(Pocket-lint) - Huawei's transition from Android disruptor to Google outsider has seen a poignant shift over the past year.
The Huawei P40, the flagship phone for 2020, launched without access to Google services, as Huawei continued to follow its own path. It was still a capable device and that leaves anticipation for Huawei's next flagship, the P50.
Here's everything we've heard so far.
Release date and price
- March 2021 originally expected
- May 2021 delayed launch rumoured
Little has been said about when the Huawei P50 will be announced. The Huawei P40 was announced on 26 March 2020, following a pattern that's seen Huawei launched devices at events just after the traditional February Mobile World Congress event.
While 2021 isn't going to be normal, we'd still expect an annual refresh, so we originally expected the Huawei P50, P50 Pro and P50 Pro+ to be announced some time around March 2021. Obviously, this is no longer the case, but more recently there have been rumours that this has been pushed back to May 2021.
Design and build
- P50, P50 Pro and P50 Pro+ expected
- P50 Pro: 159 x 73 x 8.6mm
- P50: 156.7 x 74 x 8.3mm
We're starting to see leaks appearing for the Huawei P50 Pro, including one from @OnLeaks, who has a good record with early device reveals. This shows off a handset with a huge camera housing on the rear, divided into two big round openings. How many cameras appear depends on model.
It looks as though the Pro+ version will feature up to five cameras, while the regular P50 will be a quad system.
The measurements for the P50 Pro appear to come in around the same size as the P40 Pro, while a curved display with minimal bezel and a single front camera appears on these images.
As for the regular P50, that's shown up in renders based on leaked schematics which show a device very similar to the P50 Pro from the back. It features that same large camera design. It's on the front where the regular model appears different, and features a completely flat screen, rather than the curved display of the other models.
There are stereo speakers and an under-display fingerprint scanner.
It's been suggested that there will be three different versions of the phone - the P50, P50 Pro and the P50 Pro+. These will more or less replace the lite, normal and pro models from previous generations.
- P50 Pro: 6.6-inch display, OLED, Quad HD+, 120Hz, curved
- P50: 6.3-inch, OLED, Full HD+, 90Hz, flat
The display on the Huawei P50 Pro is said to be 6.6-inches and while the regular P50 will be smaller at 6.3-inches.
Little else has been said about the display, but we'd expect it to be OLED and offer 90 or 120Hz refresh rates. The resolution of the P50 Pro is likely to be Quad HD+, 2640 x 1200 pixels, 120Hz, while the P50 will probably be Full HD+, 2340 x 1080 pixels, 90Hz.
The P50 Pro will have curved edges while the P50 will be flat.
It's said that Samsung Display and LG Display will be providing the OLED panels for the devices.
- Kirin 9000/9000E expected
- 6/8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage
Very little has been said about the hardware loadout for the next-gen Huawei device, but it's thought that the P50 Pro will use the Kirin 9000 that made its debut in the Huawei Mate 40. This is a 5nm 5G SoC, launching before Apple and Qualcomm made their own announcements and it's typical for Huawei to roll this hardware from Mate to P series in this way. The standard P50 might use the Kirin 9000E, a slightly lower spec version of the hardware.
Outside of these details, we don't have any details for battery capacity, although it has been suggested that Huawei's 135W charger might be to provide lightning-fast charging.
- Single front camera
- 1-inch Sony IMX800 sensor rumoured
- P50: Main, ultra-wide, telephoto
- P50 Pro: Main, ultra-wide, periscope
- P50 Pro+: Main, ultra-wide, periscope, ToF + 5th camera
The camera is the part of Huawei devices most anticipated. The company beat big rivals like Apple and Samsung to the punch, out-performing most and making some of the biggest steps in mobile photography over the past few years.
A rumour has suggested that the P50 Pro might house a 1-inch Sony IMX800 imaging sensor, which might explain why the camera housing on the rear of this phone is so large. Whether that main camera will be in all models, we don't know at the moment.
