Update: July 22, 2021 (12:37 p.m. ET): We updated this hub with official launch details and rumors about the camera setup, as well as the global release of the Huawei P50 series. Read on for all the latest information.
Original article: Huawei’s growth collapsed under the various pressures in 2020. Even so, the Chinese manufacturer has big plans for 2021. While US sanctions against the company show no signs of subsiding, the company is on the verge of launching the Huawei P50 series – the newest family of phones in the company’s flagship line.
As with the Huawei P40 range and previous iterations of the P range, we expect great camera performance and battery life from the P50 range. But what else could we see?
Contrary to the change in naming conventions we saw with the Samsung Galaxy S21, there is little debate about how Huawei will refer to this flagship. The company confirmed the P50 name during its product launch in June.
While the company didn’t say that much, we could see a three-tier model approach that has become common at Huawei. This would include a Standard Model, a Pro Model, and possibly a higher quality Pro Plus variant as well. However, so far, leaks have only pointed to the Standard and Pro models.
The official release date for the Huawei P50 series is July 29th. Huawei’s P-Series was traditionally launched in late March, but now we’re way beyond that. At this point in time, Huawei is operating without a set of rules, so this phone series could be delayed further to August until the market launch in July.
Since Huawei is still under US ban, we did not expect a widespread international release of the P50 series as it will not come on board with Google Mobile Services (GMS). According to official confirmation from the company (via GSMArena) the phones are actually being introduced worldwide. The phones run Huawei’s Harmony OS internationally, just like their Chinese counterparts.
Huawei P50 series: design
The first alleged and vague image of the P50 Pro was leaked in January. While it gave us a good idea of its shape, it didn’t show off many of the phone’s design features. On March 10th, we finally took a look at the design of the Huawei P50 Pro.
These renderings spilled by Steve Hemmerstoffer indicate a centrally mounted selfie camera cutout with a curved display. On the back, the phone has a huge pill-shaped camera hump – much larger than the P40 series. This could be evidence of a much larger camera sensor. On closer inspection, an IR blaster also shows up, but there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.
Renderings of the standard P50 leaked again via inhibitors a day later. These renderings present the phone in a silver color scheme with a flat display and an equally large camera bump. The IR blaster is also used here, but the headphone jack is also missing here.
At the aforementioned product launch in June, Huawei did everything right and just showed us the Huawei P50. As expected, the phone matches the Hemmerstoffer renderings quite well.
Huawei showed us:
This picture gives us a great look at the quad lens setup on the back of the phone (which appears to be the Pro Plus model). Unfortunately, Huawei didn’t have any other pictures to share with us.
Huawei P50 Series: Specifications and Features
Remaining US sanctions may still be a thorn in the side of Huawei, but we still expect the P50 series to offer outstanding hardware. In October 2020, the company received permission to source some key components. These include camera sensors from Sony and Omnivision and screens from Samsung Display. According to reports, Huawei is now also allowed to resume some chip purchases.
Processor, RAM, etc.
Huawei’s newest P-series model usually shares important internals with the previous Mate series. Expect the P50 range to borrow some of the Huawei Mate 40 range of hardware. While some reports suggested that the 5G-enabled Kirin 9000 would be the last high-end Kirin in a Huawei flagship, that may not be true. The Huawei P50 series can also be equipped with the SoC. If the Kirin 9000 is at the heart of the P50 range, the 5nm chipset will be a big step up for NPU and CPU performance over the Kirin 990-powered P40.
It’s worth noting that Huawei was unable to produce Kirin 9000 chipsets after the US tightened restrictions on partners like TSMC. So if Huawei sticks to its in-house flagship processors, it won’t have many on offer. This, combined with the ongoing global chip shortage, could therefore result in very few devices compared to the P40 and Mate 30 series.
There are also rumors suggesting that the standard P50 could come with a 4G version of the Snapdragon 888 chipset.
In terms of storage and RAM, the base Huawei P40 arrived with 128 GB UFS 3.1 with 8 GB RAM. We don’t expect Huawei to reduce the available memory on the P50 series, but the amount of memory is currently unknown.
Earlier this year, Xiaomi introduced the Mi 11 Ultra with a huge 1-inch camera sensor. Because Huawei’s P-series is so focused on imaging, it is possible that we could see a P50-series phone with this huge sensor. Group CEO Richar Yu has indicated that the series will bring “new mobile imaging technology”.
A teaser for the series (via ITHome) revealed the key specifications of the P50 Pro’s camera setup. The phone’s camera setup was shown with the lettering – Leica VARIO-SUMMILUX-H1: 1.8-3.4 / 18-125ASPH, matching the aperture and focal length of the P40 Pro and Mate 40 Pro. This means that the phone has a 5X telephoto lens as well as an 18mm ultra wide angle sensor.
Let’s stick with camera technology, a rumor late last year said Huawei and Leica had ended their partnership. However, the Chinese manufacturer said Android authority that this is “absolutely fake news”. So it sounds like Leica cameras are still on the menu this year. For what it’s worth, the Leica branding appears on the leaked renders earlier in this article.
Will it run Android?
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Huawei confirmed in September 2020 that Harmony OS will be available on smartphones from 2021. While the company is currently deploying Android-based EMUI 11 on its devices, that could end with the P50 series.
According to a report from China Sina Tech, the Huawei P50 series is to be “officially” equipped with Harmony OS. Huawei recently unveiled Harmony OS 2.o during its June launch, a list of compatible devices that spans most of its smartphone lineup dating back years. Hence, seeing Harmony OS on the P50 series is a safe bet.
Regardless of whether it hits the market with EMUI 11 or Harmony OS, there is little chance that the P50 series will be equipped with Google Mobile Services or Google apps due to the ongoing sanctions.
Huawei P50 series: pricing and availability
Huawei has primarily served its home market, especially in recent years. There may be a delay in rollout in Europe or other regions. Even then, the phone series itself may be hard to come by. The phones are rumored to hit the market sometime in August after their July 29th launch.
As for pricing, we can make some hopeful predictions based on the P-Series’ track record. Huawei stayed at the same price for the P40 and P30 lines. The base models P30 and P40 both cost 799 euros, while the base models P30 Pro and P40 Pro started at 999 euros. The P40 Pro also has twice as much storage space as its predecessor.
Given Huawei’s efforts to maintain its global market share, we expect the company to once again maintain this pricing structure. It may even be that these prices are lowered a bit, which makes the P50 series a more attractive proposition compared to the competition.
That’s all we know about the Huawei P50 series so far. Make sure to bookmark this article and check back frequently so you are always up to date with the latest news.
Next: Huawei P40 Pro revised: should you still buy it?