Android 9 Pie rolling out to Honor View 10 in the US

The Honor View 10 is one of the very few Huawei-made devices to be available in the United States. Those of you U.S. citizens who bought the popular 2017 smartphone will likely be excited to know that EMUI 9 — based on Android 9 Pie — is rolling out to U.S. variants now.

This update is build number 9.0.0.201 (C567E6R1P12) which is specifically for the Honor View 10 model BKL-L04.

Since the update carries Android 9 Pie, it comes with the usual Pie upgrades such as adaptive battery, navigation gestures, revamped UI elements, etc. You can read all about what Pie has to offer in our roundup here.

Editor’s Pick

EMUI 9 also has some specific upgrades of its own, such as more AI features, an upgraded game optimization program, etc. Check out what EMUI 9 has to offer here.

You likely will receive an OTA notification soon which you can use to upgrade your device. However, if you want to upgrade manually, you can open the HiCare app, select Update, and then follow the on-screen prompts.

If you don’t already own an Honor View 10, the device is going for only $389 on Amazon.com right now. Click below to grab one!

Huawei’s Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9.0 rolling out globally (Update: India, too!)

huawei mate 20 pro

Update, January 11, 2019 (1:54PM EST): Honor announced that the EMUI 9.0 update is rolling out to the Honor 10, Honor View 10, and Honor Play in India. Don’t fret if you live in India and don’t get the update right away — the rollout will likely happen over the next few days and even weeks, so be patient.


Original article, December 19, 2018 (6:35PM EST): Huawei recently announced that its EMUI 9.0 Android overlay is rolling out to supported devices around the world.

In the next few days, EMUI 9.0 will roll out to the following devices:

The EMUI 9.0 update weighs around 4GB, so make sure you’re on a decent Wi-Fi connection. Those on the EMUI 9.0 beta can expect a smaller 770MB update to the stable release.

Keep in mind that the list of supported devices may grow over time. Devices like the Honor 8X, Huawei Mate 20 Lite, Honor 8C, and similarly-new Huawei and Honor devices might also get EMUI 9.0 down the road.

Based on Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9.0 uses AI to increase the system response speed by 25.8 percent. Huawei also claims that EMUI 9.0 shortens app startup by 102ms and increases overall system fluency by 12.9 percent compared to EMUI 8.1.

Editor’s Pick

EMUI 9.0 also features GPU Turbo 2.0, the next iteration of Huawei’s game optimization software. Huawei claims that GPU Turbo 2.0 lowers touch delays by 36 percent and decreases hot spots temperature by up to 3.6 degrees Celsius compared to EMUI 8.1.

You’ll also find Huawei’s versions of certain Google features in EMUI 9.0. For example, Digital Balance and HiVision take clear inspiration from Digital Wellbeing and Google Lens, respectively.

Finally, EMUI 9.0 includes a gesture-based system and a more streamlined experience that cuts the number of menus down from 940 to 843.

If you have a Huawei or Honor device that runs EMUI 9.0, let us know your experiences in the comments below!

Huawei Mate 20 Pro update brings better face unlock, more natural colors in AI mode

Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera app.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is arguably the most feature-packed smartphone in the last 12 months, offering everything from a triple camera setup to reverse wireless charging. The company has delivered several noteworthy updates too, and it’s not quite finished yet.

Huawei has just issued another update, labelled 9.0.0.171, according to GSMArena. Huawei’s new update weighs in at 482MB, so what does it bring to the table?

For starters, the company has optimized face unlock for “certain scenarios.” In plain English, this should mean facial recognition is better in tricky conditions. But the improvements go beyond facial unlocking.

Huawei has also tweaked photo quality when using the Master AI option, saying photos should now have “more natural, authentic colors.” For what it’s worth, our own Bogdan Petrovan didn’t notice a big difference between AI and non-AI shots in his Mate 20 Pro review. Nevertheless, Huawei’s camera app also lets you switch between three color modes, so you can always go for a more saturated appearance if you prefer.

Editor’s Pick

The camera tweaks don’t stop there, as Huawei has also fixed discrepancies between the preview and the actual photo, as well as the camera failing to launch in “certain scenarios.”