The same source that suggested this 1-inch sensor went on to details that there would be three models (assumed to be P50, P50 Pro and P50 Pro+) while also detailing which cameras they will get. The big difference appears to be that the P50 will have a standard telephoto lens, while the Pro and Pro+ will get a periscope lens for better long reach zoom. On top of that the P50 Pro+ might get a time of flight sensor and an additional fifth camera too.
Currently there's little to backup these details.
A single selfie camera is expected on all models.
- No Google Services
- Harmony OS in China
As this isn't a regular Android phone, it's worth saying a little more on software. We know that Huawei can't offer Google services and is instead pushing its own software solutions with Huawei Mobile Services sitting on an Android core.
Huawei has for some time been developing its Harmony OS. It's been used in some devices, like smart TV, so far, but there's always been talk that this would power phones of the future. Harmony OS is, in essence, a version of Android anyway, so we'd not expect a huge change from the EMUI that we've seen on Huawei devices in the past.
At the launch of the Huawei Mate X2, the company outlined that HarmonyOS would be offered as an upgrade to devices from April onwards, perhaps suggesting that the P50 will launch with HarmonyOS, or at least the option of HarmonyOS.
There's still an outside chance that if Huawei's standing with the US changed then Google services could return - but we don't think that's going to happen.
What's happened so far?
Here's a chronology of leaks for the Huawei P50 series so far.
7 April 2021: P50 Renders reveal flat screen
Renders were published - based on leaked schematics - and show a completely flat screen, but the same distinct camera housing as the other models.
25 March 2021: P50 Pro+ leak shows penta rear camera
We could see five cameras in the back of the ultra premium model if this leak is to be believed.
22 March 2021: Huawei P50 launch could be significantly delayed
The Huawei P50 launch could be pushed back to May rather than the original March date that was rumoured.
12 March 2021: Huawei P50 design revealed in white colour.
11 March 2021: Huawei P50 Pro design leak shows off a huge camera on the rear
A design leak from a reliable source shows off huge camera openings on teh rear of the P50 Pro.
25 February 2021: Further Huawei P50 camera details leaked as 1-inch Sony IMX800 sensor is teased
The Huawei P50 is expected to house a 1-inch Sony IMX800 sensor according to a reliable leaker.
22 February: Huawei will "roll out Harmony OS to existing devices" after April
The Huawei Mate X2 is expected to launch in April and will have the option to update to HarmonyOS. This suggests that the P50 will also have this option.
15 February 2021: More details on P50 models suggested
A Twitter leaker has weighed in to provide more details on what models to expect for the Huawei P50.
And if anyone still wonders about those models.— Teme (特米) (@RODENT950) February 15, 2021
Standard - new Lite
Pro - new standard
Pro+ - new Pro
P50 Pro/Pro+ K9000 https://t.co/UiWGM9hH9T
21 January 2021: Huawei P50 and P50 Pro said to use reserved Kirin 9000 chips, offer 90 and 120Hz respectively
Debate around what will power the next Huawei devices still rolls on, with sources saying that reserved Kirin 9000 chips will power the P50.
12 January 2021: More apparent specs leak for P50 series
A slightly questionable leak has appeared with little to verify the details, but it does suggest that there will be Harmony OS and Android versions of the P50 models.
5 January 2021: Apparent Huawei P50 Pro leak shows quad rear cameras - but is it real?
Images claiming to be the Huawei P50 Pro leak showing off camera details, but there's little to verify their authenticity.
5 January 2021: 135W charger could power Huawei P50
A new Huawei charger which can deliver up to 135W has been certified and could be the charger for the future P50 series.
31 December 2020: Huawei P50 Pro gets its first design leak
A leak from a reliable source has shown off an rendered image for the future Huawei P50 Pro.
23 November 2020: Huawei P50 to launch in 2021
A report from The Elec discusses display suppliers and some of the hardware for the future Huawei P50 models.