Tuesday January 31, 2023

Huawei’s P50 Pro and foldable P50 Pocket are getting pricey Google-free releases outside China

Huawei, the embattled Chinese tech giant that continues to be the target of strict US sanctions, has announced that its flagship P50 Pro and foldable P50 Pocket will be sold outside of China. The P50 Pro will cost EUR1,199 (around $1,353), while the P50 Pocket will start at EUR1,299 (around $1,466). Huawei’s press release says the two phones will be available in “key markets across Asia Pacific, The Middle East & Africa, Europe and Latin America,” but declined to say exactly when and where.

Nevertheless, at those prices, and without access to key Google apps and services like the Google Play Store, both devices will represent interesting curios rather than anything you should seriously consider buying. Sanctions have also impacted Huawei’s ability to include 5G support on its products, so both phones are also resolutely stuck in the 4G generation.

The P50 Pocket uses a similar clamshell form-factor to Samsung’s Z Flip devices. Inside it has a 6.9-inch 2700 x 1228 folding OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. Huawei says the internal screen uses ultra-thin glass in its construction, and can fold without leaving a gap for a total thickness of just 15.2mm (the Z Flip 3 is 15.9mm thick at its thinnest point when folded).

Externally The P50 Pocket has an additional small circular display, located above a trio of cameras: a 40-megapixel main camera, a 13-megapixel ultrawide, and a 32-megapixel “ultra spectrum camera.” Interestingly, Huawei says these cameras are capable of detecting and showing where you’re wearing sunscreen on your face, to help you apply it evenly.

The P50 Pro is a more traditional flagship smartphone, featuring a 6.6-inch 2700 x 1228 OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s got four rear cameras, including a 50-megapixel main camera, a 13-megapixel ultrawide, a 64-megapixel telephoto with a 3.5x zoom, and a 40-megapixel mono sensor that Huawei says can help increase light-intake for low-light shots, as well as improving black and white photographs.

Rather than running on Huawei’s in-house chipsets, both phones are using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor. According to Huawei, they’re running its EMUI 12 software atop of its own HarmonyOS. Although there are many reported similarities between HarmonyOS and Android, US sanctions mean you won’t find any proprietary Google apps or services pre-installed here, which means no Google Maps, no Google Calendar, and importantly, no Google Play Store.

Yesterday GSMArena reported that both phones went up for pre-order in Bulgaria, with the P50 Pro’s pre-order period due to end on February 6th, which gives some hint as to when they might be shipping.

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