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Daily Authority: 😅 Huawei is still trying
☕ Good morning! Just a week ago, Microsoft bought Activision. Time flies.
The Huawei P50 Pro, P50 Pocket launched globally today, bringing a new foldable to markets outside of China for the first time.
- And yes, these remain Google-free devices, with mixed app availability, and they’re running on 4G-only Snapdragon chipsets.
- As to why Huawei is doing this? Well, let’s get into it after a look at these phones…
- It’s taken about six months, but the flagship P50 Pro launched outside of China running EMUI 12, not HarmonyOS.
- The big selling points of Huawei remain great hardware and a strong push on true-to-life photography, with its giant circular rings housing cameras, in the “200x zoom range” Dual-Matrix camera setup, with ultrawide and 50MP main shooter (f/1.8 with OIS).
- The display is a 6.6-inch 120Hz OLED screen, and underneath you get the Snapdragon 888 4G SoC here, 8GB/256GB, and IP68 water and dust resistance, complete with two circular camera housings on the back.
- Huawei has never tried to compete on price, for those who are tempted by Huawei’s quality but really want Google’s apps and mobile services. Accordingly, the P50 Pro starts at €1,199, or probably about $1,200 if you exclude taxes and equate to US terms, not that the US is in the plans of the “global” launch.
- The clamshell foldable P50 Pocket packs similar-ish specs: it’s a 6.9-inch device with a ratio that’s much taller, has the external roughly 1-inch screen, and a triple camera setup that goes for something unusual: a 40MP f/1.8 main camera, a 13MP ultrawide shooter, and the trick 32MP “super-spectrum” sensor that shows fluorescent lighting, to do things like “see” if you have covered your face in sunblock properly.
- It’s also super glitzy and over the top in terms of look, with a shimmering gold/silver color and really pushes towards being fancy.
- It’s also not at all a bargain, starting at €1,299 ($1,300 or so?) which is a lot more than the Samsung Galaxy Flip 3.
- I can only see one early video review at TechAltar, but maybe there’ll be more, or maybe not, given that it’ll also, of course, skip the US.
And what’s the point?
- The P50 seems to be coming out about a year late, as competitors move on to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset.
- Harmony OS isn’t here either, with Huawei sticking with EMUI 12, Huawei’s standard Android skin.
- It means you definitely won’t get all your standard apps, like Firefox or LastPass, or Wolt — they just aren’t in Huawei’s App Gallery.
- So back to the question. Why is Huawei still trying? What’s the point?
- I think Huawei still wants to show it has great devices. They’re not on the right release schedule, there’s a lot of baggage and reasons not to buy, but Huawei is selling these in China and might as well show the world it still has the right stuff in the mix, if it was allowed off its leash.
- The P50 Pocket pushes that further: great tech, and by releasing it, Huawei beats the likes of Oppo which hasn’t yet released the Find N outside of China despite lots of press for it — and neither has one-time Huawei company Honor with its Magic V, so this seems like a flex.
- And, while you or I might not find the compromises of the Huawei app world acceptable, I bet some expats from China will buy them in some regions where they want to use Huawei phones.
- 🎁 Samsung Galaxy Unpacked date officially revealed for the Galaxy S22 series: Feb 9, 10AM ET (Android Authority). And, lots of specs just dropped, including details on a 3x telephoto camera on the S22 and S22 Plus, with optical zoom likely to easily beat hybrid zoom of the S21 series.
- 👍 Realme backtracks, will now bring Android 12 to Realme Pad after all (Android Authority).
- 📺 Disney Plus is planning a big market expansion in 2022: 50 new markets including much more of the Middle East, Europe, and South Africa (Android Authority).
- 👉 Some outlets have their hands on Intel’s 12th-gen mobile laptops, but they’re in a pretty limited-value spec: a massive 17-inch gaming laptop, with the top CPU. It still looks encouraging on performance, but there’s no real guide to battery life in the CPUs we’re waiting for. Ars Technica and AnandTech have more.
- 📉 Fabs are stretched thin as chip shortage shrinks inventories to just five days, down from usual 40 days of inventory. Ouch (Ars Technica).
- ⛓ A report suggests Meta/Facebook is pretty much giving up on its cryptocurrency ambitions: Diem seems dead, with Meta now trying to put it to bed (Bloomberg). The Verge reporting adds confirmations of the same, and “carpe diem,” tweeted Jack Dorsey.
- 📈 Microsoft’s profits jump by 21 percent thanks to Office and the cloud, as the rising PC market lifts many boats (Engadget).
- 🎮 Blizzard is diving into the survival game genre, with early-stage announcement (Engadget).
- 🌱 NASA’s newest spinoff tech comes back to earth: details from NASA’s book-length Spinoffs 2022 report, published Monday (Wired).
- 🚆 Why the Belarus railways hack to stop the movement of Russian troops marks a first for ransomware: “This is the first time I can recall non-state actors having deployed ransomware purely for political objectives,” said a security researcher (Wired).
- 🔛 “Why does turning a device off and on again fix most technical problems?” (r/nostupidquestions).
Two bits of fun weird:
- Remember the original iPhone beer app, iBeer? So dumb, so fun, so simple, and it made its creator $20,000 a day; a story of a down-and-out magician who made it big because, in his words, Apple asked him to (Mel Magazine).
- “Apple started scouting for developers, and they approached me because I’d made a YouTube video where I made the phone look like a glass of beer,” Steve Sheraton recalled. “They wanted me to make an app out of that because they obviously thought it would show off the phone pretty well.”
- The original iPhone apps really printed cash, back when things were early and fun, still.
- And, this guy made a sarcasm converter for his keyboard, out of two Raspberry Pis.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor