Now that everyone can kind of pronounce the company‘s name, Huawei (Huh-wha-way) looks to get a good foothold in the African and particularly South African smartphone market. Last week Thursday saw the Chinese company officially unveil the Huawei P8 to the Southern African media and invited guests.
As ever I left work (currently consulting in Rosebank, Johannesburg) and gave myself enough time to get to the venue through peak hour traffic. The event was hosted at the Johannesburg Country Club in Woodmead. On my way there I was thinking about just how Huawei would approach the launch, would it be an intimate press release or something bigger? Well, driving towards the parking area at the JCC my questions were immediately answered.
Towering above the trees and blocking most of the northern Johannesburg skyline was a HUGE white dome, erected on a flat piece of grass and measuring about the length of a rugby field. Huawei was going big (like Samsung-big!). Approaching the massive dome I was greeted by a group of Huawei promo-girls who got me registered, tagged and provided with a hot glass of Gluwein in under a minute. I made my way to the separate welcome Bedouin-tent setup and started mingling with other media representatives.
As the sun set I started noticing that a lot of people were arriving. And among them many celebrities. Miss South Africa was there (with sash, crown and all) as well as a variety of South African rugby stars (basically everyone that wasn‘t part of the Springbok setup). They were easy enough to spot though, towering a head or two above everyone else.
At around 18:00 they ushered the media invitees to a smaller replica dome erected behind the big one. We were greeted by Charlene Munilall (GM Consumer Business Group SA) and we were presented with the Huawei P8 through styling and technical presentations from Yudi Rambaran (Director Product Marketing SA) and Jaco van Zyl (Director Product Marketing East & Southern Africa). After the presentations the media was allowed a Q&A session where the following facts emerged:
- The Huawei P8 will arrive in SA by the end of July
- The P8 will have 2 free screen or board replacements over 24 months (Huawei Select)
- The P8 will retail at around R7999 (which is a crazy good price)
High-Level Huawei P8 specs:
– 5.2″ FHD Screen, 1080p (1920 x 1080), 424ppi
– Hisilicon Kirin 930, 8-core 64bit, 2.0GHz (3GB RAM)
– G-Sensor, Gyroscope sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity sensor, Compass, Accelerometer
– 13 Mega pixel main Camera, OIS, RBGW sensor, DSLR-level Image Signal Processor, 1080p video recording/1080p video playback; F2.0; Dual color temperature flash. 8 Mega pixel front Camera
After the media launch we made our way outside to find that the party was heating up very quickly. Even more people have arrived and waiters, entertainers and ushers were running round like headless chickens. After a home-affairs-like wait at the bar for a beer I started stalking the waiters just to get some food in to calm the hunger pains. Just as I was about to scrape enough courage together to greet Victor Matfield the doors to the big dome opened and a host lasers accompanied by an inspirational backtrack lured everyone in. I took a seat right in front (to get some good pics obviously) as the ear-deafening soundtrack came to a climax and the lights dimmed.
On strolled funny man Eugene Khoza and the beautiful Jeannie D to greet the crowd. What followed was basically the same presentation we got about an hour ago, just with a lot more lights, video, drama and fire-works (like real pyrotechnics). After everyone was suitably excited and revved up, Huawei‘s Charlene Munilall stepped up and introduced J Something (from famous music group “œMi Casa“) as Huawei‘s new Creative Director (and of course he would be performing later that evening).
After all the pomp and circumstance the public was invited behind the huge stage where the Huawei team set up almost a hundred P8‘s for viewing and all round gawking. The P8 is about the size of the iPhone 6 but due to its extremely thin bezels it has a 5.2 inch display opposed to the 4.7 inch found on the Apple. The phone has an extremely premium feel due to the aluminium unibody and the slightly curved bezel finish just rounds off a real good looking device. The screen is bright and punchy and the camera app has a few amazing features like “œstar-trails“, “œbest-selfie“ and director mode. The UI is very reminiscent of iOS. Gone is the Android app-tray and in its place you find a very Applely user interface (even the quick-link bars look the same!)
From the great P8 launch I have to say that Huawei have really made their mark as a contender in the South African smartphone market. We can‘t wait to get our hands on the P8 for a full review. But until such time we will have to wait and see how the Chinese company ramps up the hype for the official public release at the end of the month.
Follow Jaco on Twitter: @Jaco_vdWalt