Finally, the Chinese manufacturer has included Google’s December 2018 security patches in the update. You might have to wait a few days or weeks to see this update, especially if you’re on a carrier version of the Mate 20 Pro.

It marks the latest in a series of updates for the late 2018 flagship. Previous updates have enabled AI Zoom, better in-display fingerprint scanning, improved photo quality, and several video-related effects.

NEXT: Xiaomi MIUI camera app teardown reveals ultra wide angle support, beauty mode for body

Best upcoming Android phones of 2019

Honor View20 screen

After a sluggish few years in the Android world, 2019 is set to be a smash-hit for smartphone fans. Folding phones are on the horizon, display hole (punch hole) cameras are coming to make displays even bigger, and goodness knows how many cameras we’re going to see.

If you want to know more about the kinds of phones you can look forward to, check out our list of the top upcoming handsets arriving in the first half of the year below.

Samsung Galaxy S10 and folding phone

Samsung’s folding phone is probably the most exciting phone we’re going to see in early 2019 — if not the whole year. We know it’s well into development, we’ve already seen how it works, but we’re yet to learn what the final product will look like and how exactly it will operate.

But it’s an exciting prospect. It’s set to include an outward-facing display as well as an inner display that can fold out into something like a small tablet. It will be unlike anything we’ve ever encountered on Android, though all that cool will come at a cost. It’s going to be expensive, so for those who want something slightly cheaper, Samsung has another potentially super handset in the works: the Galaxy S10.

Editor’s Pick

Samsung’s new S-series flagship is tipped to arrive with an Infinity-O display, as many as three rear cameras, and possibly a vibrating display for audio. There’s likely be a few variations of it too, including a Plus model and a 5G model.

Both the S10 and Samsung’s foldable phone are going to be big talking points in 2019 and the best news is we may only have a couple of months to wait before they arrive: current speculation suggests they may arrive at MWC 2019 in February.

Launch ETA: February

Samsung Foldable Phone

A render of Samsung’s folding phone prototype.

Huawei P30 and folding phone

Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer developing folding phones and phones with punch hole displays. Huawei just launched the display-hole wielding Nova 4 in mid-December, and it’s also tipped to have a folding phone out in 2019.

We don’t know exactly when — in fact, we know even less about Huawei’s folding phone than we do about Samsung’s. However, current speculation suggests it will land at MWC 2019 around the same time as Samsung’s folding phone. What a matchup that will be!

Editor’s Pick

Meanwhile, Huawei will likely release new flagship sequels to the P20 and P20 Pro, potentially called the P30 and P30 Pro. Given Huawei was among the first manufacturers to take on dual and later triple camera setups, there’s potential for the P30 Pro to adopt four rear cameras in 2019. Further, the handsets will probably use the Mate 20’s Kirin 980 chipset, just as the Huawei P20 series used the earlier Mate 10’s chipset, the Kirin 970.

Launch ETA: March

Honor View 20 and Honor 8A

The Honor View 20 (seen at the top of the page and below) will launch globally in January 21. We’ve already gotten a good look at this phone and it’s going to be one of the first to feature a punch hole display, which we expect to trend in 2019. That’s not its only interesting feature though: it’s packing a supposedly super fast charging 4,000 mAh battery and a unique design.

Honor may also launch a new phone in its budget A-series early next year, the Honor 8A. This passed through the FCC recently looking something like an iPhone 6 with a notch. It could be another budget wonder from the Huawei sub-brand.

The standard Honor View 20 launches in Chinese markets for 2,999 yuan (~$435) and you can read some of our early thoughts on it in our hands-on coverage here.

Launch ETA: Already launched (View 20), April (Honor 8A)

Honor View20 back

The Honor View 20.

OnePlus 7

From the outside, it looks like OnePlus had a very successful 2018. The Chinese firm had its best smartphone launch yet with the OnePlus 6T and secured a potentially lucrative sales partnership with T-Mobile to sell it.

Since we’re betting on more display hole cameras on 2019 flagships, we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus had one too.

