With the ban brought about by the Trump administration on Huawei, which began sometime in May this year, market experts feel that it is high time Huawei stepped up its game to get back in the race as one of the top smartphone makers in the world. The ban followed claims by US intelligence that Huawei was allegedly passing on users’ information to the Chinese Government. It subsequently led to American companies like Google and Qualcomm having to stop dealing with Huawei, which has made Huawei’s future in American and European markets kind of shaky. While the ban means that Huawei phones will no longer have Facebook or Android OS, or even Google apps like Maps and PlayStore for that matter, Huawei is still allowed to use US-based hardware and software in its phones for the time being while negotiations are underway.
However, Huawei has already prepared itself for the worst seemingly well. The brand has announced an upcoming OS of its own that would rival Google’s Android, although it seems a bit unlikely, that they will be able to pull off what has taken Google over a decade to develop, in such a short time. The most anticipated phone in any scenario is going to be the upcoming P40, the latest addition to Huawei’s renowned P series. As of now, a lot is being said about the Huawei P40 phones online, but not much has been confirmed yet. If the rumors are to be believed, the phone will hit the global market with 5G connectivity next year in all likelihood. Here’s everything that we have heard about the phone so far.
There isn’t going to be any major change in terms of design from its predecessor. It’s being rumored that the most significant design changes in the P40 will be the camera upgrades and little tidbits here and there. But even then, we don’t think it’s much of a bad design given that the P30 is one of the best-designed phones available in 2019 with its renowned ‘sandwich’ design. The sandwich design feature consists of a Gorilla Glass affixed to the rear side of an aluminum frame, which has a high-resolution screen mounted on its front side.
Although no sources have confirmed whether or not the P40 will retain the sandwich design concept, some claim that Huawei will make some basic changes in the shape of the phone. Its corners will be squared off like the Samsung Galaxy Note series’ latest models, making the sleek design comfortable to hold. Huawei may also bid farewell to the notch display with the P40, and it’ll be interesting to see whether they opt for a pop-up front camera setup or an under-screen one. Even though that’s about all the major design upgrades on the P40, it wouldn’t matter to the users so much since the P30 already has a very sleek and slim design that received a great response from users and critics alike this year.
It has been rumored for a long time now that the P in the P series stands for Photography — and that’s tough to believe given the track record of the P series at Camera innovation. Huawei has remarkably stepped up the Camera game with the Pro variants to every edition of the P series so far. There have been recent rumors online that the Huawei P40 Pro will come with a Penta-lens camera setup similar to that of the Nokia 9 PureView, which has been developed in collaboration with the German camera company Leica. The Penta-lens setup will have 5 sensors, over the current 4 sensor setup on the P30. However, the phone may be arranged in a periscope-like configuration similar to the P30 Pro, which facilitates a smooth 10X optical zoom that bagged the title of the Best Camera smartphone of 2019 (at that time) for the P30 pro.
Apart from all this, Huawei will certainly make major software changes on the camera. The Master AI that made a debut with the Huawei P20 received major updates in the Huawei P30, and it will be interesting to see more such upgrades in the Huawei P40.
The Huawei P40 and Huawei P40 Pro will most likely come with a great, high-resolution screen, given how the brand has stuck with the Full HD+ display so far. By the time Huawei P40 launches, it will be 2020, and the old Full HD+ display just won’t do for users when the likes of OnePlus are offering super AMOLED QHD displays with 90Hz refresh rates.
When it comes to the processors, users can expect the P40 to have Huawei’s in-house Kirin 990 — the new version which is an update on the AI-filled Kirin 980, with 5G that we saw on P30 series. There will also be an increase in battery capacity as well as in RAM, which would bring it somewhere in the region of 10GB.
The Kirin 990 was first released in Berlin at IFA 2019 and was announced to come in two configurations. It combines a 5G modem chip with eight cores of the processor which skyrockets the download speeds on the phone to as high as 2.3Gbps per second on an average. Besides, with the software delegating tasks to each core individually, the overall performance is expected to be impeccable and smooth. The P40 Pro will also come with 5G connectivity as a standard, which is something a lot of brands are still not focusing on. The 5G technology is expected to take a couple of years to arrive in the mainstream market and probably that is the reason for this lethargy among certain brands. But the same can’t be said about the P40 as of now.
What operating system will the P40 run on?
Even after the legal fallout that Huawei is facing in the USA this year, the brand is technically still allowed to use Google Android software, but the same can’t be guaranteed for the time when the P40 series will come out. It’s still unclear whether Huawei will stick with Google Android OS, or if they’ll go with their in-house HarmonyOS that was announced this year. Although we have no doubts that Huawei will do a great job at making their OS, compatibility is still a big issue— companies like Microsoft and Samsung have gone down the same road earlier and hit a dead end because developers simply don’t want to port their applications over to a new OS. However, things could be different for Huawei, given it has one of the largest customer bases in the world. Moreover, Huawei CEO Richard Yu has said that HarmonyOS will be able to run most native Android apps. Therefore, even if the apps you want to use aren’t available on the Huawei App store, you could still download apps and run them from external sources.
When Richard Yu unveiled HarmonyOS at IFA, he had said that HarmonyOS could come out on Huawei smartphones anytime they wanted, but for the Google partnership and efficiency, the priority will be for Google Android OS. Mr. Yu also said that if they were not able to use Android OS in the future, they will readily make the switch from Android. So, if things remain the way they are right now, the P40 series will most likely roll out with Android OS.
Meanwhile, Google had revealed to Reuters in a report on August 29 that their current license to trade with Huawei does not extend to new hardware, therefore if the agreement isn’t renewed by 2020, we would see the Huawei P40 rolling out with HarmonyOS after all. It looks like Richard Yu is also getting tired of the legal mess that the company is in, in the USA. He has gone on record with Gizchina that if the whole legal situation with the USA does not get solved shortly, Huawei will eventually ship the HarmonyOS on the Huawei P40 and Huawei P40 Pro, while also announcing that OS is now finally ready for public use.
Price and Release Date
The Huawei P40 is reportedly in its testing phase currently, with the company intending to release the phone in early March 2020 according to Richard Yu. Huawei has released the previous phones in P series around that time of the year as well, so the release period seems very unlikely to change. No date has been fixed yet but it wouldn’t take too long before P40 comes out of its testing phase and goes into the production phase, and once that happens, a release date will follow soon. This is in line with what we’ve seen from the firm before.
As of now there’s no price tag on the Huawei P40 and Huawei P40 Pro, but it shouldn’t be tough to get an estimated ballpark range given the prices of the previous models: the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro were priced at £599 and £799 respectively, while the Huawei P30 and the Huawei P30 Pro retailed for £699 and £899 respectively. Considering this pricing trend, the Huawei P40 and the Huawei P40 Pro are expected to cost around £799 and £999 respectively.