Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, used the platform of a CES keynote address yesterday to announce the February launch of its latest and greatest flagship smartphone.
The Mate 10 Pro, a sleek, six-inch super-device designed to take on iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy series, is also the head of the spear in Huawei’s efforts to crack the critical U.S. market, where the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker (and leading telecom equipment company) still has a limited presence.
But in his address, Yu expressed frustration over his inability to find a home for the handset among U.S. mobile carriers, which control 90 percent of distribution, he told the CES crowd.
The acknowledgement came amid published reports that a deal with AT&T was scuttled at the last minute after Congress raised security concerns over the Chinese company.
“It is a big loss for us and also for carriers, but more for consumers,” Yu said.
Instead, Huawei will sell an unlocked GSM version of the Mate 10 Pro for $799 through Amazon, B&H Photo, Best Buy, Microsoft and Newegg starting Feb. 18, with pre-orders beginning Feb. 4, and has enlisted Israeli actress Gal Gadot as its spokes-star. Gadot will help launch a U.S. marketing effort under the banner “Wow Way” to introduce the brand to American consumers.
The phone, which will be compatible with the AT&T and T-Mobile networks and affiliated MVNOs, boasts a host of top-shelf specs, including:
· a 4,000 mAh battery that can last two days between charges for casual users and can power up to 58 percent capacity in 30 minutes;
· an ip67 water- and dust-resistance rating
· a Leica f/1.6 dual camera featuring AI-powered object recognition for optimum settings automatically;
· Huawei’s own Kirin 970 chipset, which boasts AI functionality through a dedicated neural network processing unit (NPU) and an LTE modem that can reportedly reach gigabit speeds;
· out-of-the-box Android Oreo with Huawei’s own EMUI 8.0 interface overlay;
· all-glass design, available in midnight blue, titanium grey and mocha brown.
Perhaps to address the security concerns, Yu emphasized the phone’s multi-layered defenses, provided through its chipset, hardware, software, Cloud support and Google’s monthly Android security patches.
In addition to the Mate 10 Pro, Yu announced a luxury Mate 10 model developed with Porsche Design that will sell alongside the Pro for $1,225, and a Q2 Series home Wi-Fi system that includes mesh and power-line technologies. A three-base bundle will sell for $350 retail, and a base with two satellites will retail for $220.