The OnePlus 7 is surely in the works, and should arrive before the end of June 2019 (the OnePlus 3, 5, and 6 launched in May, June, and April respectively). Based on OnePlus’ history, there are a couple of guesses we can make about the direction the OnePlus 7 might take.

OnePlus has recently followed industry trends on display notches, headphone ports, and in-screen fingerprint sensors. Since we’re betting on more display hole cameras on 2019 flagships, we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus had one too.

Additionally, the flagship will probably have 10GB RAM or more (the OnePlus 6T McClaren has 10GB), the latest Qualcomm platform (Snapdragon 855), and cost more than the $550 OnePlus 6T. Don’t expect a OnePlus folding phone next year, though — it’s still early days for a small company like OnePlus to enter this race.

Launch ETA: May

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Google Pixel 3 Lite

Google’s Pixel phones are the darlings of Android but they’re not exactly easy on the wallet. The latest model, the Pixel 3, begins at $799, while the larger Pixel 3 XL costs $899. The good news for budget-minded folks is there’s a strong chance Google has a solution for you coming in the first half of 2019.

A couple of sources, including the typically reliable @OnLeaks, have hinted that Google is working on ‘Lite’ versions of the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL. We don’t have much to go on, but supposed render images of these suggest they’re well into development — we wouldn’t see rumors that we have for a Google Pixel phone launching next October (the usual Pixel timeframe).

The standard Pixel 3 Lite is rumored to carry a Snapdragon 670 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP main camera, and an 8MP selfie camera. The Pixel 3 Lite XL will likely offer similar specs with a larger display and battery.

Possibly most exciting of all, both of these Pixel 3s may come with a headphone port. Jackpot.

Launch ETA: Spring

A comparison between the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

The supposed Google Pixel 3 XL Lite (left) and Google Pixel 3 Lite.

91Mobiles/OnLeaks

Sony Xperia XZ4, Xperia XZ4 Compact, XA3, XA3 Ultra

Sony hasn’t announced its upcoming XZ and XA phones yet, but they’re expected early in the new year and we’ve seen a couple of recent leaks regarding them.

As interesting as the XZ and XA series look, they’re probably going to struggle without a more aggressive price strategy from Sony.

We have potential Xperia XZ4 and Xperia XZ4 Compact renders from the reliable @OnLeaks. These flagships would possibly arrive at MWC in February, seeing as the Xperia XZ2 appeared there in 2018, ahead of the XZ3 later that year. The XZ4 series phones are among the many Android’s tipped to feature triple rear cameras and Snapdragon 855 chips in 2019; the leaked renders suggest they’re going to be pretty slick.

Sony may also launch new phones in its midrange XA series this January: we’ve seen leaks concerning both the standard XA3 and the XA3 Ultra.

Sony’s smartphones are often well-regarded yet fail to capture the hearts of consumers due to several factors (steep pricing among them). As interesting as the XZ and XA series look, they’re probably going to struggle commercially without a more aggressive price strategy from Sony.

Launch ETA: February (XZ4, XZ4 Compact), January (XA3, XA3 Ultra)

An unofficial render of the Sony Xperia XZ4.

A render allegedly depicting the Sony Xperia XZ4.

MySmartPrice

Xiaomi Mi 9 and Mi Mix 3S

The Xiaomi Mi 8 was one of the most impressive phones we saw in 2018. It wasn’t necessarily the most inventive smartphone, but it was hard to argue with the specs and usability quality it offered at its price. Now, all eyes on Xiaomi to deliver again with the Mi 9.

This would no doubt be another comparatively low-cost Xiaomi phone. And probably its best yet.

The Mi 9 is said to arrive with a 6.4-inch display, Snapdragon 855 chipset, a triple rear camera, and as much as 10GB of RAM. Despite the premium spec sheet, this would no doubt be another comparatively low-cost Xiaomi phone. And probably its best yet.

Meanwhile, rumors are already circulating about Xiaomi’s next major Mi Mix device. The Mi Mix 4 would also apparently feature a Snapdragon 855 and triple camera setup; however, it’s possible the speculation regarding this phone actually relates to the Mi Mix 3S.

