Huawei Rolls Out P9 Smartphone with Leica Dual-Lens Camera Tech

The new P9 and P9 Plus smartphones launched by Huawei today are aimed at setting "a new standard in smartphone photography," the company says. Unveiled during an event in London, the new phones from China's electronics giant were co-engineered with the iconic German photography brand Leica Camera AG -- a first for smartphones, according to Huawei.

Huawei placed the camera technologies of the P9 and P9 Plus front and center during today's event by bringing on stage renowned photographers Mary McCartney and David Guttenfelder, both veterans of National Geographic. The company has also enlisted Hollywood's help, with actors Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson both appearing in a new television commercial for the P9.

Featuring dual-lens cameras, the P9 and P9 Plus are designed to optimize both color and black-and-white photographs. The Android-powered smartphones are set to become available across European and Middle Eastern markets starting April 16.

Premium -- and Global -- Ambitions

Huawei has "made it quite clear their ambitions lie in the premium part of the market," William Stofega, head of mobile device technology and trends research at the analyst firm IDC, told us. "This reinforces that whole notion."

While Huawei has yet to launch in the U.S., the P9 -- and its accompanying "heavy-duty media campaign" -- indicates the company is planning to enter the market soon, Stofega said. He added he expected that such a move would most likely take place this summer, before Apple's next big product kickoff in September.

Huawei's consumer electronics chief has confirmed his company plans a smartphone debut in the U.S. later this year, according to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Market Entry Soon?

Stofega said it's possible that Huawei will look to market its smartphones in the U.S. via direct online sales, rather than through partnerships with wireless carriers....

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