Apple and Samsung may be looking at much more competition in 2018 if a new report from The Information is accurate. Expanding on past rumors, the new report claims Huawei is partnering with AT&T to launch its Mate 10 flagship smartphone in the US. This device launched internationally several months ago with the latest Android 8.0 software, and it’s been a popular phone in those markets. The US has yet to catch Huawei fever, but it could be coming.
Huawei is largely unknown in the US market, but in the last year it rose to prominence as the world’s second largest smartphone maker, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. Asian markets fueled most of that growth, but Huawei’s phones are also increasingly popular in Europe.
Most of Huawei’s efforts in the US have been extremely limited in scale. About a year ago, Huawei launched the Mate 9 in the US, but only as an unlocked device with no carrier deals. It has also pushed the budget-oriented Honor series unlocked phones in the US. In addition to the AT&T deal, Huawei is reportedly working to get the Mae 10 on Verizon as well. Getting its latest flagship phone on the two largest carrier could finally make Huawei a contender in the US.
There are actually two versions of the Mate 10, and the new rumor doesn’t say if both will come to AT&T. The Mate 10 Pro is the more impressive and modern device, so it’s likely it will be the only one sold by the carrier. The fit and finish are up there with the other top smartphone makers. This phone has an all-glass chassis similar to Samsung and Apple, and on the front is a 6-inch 18:9 OLED display with tiny bezels. The main difference between this and the regular Mate 10 is the latter’s use of a 6-inch 16:9 LCD, which makes the phone much more chunky.
The Mate 10 Pro packs an impressive dual-camera array with a 12MP main sensor and 20MP monochrome for sharper details. Huawei is also getting serious about machine learning and AI with the Mate 10. Inside is the new Kirin 970 ARM SoC, which includes a custom AI core called the Neural Processing Unit (NPU). The NPU allows the phone to run machine learning code locally for features like translation and object recognition in the camera. For example, if the phone sees a flower or food in the viewfinder, it can adjust the presets to take a better photo.
We’ve been waiting for Huawei to announce US plans for the Mate 10, but it’s not ready to talk about the potential AT&T deal. When asked for comment, Huawei reps simply said the company does not comment on rumors. With CES next month, we might finally get some official details.