FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Huawei has now shipped nine million P9 smartphones. What else could be next?

By Patrick Pilcher
Mon 14 Nov 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

They’ve come such a long way in a short amount of time. They mightn’t have the same brand recognition as Apple or Samsung, but Huawei has cemented their position as the world's third biggest smartphone maker.

This got helped along by their successful P9 smartphone. According to the Chinese telco giant, the P9 has already sold 9 million units worldwide.

This, says IDC's latest data, helped Huawei retain its third ranking in Q3 2016. Samsung currently rank second and Apple first. The P9’s photographic chops (thanks to its dual cameras using Leica-certified optics) have earned it a devoted following. The dual camera functionality was since copied by Apple on their iPhone 7 plus.

Their timing couldn’t be better. Apple has reported flat iPhone sales. Samsung are reeling after a highly publicised recall of the Note 7 amidst reports of battery related fires. Now Huawei are hoping that lightning will strike twice and that their recently launched Mate 9, (co-designed by Porsche), which also features dual rear cameras, will be well received too.

What next?

Trouble is getting another smartphone hit product is a lot like releasing that oh-so-difficult third album. Features that were innovative mere months ago can soon become passe. So the big question becomes one of what future features could Huawei include? Here’s my picks:

  • Eye-Eye: Huawei is already recognised has having one of the better fingerprint sensors around, but given their lead in the camera space, it is possible that they could seek to adopt a similar retina scan biometrics approach to what was showcased on Samsung's ill-fated Note 7.  
  • Stretch and Bend: the design of the smartphone has gone largely unchanged for nearly a decade. This could soon be set to change thanks to components such as flexible circuit boards, batteries and OLED displays. Huawei’s Future phones could fold and slip into a wallet. This could open up a raft of previously unthought of designs that could give Huawei the means of standing out from what has become a largely “me-too” crowd.  
  • Smart Wireless: At the moment, buying a phone means making sure it supports all the radio spectrum bands used by our telcos. Annoyingly, even if your shiny new phone supports all the right bands, it may not support network specific features such as HD Voice. If you’re travelling, you could also find that some foreign networks might not even work with your phone at all (CDMA/WCDMA/TCDMA and so on). Emerging smart software-defined radio could fix this, making your phone a truly global communications device. By sampling available networks and intelligently configuring your phone's radio to work, incompatibilities could soon be solved.  
  • Open the Podbay doors: Talking to our phones is nothing new, but using our voice as a security ID could be bigger than huge. It is already in use with the Lenovo A586 smartphone in the ultra-competitive Chinese market, which means it could be on the menu for launch to a wider audience.  
  • Braiiiins!!!: Smartphone usability ultimately comes down to one key component – the CPU. My P9 Plus already packs more processing power than an Apollo-era lunar lander. Taking Moore's Law into account it is possible that 20nm 256-bit, 32-core CPUs could be the order of the day within the next 4-5 years. Huawei's existing Hi-Silicon Kirin is already pretty zippy, but it is possible that future developments could see a dockable phone being your next PC.  
  • AI: Instead of just barking static commands at your phone, subsequent upgrades to Android are adding increasing smarts. This could see a future Huawei phone develop its own personality being trained to respond only to your specific voice. This will be helped along by powerful yet energy efficient CPUs.  
  • Say Cheeese!: The P9 was a big nail in the coffin of point-and-shoot cameras. Seeking to maintain their lead in the photographic space, this could see the Chinese Telco giant adding computational photography into their in-house develop image processing silicon. This could see cameras reacting to photographic environments in a similar way to the human eye. They could rapidly focus, intelligently track objects and adjust on the fly to a variable lighting conditions.  
  • Move over Energiser Bunny: If there’s one underrated smartphone spec it is this; battery life. It has been steadily improving and slimmer batteries have resulted in more compact smartphones hitting the market. Frustratingly, most smartphones still only last 1-2 days without charging. While consumer electronics manufacturers are investigating fuel cells, The University of Illinois has developed what they call lithium-ion microbatteries. These they say pack a whopping 2,000 times more power and charge near instantly. If Huawei can get hold of the right battery technology they could soon realise a compelling competitive advantage.
Related stories
Top stories
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands (PC)
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a spin-off that joins Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Borderlands 3, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Story image
Sustainability
Can bots succeed where humans have failed in sustainability?
People want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed.  
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: GoPro Hero 10
I have a long history with GoPro; I still remember getting my first camera when I was 16, using it to film Parkour and the day I lost it down a dingey crag. 
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook A/NZ announces new Portégé X40L-K hyperlight laptop
Dynabook A/NZ has unveiled the all-new Portégé X40L-K, a hyperlight 14.0" modern laptop utilising cutting-edge, high-performance computing power.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Malware
Vulnerabilities in Lenovo laptops expose users to UEFI malware
Researchers at ESET have discovered three vulnerabilities affecting various Lenovo consumer laptop models.
Story image
Jabra
Hands-on review: Jabra GN PanaCast 20 webcam
We get our hands on a Danish-designed high end webcam that has some rather unique artificial intelligence (AI) features.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Ghostwire Tokyo (PS5)
Although a bit of a tonal departure for Bethesda, Ghostwire Toyko is a good-looking and eerie action game that is aimed at a very select audience.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Xbox Series X)
The Lego Star Wars games have always been popular with both kids and adults as they are a cute way to relive the famous movies.
Story image
Gaming
Study reveals Minecraft the hardest mobile game ever
According to a study by Mozillion, Minecraft: Pocket Edition tops the list as both the most searched for game and the one players need help with and try to cheat the most.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Russian, Ukraine-themed war lure of choice for cyber espionage
Russian and Ukraine-themed war documents have become the lure of choice for cyber espionage, according to a new analysis from Check Point Research.
Story image
Music
Hands-on review: JBL Partybox 110 Bluetooth speaker
My first review in a long time is sure to create a lot of noise, if the experience in my household has been anything to go by.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: MLB The Show 22 (PS5)
Historically the MLB The Show series has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles, but now the franchise is expanding.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
HCL
HCL brings TechBee IT education programme to New Zealand
HCL is bringing its TechBee early career programme to NZ in an effort to help close the country's IT skill gap.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant spike in consumer fraud, new report finds
Reported cases of consumer fraud more than tripled in the years 2020-2021 from prior years, according to a new report by Accenture.
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
NFT
Emirates to launch NFTs and experiences in the metaverse
"Emirates has embraced advanced technologies to improve business processes, enhance our customer offering, and enrich our employees' skills and experiences."
Story image
E-waste
NZ’s first and only e-waste sorting machine launched
Computer Recycling launches e-waste shredder and MSS optical sorting machine BLUBOX, which is able to sort out a tonne of e-waste per hour
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Intel Core i7-12700 CPU
Intel’s middle-of-the-road 12th generation Core i7-12700 offers performance at a lower price than the pricey Core i9 for users that are not fussed by overclocking.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Weird West (PlayStation 4)
There have been many games released over the years based on the wild west era, but Weird West is one of the most unique.
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.