Forget iPhone XS: Huawei Is Actually Innovating with the Mate 20 Pro

If Huawei whisperer Roland Quandt and the code hounds at XDA-developers are right, Huawei may be adding some actually useful features to its new Mate 20 Pro that will set it apart from its competition.

Credit: Roland Quandt

(Image credit: Roland Quandt)

Quandt has the wildest theory based on the image above: The phone, which will be powered by the new 7-nanometer Kirin 980 processor, will charge Huawei’s new wireless pods — called the Freebuds 2 Pro — just by placing them on top of the phone itself. The phone will work just like a reverse powermat, which I find plausible albeit somewhat unbelievable.

If true, it will be a remarkably clever thing that will come very handy if your new Freebuds 2 Pro — which look just like perfect Apple Airpods clones — decide to die in the middle of the day. If this functionality really comes through, we can expect Huawei’s incoming Watch competitor to use it as well.

As for the camera, XDA-developers found code that shows several new artificial intelligence-powered features in the phone’s three-sensor setup.

The most useful ones are the video bokeh and smart zoom features. The video bokeh will process the captured footage in real time, distinguishing foreground objects from backgrounds just like the Huawei P20 or the iPhone Xs do while taking photos but with video.

MORE: Huawei Mate 20 Rumors: Specs, Release Date and More

The code contains references to different bokeh processing modes that will affect the way your backgrounds look, blurring lights with different shapes like circles, hexagons, 4-point stars, and diamonds — but also silly modes like butterflies and hearts.

Credit: XDA Developers

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

The AI Zoom is the other really useful trick: according to XDA-developers, the artificial intelligence “will automatically adjust the zoom level to keep your subject centered.” If you have ever used zoom in a smartphone, you will know how hard is to keep a steady image unless you are using a tripod.

The other two camera hacks are an underwater mode and real-time video filters.

The former will be useful when using the phone during the summer in a pool or in the sea. Apparently, Huawei is planning to sell air-tight cases to allow you to do that, using the processor to correct color and distortions to get a clear shot while shooting underwater.

The real-time video filters — called AI Cinema — will apply different types of effects and color correction filters using the new Kirin 980 processor's dual neural processing units to recognize the objects in the scene, just like the video bokeh. XDA-developers claims that the filters available are AI Color, Background Blur, Fresh, Vintage, and Suspense.

I can imagine what the color correction or the background blurring is, but I have no idea about the rest. I imagine it will add better quality versions of post-processing filters you can find in video editing software. My only problem with this is that, if the Huwaei Mate 20 Pro burns these effects in the footage as it records, then there will be no way to undo it and you will be stuck with an effect you may not like at all.

Huawei is supposed to release both he Mate 20 Pro and the Freebuds 2 Pro at an even in London on October 16.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.