The Mi Mix 2S arrived last April as an upgraded version of the Mix 2, featuring an upgraded chipset and an extra camera on the back. As the Mix 3 arrived with a Snapdragon 845 and dual rear cameras, one might expect the Mix 3S to feature the aforementioned upgrades. As for whether the next major Mi Mix phone will fold — as has been hinted at — we doubt it, though the series is known for its progressive display efforts.

ETA: June (Mi 9). Spring (Mi Mix 3S).

A supposed render of the Xiaomi Mi 9.

A supposed render of the Xiaomi Mi 9.

Pocket-Lint

HMD Global Nokia 9 PureView

HMD Global has done brilliant things with the Nokia brand since it acquired it a couple of years ago now and the Nokia 9 PureView might be its most anticipated device yet. We’ve encountered numerous leaks about the phone (though HMD hasn’t announced it), the latest of which included a leaked video offering some potential specs.

Editor’s Pick

The Nokia 9 is set to come with a 6-inch, 2K, HDR 10 display, Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage space, and an in-display fingerprint sensor.

It’s a compelling specs sheet, but it’s the rear of the handset that’s causing the biggest stir, as it’s set to come with five cameras. While these may not necessarily lead to best-ever smartphone photo quality, they should offer some neat tricks, as well as superior low-light performance.

Launch ETA: January

A leaked render of the Nokia 9 PureView.

91Mobiles/OnLeaks

LG G8 ThinQ and LG folding phone

LG is another OEM which tends to release an H1 flagship and it’s possible we’ll see the LG G8 ThinQ before July next year (if indeed it will be called that).

Twitter leaker Ice Universe (@UniverseIce) tips it for a 4K LCD display and, as a major TV manufacturer, LG is likely to put an impressive screen on its flagship phone. Whether or not that truly means 4K resolution we’ll have to wait and see.

Editor’s Pick

We haven’t heard much else about this phone yet; however, LG has confirmed it’s working on another major handset you may be interested in.

LG says it has a folding phone already in development but also that it won’t be first to market with such a product. If Samsung or Huawei produce a foldy by February, that would put the phone’s release more than a couple of months away. With that in mind, ever-reliable leaker Evan Blass suggests it might be unveiled in January.

Launch ETA: June (LG G8 ThinQ), January (Folding phone)

LG V40 vs LG V30 close up of camera lenses

The LG V30 (left) and LG V40 (right).

Lenovo Z5 Pro GT, Moto Z4, and Moto G7 series

Lenovo has already announced the Z5 Pro GT and it looks like an incredible handset from the off. The sliding phone packs up to 12GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 855 chip, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and four cameras.

Best of all, it has a near bezel-less, notch-free, 6.4-inch display.

The Z5 Pro is also relatively well-priced in China, the 12GB of RAM + 512GB ROM model costs 4,398 Chinese yuan (~$635). This one may not see a wider release though.

Best of all, it has a near bezel-less, notch-free, 6.4-inch display.

Other notable upcoming phones under Lenovo’s watch include the rumored Moto Z4 (codenamed Odin), which may launch with a 5G Moto mod and Snapdragon 855, and the Moto G7 range of low-cost handsets. The standard G7 variant is said to come with a 6-inch, Full HD+ display, 64GB of internal storage, and dual 16MP + 5MP rear cameras.

Launch ETA: Already launched (Z5 Pro GT), H1, (Moto Z4), April (Moto G7 series)

An official promotional image of the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT.

An upgraded HTC U12 Plus?

HTC’s Taiwan president recently spoke about the direction of its next phones, and it looks like we may not get a true HTC U12 Plus successor in the first half of next year.

Apparently, HTC’s current plan is to “extend” the U12 Plus range. Though HTC didn’t give us any further details on that when we reached out to it, it could mean a slightly upgraded U12 Plus is set for H1 next year.

Launch ETA: H1 2019


This isn’t a comprehensive list of upcoming Android phones, just a taste of what’s to come in 2019. Let us know if we’ve missed any big ones and tell us the handset you’re most excited for in the comments.

