The Huawei P20 may be the follow-up to the 2017 Huawei P10, according to rumors. Although the Huawei P10’s sequel has been referred to as the P11 on several occasions, it’s possible the firm will break from an annual single-number increase in 2018, skipping ahead to call the new phone the P20.
Rumors are gathering about the Huawei P20, and here’s what we think we know about it so far.
Name and release
When will the Huawei P20 arrive? The Huawei P10 was announced at Mobile World Congress 2017, making it logical to assume the P20 will come at MWC 2018, however we now believe that it will instead show up at a press event in Paris on March 27, for which we have received an invitation.
Previously, at an event held in Israel at the end of 2017, the CEO of a licensed Huawei importer revealed a road map of products for the next year.
It listed three new P-Series Huawei phones — named only as P, P Plus, and P Lite — arriving there sometime between April and June 2018. Initially believed to be Israel-specific timing, this now fits in with the current rumors regarding the phone’s launch, although it seems that the launch will be a few days early. In mid-December, at a Huawei Christmas event in Germany, executives told those gathered — including WinFuture’s Roland Quandt — camera and AI-focused new products would arrive during the first three months of 2018.
If you’re wondering why we’re calling the phone the Huawei P20 and not the P11, which logically follows the P10, it’s because rumors have consistently referred to the phone as the P20. During the same meeting where the road map seen below was shown, the importer let slip that the next Huawei flagship phone would be called the P20, and not the P11. It wasn’t the first time we’d heard reference to the Huawei P20. In July, the Huawei P20 name was registered as a trademark by the company, along with now obviously false rumors of a late 2017 announcement.
A leak posted on Twitter at the end of January claimed the P11 name will not be used, and instead there will be three P20 models — the P20, P20 Plus, and P20 Lite. Both the P20 and P20 Plus will apparently come in ceramic black and twilight colors, while the P20 Lite will be in black, blue, and pink.
If the Huawei P20 is the Huawei P11, it makes sense for some of the features leaked and connected to the P11 to also be relevant to the P20. However, while this is very likely, its not certain. If the rumored name of a phone has been wrong once, it could be wrong again, so don’t take anything for granted just yet.
The most intriguing rumor about the Huawei P11 was that its rear camera would have a three-lens array. All three would be branded and enhanced by Leica, and potentially use some of the artificial intelligence features made possible by the Kirin 970 and its Neural Processing Unit (NPU).
Leaked promotional material stated the cameras would take 40 megapixel pictures and have a 5x hybrid zoom, while the selfie lens would take 24 megapixel pictures. Lowlight performance would be enhanced on both using new sensors and optics.
The P-Series is usually Huawei’s “fashion-forward” smartphone, with an emphasis on design. Huawei experimented with minimal bezels around the screen on the Mate 10 Pro in 2017, so will it go even further in 2018 with the P20? A December leak suggests it may adopt a controversial “notch” at the top of the display, much like the iPhone X and the Essential PH-1. Based on firmware examined by XDA Developers, the speculation comes from image files found in the software that help obscure particular areas around the top of the screen, just like a “notch.” The firmware states the unnamed device has a 6.01-inch screen with a 2244 x 1080 pixel resolution, longer than a traditional 1920 x 1080 pixel screen.
Several phones in 2017 featured face unlock, including the iPhone X and the OnePlus 5T, and Huawei will add a similar system to its phones in 2018. During the Honor 7X and Honor View 10 launch in London at the beginning of December, Honor — a sub brand of Huawei — talked about a secure face recognition system coming in the future. It claimed the feature was secure enough for payment use, and so fast it would unlock a phone in just 400ms.
It’s not certain Huawei’s Point Cloud Depth Camera technology will come to the P20, because the phone wasn’t mentioned on stage; but it’s clearly close to being ready, and the P20 is likely to be Huawei’s next major release. If it is part of the P20, expect Huawei’s take on Apple’s Animoji to also feature.
Along with the Mate Series phones, Huawei’s P Series are the company’s flagship devices, and therefore packed with the latest tech. A rumor from June 2017 suggested the P20 — or P11, as it was referred to at that time — would use the Kirin 970 chip like the Mate 10 Pro, along with a massive 8GB of RAM. The Kirin processor would bring on-device artificial intelligence to the P20, due to the NPU, which links to the camera rumors for the phone.
Huawei customizes Android with its own user interface, called EMUI, so will anything change on the P20? The firmware covered by XDA Developers was based on Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI version 8.0.1 over the top. Whether this makes it to the final, release version of the Huawei P20 is unknown. The P20, the P11, or any other future Huawei phone was never mentioned in the firmware build, and it’s speculation for now that the two are related.
That’s all we know about the P20/P11 for now, but as soon as more rumors or news arrives, we’ll update you here.
Updated on January 31: Added news that Huawei is holding a press event on March 27, which we expect to be where it launches the P20.