Gene Jiao during launch of Huawel P20 Series at Multaqa Al Adwa — Central Atrium of City Walk. He said after the launch that this year is the turning point for Huawei with the P20 Pro. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Huawei is bringing innovation into the camera segment and it can be evidently seen on the P20 Pro which was launched in Dubai on Wednesday.

The third largest smartphone manufacturer is also the third vendor to come with a 40MP rear camera after Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41MP and PureView’s 40MP but with a difference.

The Chinese manufacturer, for the first time, has come out with triple rear cameras on its P20 Pro in a bid to take on Samsung S9 Plus and iPhone X.

Lenovo came out with triple camera features on its Phab 2 Pro in 2016 and it is not going to be the end. There are rumours that even Apple is planning the same triple-camera features on its next flagships next year.

Gene Jiao, President of Huawei Consumer Business Group for Middle East and Africa, told Gulf News after the launch that this year is the turning point for Huawei and with P20 Pro.

“We are confident that people will accept Huawei for its innovation and the products we bring to the market. We have improved the artificial intelligence features on the Kirin 970 chip set and strengthened our leading position in camera capability,” he said.

He said that the American and Korean manufactures launched the dual cameras last year but “we launched it on P9 in 2016. They were not ready with the camera technology but we have gone one step further with three cameras. The triple-camera technology is more sophisticated as the focal points of all the three cameras have to be positioned right on the object always.”

Appetite for innovation

In 2011, LG launched Optimus 3D and HTC with Evo 3D with dual cameras. After that, many vendors joined the bandwagon.

Jiao said that tech-savvy consumers in the region have a huge appetite for innovative technology that offers increasingly intelligent and seamless solutions for their busy lives.

Quoting the DxOMark report, he said that P20 Pro got an overall score of 109 points and for the first time a brand has crossed the 100 mark.

“P20 Pro is rated as the best camera phone and it will be the benchmark for many years,” Jiao said

DxOMark measures the performance of a camera’s lens and sensor. Higher scores indicate better overall camera quality.

Last year, Google’s Pixel 2 was the best camera phone with 98 points while iPhone X had 97 points. This year, Samsung’s S9 Plus got 99 points while Huawei’s P20, which is not launched in the region, got 102 points.

Regarding the P20 launch in the region, Jiao said that it will be available only in South Africa.

“This year we have launched too many models and we don’t want to overcrowd our product portfolio. Our major focus for this region is models above $600,” he said.

According to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall GCC mobile phone market is expected to decline 4.3 per cent year on year this year.

Challenging conditions

The UAE and Saudi Arabian markets are expected to suffer year-on-year declines of 8.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively, due to challenging macroeconomic conditions, policy changes and implementations of VAT (value added tax), and pressure on financing.

IDC expects the GCC market to start its recovery in the following years, with the YoY growth of 2.8 per cent slated for 2019, followed by 9.7 per cent in 2020.

“2017 was a good year for us but our mid-tier devices were not ready to take on rivals. But this year, we are ready with our mid-tier devices like Honor Nova 3e. We launched Nova series last year and it was well accepted by the Middle East and African markets with an affordable price point. Surprisingly, we are not impacted by VAT. We had a very good first quarter,” he said.

Jiao said that there is still a demand for devices with $600 and above but the entry-level devices such as below $100 are taking a hit because these Android devices have 1GB RAM.

“If you need to have the latest OS and the best user experience, you need at least 5GB of RAM. We registered more than 30 per cent year-on-year growth in the first quarter. We expect at least 30 per cent growth in volume this year,” he said.

In 2017, Huawei sold 153 million units globally compared to 139 million in 2016.

Factbox: A summary of the P20 Pro

The P20 Pro is a 6.1-inch OLED display powered by the home-grown artificial intelligence-powered Kirin 970 processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM.

The top camera is 8MP telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.4 and three times zoom function, 40MP colour camera with an aperture of f/1.8 and a focal length of 28mm, and 20MP monochrome lens with f/1.6 aperture.

Usually, a chip set has a CPU (central processing unit) and a GPU (graphics processing unit) but Huawei is adding an NPU (neural processing unit) to the chip set for AI. An NPU is a chip with a redesigned instructure that mimics a human brain.

The 8MP camera sensor supports OIS while the 40MP and 20MP lenses support artificial intelligence stabilisation (AIS) to reduce the shaking of the camera when zooming. All the rear cameras on both devices are engineered by Leicester.