Honor 10 Lite hands-on: The budget selfie king?

Last month, we reviewed the Honor 10. The device was admirable for something that only costs 399 euros (~$453), bringing last year’s flagship Kirin 970 processor, plenty of RAM and storage, and a high resolution camera.

The phone brought quite a lot of value to the mid-range market, but Honor is looking to introduce an option for those on an even tighter budget.

We just got our hands on the Honor 10 Lite, and here are our first impressions.

Honor 10 lite rear

Related:

The Honor 10 Lite is definitely a flashy device. While it comes in standard black and silver colors that shimmer in Honor’s classic “Aurora” pattern, there’s also now a sky blue option which transitions from a light baby blue at the bottom to silver at the top. I think it looks quite good.

However, it’s proven to be a fingerprint magnet during the time I’ve had with it.

Honor 10 lite standing back

There is a fingerprint reader nested in the top third of the device with a 13MP and 2MP dual-camera setup sitting to the top left. These sensors have apertures of f/1.8 and f/2.4 respectively. The 13MP sensor is the primary camera while the second is primarily used for depth sensing.

The glass on the back feels fairly premium, but the aluminum sides feel a bit cheap. It’s also fairly light at 162 grams.

Honor 10 lite screen notch
Honor 10 lite chin

The Honor 10 Lite has a 6.21-inch 1080p LCD display with a small waterdrop-style notch design. This notch houses a 24MP selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture. It can recognize up to eight different selfie scenarios and react appropriately, adding things like color adjustments and skin smoothing. It also offers multiple different studio lighting modes.

The screen isn’t incredibly disappointing, but it does make it clear that this isn’t a flagship device. There is a noticeable difference in quality between this panel and the Honor 10. Even though the colors are quite deep and punchy, the display feels almost matte, and could definitely be sharper.

Honor 10 lite micro usb
Honor 10 lite headphone jack
Honor 10 lite bottom

The clear sign this is a budget device comes in the form of a MicroUSB port on the bottom of the phone. A single bottom-firing speaker and a headphone jack sit on either side of the port. The headphone jack seems to have become a budget feature, but I’m very glad to see it included nonetheless.

The other budget giveaway is the phone’s specs. The Honor 10 Lite is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 710 mobile chipset, 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This won’t come close to competing with Huawei’s flagship Kirin 980 or even last year’s Kirin 970, though the octa-core processor should perform decently for everyday tasks. However, we’ll have to wait to review the device in full before we can make a final verdict. There is a microSD card slot in the device, which can expand the total storage capacity up to 512GB.

Honor 10 lite screen

The Honor 10 Lite runs on EMUI 9.1, based on Android 9 Pie. EMUI has quite a controversial user interface — most people either love it or hate it. The phone comes with standard Android soft keys and no app drawer, but users can toggle on gesture navigation and even enable the app drawer if they want.

We won’t have official European pricing for the device until it officially launches in the U.K., but the phone costs 799 dirham in the United Arab Emirates, about 192 euros or $217. That’s about half the cost of the Honor 10, so this could be a great option for fans of the company with a bit tighter budget.

What are your thoughts on the Honor 10 Lite? Is it the budget device you’ve been waiting for?

Let us know!

Huawei troubles poised to land on US industry

The Huawei logo.

Huawei is in deep trouble. It might not quite be ZTE levels of trouble, but the winds are swirling.

I’ve written about Huawei’s security and telecommunication equipment problems before. Add in trade wars and criminal allegations, and you’re almost caught up.

Previously I’ve tried to get to the bottom of security issues with Huawei, but the exact secrets have never quite been revealed. The Five Eyes nations firmly believe Huawei is more or less a proxy for the Chinese state, but the public hasn’t seen verifiable proof.

Things are changing. The arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, in Canada occurred on Dec. 1. The public wasn’t aware of her detention until Friday, December 7th.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou is cataclysmic. You may have seen the headlines about Beijing’s fury, threats to Canada, and furor, but it hasn’t taken legal action, as you might have well expected.

