Monday, January 15

5 Features Entrepreneurs Need on a Smartphone - found them on the Huawei Mate 10

Today’s smartphones are so full of features that its hard to distinguish one from another. They’re all great. But what I’m looking for is innovation. Features that will actually make a difference and add value to this tiny computer we all carry everywhere.

I received the Huawei Mate 10 Pro at the launch event in Munich last year. I didn’t review the phone then (since so many people did). I wanted to live with the phone and give it a real, hands-on, daily driver report. (As an aside, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro was named as the best Android phone of 2017 by Android Authority.)

While I appreciate a sexy phone and a great screen, innovation is my primary reason for selecting a smartphone. The Pro model I tested adds features of an OLED screen, 128 GB storage (no Micro SD card slot) and 6 GB of ram.

Without giving full specs (read on the Huawei website), you should know the basic firepower behind these phones is powered by amazing engine, where all parts work as a SoC (system on a chip) :

  • Kirin 970 (5.5 million transistors in a space measuring a single square centimeter)
  • Octa-core CPU (4 x Cortex A73 2.36 GHz + 4 x Cortex A53 1.8 GHz) + i7 co-processor
  • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • NPU: Neural Network Processing Unit
I’ve had really good computers with less power than this phone (as a matter of fact I’m writing on one now).

The Kirin 970 chip has an embedded, groundbreaking Security Engine. The security engine of the Network Intelligent Protection (NIP) analyzes and recovers network traffic intensively and protects vulnerabilities from being exploited by drive-by downloads and social engineering attacks.

They have been addressing security for years through their NIP. For the nerds among us, a fascinating Huawei technical white paper on the subject can be found here.

Here are my favorite features of the Huawei technology (besides the lightning fast speed).

Battery, Smart Power Management and SuperCharge Technology

While we can all argue what’s important to us on our phones, I believe that battery life is the most mentioned pain point. There are no worries about battery life with these phones. The 4,000mAh battery (unbelievably) can carry me through a day and a half to two days of use. Now I don't charge my phone overnight, I merely top off during the day.

The Smart Power Management is powered by the phone’s NPU (Neural Processor). It learns over time which apps you use and allocates resources as needed so that power-waste is minimized.

SuperCharge technology is just that. Super. I’ve found that a 100% charge on my Mate 10 Pro can be accomplished within an hour of charging. According to Huawei, it’s 300% faster than wireless charging. Initially, this gave me pause, but the 15 layer power safety system is certified as safe by TÜV Rheinland, an internationally recognized testing laboratory. (If you’re curious as to whether a device of yours has been certified, you can search the brand name on the TÜV Rheinland Certificate Database here.)

Desktop mode operation

There are solutions from other handset vendors, but I’m not all about spending over $200 in additional equipment for a complex connection. I much preferred spending $10 on a USB-C to HDMI cable. With the Mate 10 a simple cable enables a mobile desktop from the phone to an external display (which is pictured at the top of this post).

I don’t bring my laptop with me when I travel as I used to. I find using a tablet suffices when I’m away for a few days. But there are times when I get an urgent email from an editor and I need a keyboard and a larger monitor. Also, last minute PowerPoint changes are often necessary.

There’s a virtual keyboard that appears if you open an app that needs it. There’s also the ability to connect both a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Microsoft Office products work well on the phone and it’s easy to use them on a larger screen. I haven’t, but can’t wait until I use, the phone to present a PowerPoint when I’m speaking by tapping the screen. (By the way the phone knows that you're presenting, and won't interrupt with notifications).

When you’re in desktop mode, you can use the built in mobile touchpad in place of a mouse.

Also I’m not a fan of holding up my phone to show a friend pictures; it’s a clumsy task. If your friend has a USB-C to HDMI cable, you can bore entertain your friends in style with a slideshow from your latest trip (or family photos) on their 65” TV.

Text and Voice translator

It’s not magic, the phone has the first fully neural “on device” translation with the Microsoft Translator app for Android, customized for the Huawei Mate 10. Since I travel Internationally, I have tried translation apps before, but this app functions fully without an Internet connection. Prior to a trip, I can download any of over 50 offline language packs right to the phone.

The app combines Microsoft’s neural machine translation (NMT) with Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for accelerating AI computing tasks. This results in dramatically better and faster offline translations as compared to existing offline packs.

You can easily instantly translate from typed text, spoken words (conversations too) or from a sign.

Professional Camera

With all the AI happening, you probably don’t even need to do anything but point the camera in the right direction. Even if you have shaky hands, the Optical Image Stabilization saves the day.

The NPU (once again) drives the camera (along with a f/1.6 aperture lens and laser focus) to take great images. Huawei taught the NPU through machine learning to identify what you are taking a picture of and adjust for the best parameters.

It recognizes about a dozen different scenes, Below is a screen grab from Flo Kaheli’s video review of the phone. Notice the little knife and fork in the corner indicating that it’s taking a photo of food. When I take pictures of my cat, a tiny cat appears aside of the image. I’ve seen symbols for portrait, trees, sunsets, mountains, food and people.

Both the Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro have dual Leica 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel RGB rear, 8-megapixel front.

Everything you need is in the box

When you get a Huawei phone, they don’t skimp. There’s no running out to buy additional accessories before you use the phone. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro came with a SuperCharger, a clear silicone case, earbuds, and a connector..

If you’re curious as to how this phone holds up against the iPhone X, take a look at Diana Adams head to head review.

It’s really sad that AT&T backed out of the deal to sell Huawei phones just prior to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world and this would have been a big step for them.

At CES, when Richard Yu took the stage for his featured keynote, he gave a solid presentation about the features of the phone and then, at the end of his presentation, a single slide appeared, entitled “Something I want to share.”

Mr. Yu spoke honestly about how he felt about AT&T pulling out of the deal. He had two memorable quotes in his deeply personal aside:
Everybody knows that in the US market that over 90 percent of smartphones are sold by carrier channels. It’s a big loss for us, and also for carriers, but the more big loss is for consumers, because consumers don’t have the best choice.”
“We win the trust of the Chinese carriers, we win the trust of the emerging markets… and also we win the trust of the global carriers, all the European and Japanese carriers. We are serving over 70 million people worldwide. We’ve proven our quality, we’ve proven our privacy and security protection.”
The phones will still be available unlocked in the United States through Amazon and Best Buy.

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