With phone in US, Huawei touts Western deals

By Amy He in Las Vegas | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-01-06 12:16
With phone in US, Huawei touts Western deals
The Mate 9 smartphone has some key players on board

With the release of its latest Mate 9 in the US market, Huawei stressed its partnerships with some of the largest Western tech companies that provide new hardware and software for the company's flagship smartphone.

The Mate 9, introduced to the US market at a pre-CES event, features a dual camera engineered by German camera manufacturer Leica, integration with Amazon's Alexa voice-powered virtual assistant and compatibility with Google's Daydream virtual reality device.

"We want to accelerate the smart devices' evolution with industry leaders," said Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group, during a keynote address on Thursday.

"We want to bring some of today's AR/VR, AI features, so at Huawei, we want to partner with industry leaders to bring some of these services, new innovations to today's smartphone," he said.

Huawei's Mate 9 will be the first smartphone with Amazon Alexa implementation, with the virtual assistant being part of every phone starting sometime in the first quarter, according to Yu.

Steve Rabuchin, vice-president of Amazon Alexa, said during the same event that its relationship with Huawei "aligns with [the company's] vision for the Alexa service", which is the voice service that powers the Amazon Echo voice-activated smart speaker that provides information, weather, news and plays music.

"With Huawei," Rabuchin said, "we're bringing Alexa into the smartphone. Mobile is a particularly exciting opportunity because of the unique voice experiences that we think we can bring to our customers. We think they're going to love it."

The Mate 9 features a dual camera engineered by Leica, with extra sharpness, autofocus, depth and 4K video-capture capabilities.

The smartphone is also compatible with Google's Daydream virtual reality headset, allowing users to play games, watch videos and experience augmented reality environments.

Amit Singh, vice-president of business at Google VR Daydream, said that building smartphones for VR requires a close partnership with companies - "the right optics, the design for sensors, and I'm super excited to tell you now the Mate 9 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate 9 are both Daydream ready.

The phone, priced at $599, was available Thursday at major US retailers.

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