The situation currently surrounding Huawei has major implications for worldwide 5G rollout.

Here’s how the South China Morning Post described the aftermath of the arrest:

“The shocked tone rings false. If China’s ambassador to Canada was really so sure Meng’s arrest was wrong, he could have filed a writ of habeas corpus to have her brought immediately before a court to determine the lawfulness of her detention. He did not.”

Meng was eventually freed on a $7.5m bail, and must wear an ankle bracelet along with paying for 24/7 security to ensure she does not attempt to flee Canada, as an extradition hearing is set up. Meng was also forced to surrender all passports and travel documents.

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to pursue investigations that Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. While non-U.S. companies are free to deal with Iran — Samsung sells smartphones to Iranians — they can’t sell U.S. technologies like Intel or Qualcomm chipsets or modems. A similar breach of sanctions saw ZTE barred from using U.S. companies’ technology — something later watered down to fines after reported intervention from the White House.

Any such ban would be devastating for Huawei’s business. Of Huawei’s reported 92 core suppliers, 33 are U.S. corporations, including chip makers such as Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Micron.

Any ban on Huawei utilizing U.S. technology, would cause serious issues for the company’s handsets and 5G technology. Huawei manufactures more of its own chips, including an award-winning processor but this could still cripple it. Huawei is largely a symbol of China’s success, both domestically and abroad.

For us, we need to imagine if Tim Cook or Sundar Pichai were arrested in China. The uproar would be immense, and many would feel China would be overreaching.  In this case, the U.S. involving Canada adds a third party, and Canadians may be anxious about retaliation from Beijing having been caught up in the Huawei mess.

Additionally, the U.S. is still pressuring its allies to avoid Huawei telecommunications equipment. Japan is the latest country to exclude both Huawei and ZTE from the 5G network rollout. BT in the UK also recently decided to bar Huawei equipment from its 5G rollout, and remove existing Huawei 4G infrastructure as well.

Why?

Spy agencies come in from the cold

Five Eyes world map

We know that the Five Eyes (U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand — often abbreviated FVEY) attorneys general met this year from an Australian government release later removed from a Home Affairs website, though you can read it here.

Then came a rare set of speeches by top intelligence chiefs. These were significant, even if the words were moderate and indirect.

On Oct. 29, the first ever public speech was made by head of the Australian Signals Directorate Mike Burgess, following Australia’s ban on Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks:

These twin themes of technological and strategic economic shifts can be seen in the government’s recent decision to prohibit telecommunications carriers from using high-risk vendors in 5G networks.

This decision, which was not taken lightly, was supported by technical advice from my agency, all elements of my agency. Our intelligence and offensive cyber experts that led the formation of our cyber security advice. Offence informs defence.

Then came the second-ever public speech by an MI6 boss, Alex Younger on Dec. 3, who sounded a general warning over technology:

But I have also witnessed the damage new technologies can do in the hands of a skilled opponent unrestrained by any notion of law or morality, as well as the potentially existential challenge the data age poses to the traditional operating methods of a secret intelligence agency.

We and our allies face a battle to make sure technology works to our advantage, not to that of our opponents.

“We need to decide the extent to which we re going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a quite definite position,” Younger said in later comments reported by the BBC.

Three days later, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s top spy, David Vigneault, gave his first public speech.

“Plainly said: there is state-sponsored espionage in Canada,” said Vigneault.

None of these spymasters mentioned Huawei or ZTE, but you don’t need to have beaten an Escape Room game to understand the warnings.

Then from the top echelon of the U.S. seat of power came the hugely significant speech by Vice President Mike Pence, a truly extraordinary attack on China at The Hudson Institute. Hostile and directly mentioning China no less than 91 times in remarks heard around the world.

How much does hurting Huawei hurt US networks and allies?

Huawei is banned from involvement with 5G rollout in the U.S., Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada may follow suit, with a former prime minister calling for the same limitation. Huawei remains active with 20 5G contracts with other major carriers, and it’s actively involved in 5G rollout and testing in the U.K., despite spy chief concerns.

