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China’s Huawei takes aim at ailing Samsung with new smartphone

Kevin Ho, President of the Handsets Product Line, displays the latest P10 series smartphones at a Huawei MWC17 briefing. PHOTO; @MarshaCollier

Barcelona, Spain | AFP | 

China’s Huawei unveiled a new smartphone with a better camera on Sunday as it tries to fill the void left by Samsung’s withdrawal of its flagship device due to problems with the battery.

Huawei’s P10 and the larger P10 Plus, launched on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world’s biggest annual phone expo, feature dual Leica rear camera lenses, a longer-lasting battery and fingerprint sensor system.

“The P10 and the P10 Plus will make every shot a cover shot,” Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, said at the presentation.

Huawei, the world’s third-largest phone maker, has taken aim in recent years at the high end of the market, which is dominated by Apple and Samsung though neither company is presenting new smartphones in Barcelona.

Apple normally steers clear of the event. It launched a new iPhone 7 in September.

Samsung, which withdrew its Galaxy Note 7 last October after faulty batteries led several devices to catch fire, decided to put off presenting a new flagship smartphone until later this year.

That leaves Huawei as the biggest firm to present a new device in Barcelona, giving it a rare opportunity to grab the spotlight at the show.

The company managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of market share last year, increasing its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, according to the Gartner consultancy group.

Samsung saw its market share shrink over the same period by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent.

The P10 will sell for 649 euros ($685), the P10+ will cost 799 euros. The two models will hit shops next month.

Huawei also unveiled a new smartwatch, with a more sporty look than the first device it introduced two years ago, targeting fitness users.

Earlier on Sunday South Korea’s LG, the world’s sixth bestselling smartphone maker, unveiled a new flagship model that is designed for split-screen use so that can show two apps at once. It also has dual rear cameras.

 

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