Huawei unveils P40 smartphones online as coronavirus thwarts launch event

LONDON (Reuters) – China's Huawei Technologies on Wednesday unveiled its new P40 smartphones focused on iconic photography, in an online presentation after the coronavirus destroyed the event it had planned.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is depicted at the IFA consumer technology fair in Berlin, Germany, on September 6, 2019. REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke / File Photo

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Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, showed three smartphones in an online broadcast: the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro +, which have triple, quad and penta camera configurations and "overflow" displays "that curve at the four ends of the screen. the devices.

Huawei is at the forefront of camera technology, and Yu said the P40 series raised the bar again, with a smartphone's largest camera sensor, up to 10-fold optical zoom and advanced artificial intelligence.

The company's hardware won applause from critics.

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However, European consumers' appetite for their latest smartphones has been affected by shutdowns imposed in many countries to combat the spread of coronavirus and the absence of Google mobile services on new Huawei devices after a ban imposed by the United States last year .

The U.S. claims that Huawei is involved in activities that undermine its national security, a charge the company denies.

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The coronavirus pandemic has increased smartphone sales forecasts, with stores closed across Europe and the global economy facing a sharp downturn.

Yu, however, was positive on both fronts.

"I hope the P40 series can still sell very, very well globally," he told reporters via video link.

He said the coronavirus was under control in China and Huawei's manufacturing accelerated again.

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“The situation is good; more and more people return to work and shopping, ”he said. “Every government can learn from China, so I hope the coronavirus is under control very quickly.

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"I'm looking forward to it, so I'm still positive."

He also said that more developers are contributing to Huawei's own ecosystem. "Most of the most popular applications will be integrated into the core of HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) and will be on the AppGallery," he said. "This is improving very, very quickly."

Huawei still wanted to continue to partner with Google, he said, but added: "There is no other choice, we have to do that."

Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said that P40 smartphones combine the best performance of hardware technology and advanced AI photography software.

But while the company was accelerating its efforts to work with publishers, app developers and brands, it was still far from convincing consumers in Europe that the AppGallery was a replacement for the Google Play Store.

And he said that it really didn't matter how different the product was, the challenge for the coming months would be to adapt to the economic crisis.

"If the Chinese economy is starting to slowly return to normal, it goes without saying that premium smartphones will not sell well in Q2 and Q3 in most countries," he said.

The P40 and P40 Pro will be available from April 7 in Europe at a price of 799 euros and 999 euros, respectively, while the P40 Pro + will follow a few months later at a price of 1,399 euros.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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