Huawei has officially unveiled the P50 Pocket, a clamshell foldable smartphone with a 1-inch circular external display for quick access to notifications and widgets. The device was launched in China today, although US sanctions, which mean Huawei can't use key technologies such as Google's Android operating system, mean the P50 Pocket won't have any impact in the West.
Earlier this month, Huawei published a photo of the P50 Pocket Premium edition in Harper's Bazaar China. This version of the installation was designed by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen. It has a gold or silver finish and an exterior surface with a 3D pattern typical of Van Heuben's work, similar to feathers or leaves.
When opened, Pocket's OLED screen size is 6.9 inches, screen power is 21:9, and refresh rate is 120Hz. The phone weighs 190g and is just 7.2mm thick (Huawei compares it to the 238g iPhone 13 Pro Max, which is 7.65mm thick). It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G SoC, a 4,000mah battery, and runs Huawei's Harmony OS 2.
The P50 Pocket's main camera array has a 40-megapixel primary sensor, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 32-megapixel "hyperspectral" lens that Huawei claims can capture a wider range of colors. A perforated camera is built into the main display, but Huawei points out that the phone's foldable design makes it easier to take selfies with the main camera, and that the 1-inch cover doubles as a viewfinder.
Huawei has positioned the P50 Pocket's "cover screen" as an important part of its appeal. In addition to displaying notifications or times, the screen can also be used for widgets that allow users to control music, follow instructions, and more. For example, if you use your phone to navigate in an unfamiliar city, the phone's cover screen shows careful, turn-by-turn directions, rather than forcing you to turn on the large 6.9-inch home screen to check your location.
The P50 Pocket also comes with new hinges that allow zero clearance between screens when folded. That's a lot better than flip phones like Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip3. The Galaxy Z Flip3 is also a flip phone, but with a slightly smaller gap when folded. The P50 Pocket has a face unlock feature on both the home and cover screen, and a fingerprint unlock sensor mounted on the side — handy during the pandemic when many people still regularly wear masks.
The standard version of the P50 Pocket went on sale in China today, priced at 8,988 yuan ($1,400) for 8GB of ram and 256GB of storage, while the premium version with 12GB of ram and 512GB of storage is priced at 10,988 yuan ($1,700). The standard edition comes in black and white, while the premium edition comes in silver or gold.
In a demonstration, Yu Chengyu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, said the flip phone's design provides a more refined design for folding devices."It's very delicate," Yu said."We want to bring you grace on the go."