Huawei isn't letting the last-minute cancellation of Mobile World Congress stand in the way of its 2020 launch plans. Amid the extraordinary circumstances stemming from the novel coronavirus now dubbed COVID-19, Chinese telecom giant Huawei is pushing forward with plans for its latest generation of flagship phones, the Huawei P40 and P40 Pro, which will be unveiled in Paris on March 26 with an expected release date sometime after. Just like its predecessor the P30 series, the upcoming premium phones won't feature Google's suite of services (which includes Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and so on) nor will it have the full might of Google's Android operating system behind it due to the ongoing trade ban with the US. Instead, the phones are expected to operate yet again on Android's generic open-source operating system and consumers will have to download apps via Huawei's App Gallery as a substitute for the Google Play Store, which isn't the case for fellow Chinese phone makers such as Realme.
It is worth noting however that Huawei seems to have a plan to wean the company off its reliance on Google. According to Reuters, Huawei has banded up with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo to build a challenger to the Google Play Store known as the Global Developer Service Alliance — and it too will reportedly launch in March.
The launch of the P40 handsets will mark Huawei's second and latest flagship launch since the US slapped the Chinese telecom giant with an export ban last May. But until official announcements are made in the coming weeks, we leave you the with the most credible rumors of the much-awaited Huawei P40 and Huawei P40 Pro
The P40 Pro may come with a 10x optical zoom camera
Although Huawei's software (or more specifically its glaring lack of Google apps) may prove to be a dealbreaker for many outside China, it looks likely the Chinese phone maker will continue to push the envelope as far as cameras are concerned. Images shared on Twitter by widely followed leaker Evan Blass purport to show the P40 Pro equipped with a rectangular camera module containing what appears to be five sensors on the back.
According to known Apple leaker Ming Chi Kuo, a 10x optical zoom camera could be included as one of the sensors in the P40 Pros camera system, making it the world's first phone to achieve such a feat. The Mate 30 Pro featured a quad-camera set-up, and included a 50x digital zoom and a 5x optical zoom, which catapulted it into the mobile hall of fame.
Optical zoom is achieved by switching from a wide-angle camera to a telephoto camera. The magnification number is a reflection of the difference of those two lens lengths. Using the telephoto camera without "pinching in" results in a higher-quality image instead of using digital zoom which is what happens when you pinch the screen of your phone while using the main camera — or when you try to zoom in beyond the telephoto camera's capabilities.
P40 Pro may be equipped with 52mp Sony camera sensor
According to GizChina, the P40 Pro's rear camera will come with a 52-megapixel Sony IMX700 sensor, which is 10 megapixels higher than P30 Pro's rear camera. The 52-megapixel sensor is significantly lower in terms of resolution than Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra 108-megapixel sensor, but reports suggest this new sensor can bring bigger pixels and better low-light image quality.
P40 Pro may come with a grand total of seven cameras
As for the front of the P40 Pro, it's expected to feature two selfie cameras housed in a horizontal pill-shaped cutout on the left side of the screen, according to leaked renders from 91mobiles. The dual front-facing cameras combined with the previously mentioned penta-lens camera set-up on the rear would bring the total number of camera sensors on the Huawei P40 Pro to seven if the rumors are correct.
P40 series is expected to support 5G networks
Huawei has all but confirmed that both of its next flagship phones will support 5G, although in 2019 the vanilla P30 model couldn't support the next-generation network. Two recent listings of what is understood be the P40 and the P40 Pro on TENAA's certification website (China's regulatory body for mobile tech) show the devices possessing 5G compatibility, according to MySmartPrice. Although 5G ran into hiccups last year, including patchy coverage, it's expected to improve this year as coverage expands into new locations among other reasons.
P40 series could come in 5 colors, including blush gold
The P40 series is understood to be available in five different colors: Black, Ice White, Deep Sea Blue, Silver Frost and Blush Gold, according to 91Mobiles. The blush gold in particular reminds me of the champagne-like color palette used in the iPhone's newer models. It also comes after the Motorola Razr announced blush gold as its second color for the new Razr, which will be available from this spring.
Originally published Feb. 21. Regularly updated with new rumors.