For the past couple of years, Huawei has used the Mobile World Congress as a launching ground for its P series of flagship phones. But that streak will end next month, as Huawei will not be announcing a phone at MWC 2018.
I actually reported this on January 9th, but the information didn’t really pick up traction on the Android blogosphere until this week, after Korean news site ET News reported mostly the same information on January 23, but with a slightly different take.
According to the news report, Huawei is holding off launching the next phone, rumored to be named either the P20 or P11 (I’m personally hearing it’s going to be the P20, but there are conflicting reports out there), due to the company’s focus on entering the U.S. market. Those plans, of course, fell apart after AT&T backed out of the deal at the last minute due to what many believe to be U.S. government concerns.
But that hasn’t stopped Android bloggers from making a lot of additional assumptions. Android Authority ran a piece saying we should “blame [Samsung’s] Galaxy S9” for Huawei not launching a phone, because, I’m guessing, the author thinks Huawei is scared of Samsung. I used the word “guess” because other than the title, the piece doesn’t really elaborate on why Huawei may not be launching a phone at MWC. The original ET report made no mention of Huawei avoiding Samsung. Mobile World News made the same assumption.
As someone who has reported on Chinese tech–including Huawei–extensively, I believe that the assumptions and reports above are likely false. First, the notion that Huawei is reacting out of fear of Samsung is absurd, considering that Huawei has tried to portray themselves as a confident and proud (some would say cocky) company that always likens itself to Apple. Plus any tech journalist who has spent time with handset company marketers knows their plan when tackling the massive hype surrounding Apple and Samsung phones is to beat those phones to the market, not after.
Now, ET’s reports that Huawei delayed the announcement of the P20 because it wanted to focus on the U.S. expansion plans is more likely true. The source who provided me with the information told me Huawei is delaying the release of the P20 because it wants to give the Mate 10 Pro more time to shine, which would have included the U.S. had the deal not fallen apart.
For Huawei fans disappointed that they won’t get to see the rumored “triple camera phone” at MWC, rest assured that a launch is coming in Europe shortly, and my sources tell me Huawei will still have products to unveil in Barcelona a month from now.