At the very least, carriers in countries banning Huawei will have a more expensive and difficult rollout of 5G technology. That means consumers will have to wait longer and pay more for 5G when it becomes available. Countries will have to rely on Swedish giant Ericsson and Finnish Nokia, a two-horse race for most major wireless bands. Samsung is a contender in mmWave very high spectrum bands only.

Any country banning Huawei will have a more difficult rollout of 5G technology.

This will likely mean slower U.S. uptake of 5G wireless. We’re already seeing test environments in some major urban centers, but significant 5G penetration outside of major cities soon is unlikely.

The U.S. has legitimate concerns about the importance of 5G infrastructure. 5G will, in as little as two or three years, take over from even wired installations where the traditional routing of major voice and data takes place. Significant and nationwide telecommunications infrastructure could be at risk to Chinese influence, however small, and however much Huawei protests its innocence.

The next major act of significance will be the outcome of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition, and the response from China. For now, China is incensed, but not retaliating. If that changes, U.S. lag on 5G infrastructure could be the least of its worries.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro update brings better camera quality, faster biometric unlocking

A photo of a man holding the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

  • The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has received another system update, coming in at 523MB.
  • Notable changes include better face unlock, faster fingerprint unlocking, and better photo quality.
  • Huawei’s update also includes the November 2018 security patches.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro already received a meaty update over a month ago, but the Chinese brand isn’t finished for the year, as it’s delivered another significant update.

The update, listed as version 9.0.0.142 (build number C316E11R1P16), weighs in at 523MB and made its way to our personal device. And it brings plenty of improvements to the table.

A Mate 20 Pro system update notification.
A Mate 20 Pro system update notification.

For starters, Huawei has improved face unlock performance in “certain scenarios,” while the in-display fingerprint sensor should be faster too.

Other noteworthy tweaks include improved photo quality, better positioning in Google Maps, and a bug fix for Google Messages not displaying a notification badge. Finally, the update also brings Google’s November 2018 security patches.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei’s phone is probably the most feature-packed device of 2018, delivering a triple-camera setup, IP68 water/dust resistance, reverse wireless charging, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. In fact, our own Bogdan Petrovan said “you won’t find a more desirable phone on the market right now” in his Mate 20 Pro review.

The stacked list of features wasn’t enough for the device to win our smartphone of the year award though, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 walked away with the gong. Nevertheless, Huawei’s device earned awards in the performance and battery categories.

NEXT: 15 best local multiplayer games for Android

Honor to launch mystery smartphone with display hole camera on January 22

  • Honor has sent out invites to a new smartphone launch on January 22, 2019 in Paris.
  • Honor says the phone is coming with a Kirin 980 chip and “in-screen camera display.”
  • The smartphone’s name wasn’t announced.

Honor will launch its first smartphone with a display hole camera in Paris on Jan. 22, 2019. The manufacturer sent out invites to the event earlier today, though it stopped short of naming the handset.

The display hole camera approach puts a phone’s front camera (or cameras) in a floating island within the screen, rather than within the bezel or notch like on previous smartphones. It’s the evolution of the much-maligned notch, before under-display solutions arrive, though it may prove similarly divisive.

The front camera will be located at the top-left of the smartphone, as can be seen in the image below (where the moon is).

An Honor press invite to a smartphone launch showing a night-time Paris scene inside a smartphone.

Other Android manufacturers are expected to use this type of display design on their smartphones throughout 2019, including Samsung with its Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. However, Huawei — which owns the Honor brand — will have a smartphone with such a display arriving within the next two weeks with the Nova 4.

Little else is known about Honor’s mystery phone, though the company said it would launch with a Kirin 980 chipset — Huawei’s latest flagship SoC. You can find out more details on the chipset at the previous link but it suggests the new Honor will be a premium device.

Editor’s Pick

Honor may be launching this new handset in Europe but it’s calling the event a “global” product launch. Presumably, the phone will be available in India and China around the same time.

As a final note, Honor actually referred to the phone’s panel as an “in-screen camera display,” which might sound like another way of saying under-display camera. Given where this technology seems to be at currently at, though, I strongly doubt Honor is going to be first to launch this on January 22; it’s almost certainly referring to an Infinity-O-like display hole as described.

