update brings the 6X's experience inline with Huawei's latest phones. EMUI simplifies the experience a bit, with fewer steps required to take most actions. EMUI 5.0 also runs more smoothly, is more secure, adds an app drawer options, and lets people use two account profiles within a single app. Huawei says all Honor 6X handsets should receive the update by the end of the month.
Huawei today made its new smartwatch, the Watch 2, available from various online retailers for $300. The device runs Android Wear 2.0 from Google and includes GPS, a heart rate monitor, NFC, 420 mAh battery, and a 1.2-inch AMOLED display. The Watch 2 is rated IP68 for water resistance. Huawei says the standard model can be purchased from Best Buy, Target, Jet, Walmart, B&H, and others. The company expects to bring the Watch 2 Classic to the U.S. later this year for $369. Huawei has no plans to bring the LTE variant of the Watch 2 to the U.S. right now.
Huawei hopes to tap into the feedback of power users in a way that will benefit U.S. consumers through the new Honor Beta program. The Honor Beta team will be able to test new features ahead of public release and provide feedback directly to Huawei's R&D team. Those interested in the participating can apply via the Honor brand's Facebook page. Huawei is looking for English speakers who live in the U.S. Huawei expects to review applications and then match them with specific opportunities for testing purposes. The company said those selected to participate may get to use software and hardware that's not slated to reach the market for one to two years. "Honor will explore what U.S. consumers want and adapt products and strategy each step of the way," said the company. "Honor can quickly evolve its products and strategy on a regional level. Honor Beta is one big step in preparing to lead the unlocked smartphone market of tomorrow." The Honor Beta program is accepting submissions starting today.
Huawei today announced the Honor 8 Pro, a flagship handset for its Honor brand. The phone has specs similar to the Huawei P10, but it is much larger thanks to a 5.7-inch quad HD display and 4,000mAh battery. The phone is powered by Huawei's octa-core Kirin 960 processor with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and a Mali GPU. Like many of Huawei's recent handsets, the Honor 8 Pro includes two cameras on the rear, each rated at 12 megapixels, one that captures full color and one that captures monochrome. Special shooting modes include slow-motion, time-lapse, panorama, full manual, aperture, and more. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and some of these same modes. The Honor 8 Pro runs Android 7 Nougat with EMUI 5.1. The phone includes Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi, but LTE support is limited to Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, and 40, making it only partially compatible with some U.S. LTE networks. The phone supports rapid charging and memory cards up to 128 GB. The Honor 8 Pro comes in blue, black, or gold for about $585. It will ship with a Cardboard-style VR viewer. Huawei said the phone will be made available in Europe beginning today.