Samsung sees biggest smartphone sales decline since Gartner started tracking it

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

  • Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo all saw growth in smartphone sales in Q3 2018, according to Gartner.
  • The tracking firm says that global sales would’ve declined by 5.2 percent without Huawei and Xiaomi.
  • Samsung saw its biggest sales decline since Gartner started tracking global smartphone sales.

Huawei and Xiaomi were almost solely responsible for smartphone sales growing in Q3 2018, according to Gartner’s latest figures.

Gartner research director Anshul Gupta claimed that global smartphone sales would’ve been down 5.2 percent if Huawei and Xiaomi’s results were removed from the list.

The tracking firm found that Huawei firmly held on to its number two spot, hitting 13.4 percent market-share or just over 52.2 million units sold to consumers. This compared to Q3 2017’s figure of 9.5 percent market-share, or 36.5 million units sold.

Gartner's Q3 2018 smartphone sales figures. Gartner

Meanwhile, Xiaomi saw a more modest jump from seven percent market-share (26.85 million units sold) in Q3 2017 to 8.5 percent (33.2 million units) in Q3 2018. Fifth-placed Oppo was the only other brand in the top five to see its market-share increase, from 7.7 percent (29.4 million units sold) to 7.9 percent (30.56 million units).

Samsung took first place once again, but it suffered its biggest decline since Gartner started tracking global smartphone sales. The company went from 22.3 percent market-share (85.6 million units sold) in Q3 2017 to 18.9 percent (73.36 million units) in Q3 2018.

Editor’s Pick

The pressure will be on Samsung to turn things around in 2019, as Huawei and Xiaomi eat away at its market-share. The South Korean firm is facing pressure from Huawei in particular, as the Chinese brand previously stated its intentions to grab the number one spot by Q4 2019.

Samsung has also acknowledged what it calls a “crisis” at its mobile division, but pointed to the Galaxy S10 and foldable phones as opportunities for a comeback. Nevertheless, Gartner research director Roberta Cozza reckons that the first wave of foldable phones will be expensive and have usability trade-offs.

Do you think Samsung can claw back market-share from Huawei? Give us your answer in the comments below!

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Confirmed: Huawei Nova 4 with circular camera cutout set for December 17 launch

huawei nova 4 samsung camera cutout WinFuture.de

  • The Huawei Nova 4 will be revealed on December 17, according to Huawei’s Weibo account.
  • Huawei’s latest phone is poised to offer a circular camera cutout in the screen.
  • Other manufacturers are also working on phones with this particular camera cutout.

The Huawei Nova 4 has been teased by the Chinese company for a couple of weeks now, featuring a circular camera cutout instead of the dreaded notch. Fortunately, it looks like the teasing won’t be going on for too long.

Huawei revealed a December 17 launch date for the device on its Weibo account (as spotted by MySmartPrice). This means the company is likely going to be first to launch a phone with the unique camera cutout.

A teaser for the Huawei Nova 4. Huawei

We don’t know much else about the new phone, save for a leaked image which purportedly showed a headphone jack. The Nova phones usually pack mid- to upper mid-range specifications, so don’t be surprised if a Kirin 710 or Kirin 980 chipset is in the Huawei Nova 4.

The Nova 3 sports two selfie cameras, but the Nova 4’s circular camera cutout seems rather tiny. So we’d expect Huawei’s new phone to only offer a solitary selfie camera. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Google shows us there’s still plenty you can do with a single camera.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei isn’t the only company set to launch a phone with a circular camera cutout, as Samsung revealed its take on the technology last month (calling it an Infinity-O Display). Additionally, serial Samsung tipster Ice Universe reckons that the Galaxy A8s will be the first Samsung phone with the technology.

More recently, a leaked video has apparently shown off a Lenovo phone with a circular camera cutout too. And with a spate of slider phones in recent months, it looks like the mobile industry is desperately looking for alternatives to the notch.

NEXT: Google Play names 2018’s best apps, games, movies, TV shows, and more