The Huawei P20 is slated to launch in March and, while recent leaks have focused on its iPhone X-esque notch, Huawei's official invite might have outed its big distinguishing feature: a whopping three rear-facing cameras.
In a market where dual-lens setups haven’t quite become the majority – the Google Pixel 2 and iPhone 8 get by just fine with only one – leap-frogging over the competition with three lenses might seem like overkill.
But, a look back at a 2017 leak might illustrate what Huawei has in mind for its triple play of lenses.
Is the next Huawei P-series going to be an imaging powerhouse? A digital artist at one of the company's creative agencies added these "PCE Series" ads to their portfolio -- claiming 40MP, 3 lens rear (5x hybrid zoom) + 24MP selfie, all Leica-co-developed. pic.twitter.com/t8w3VlL55LDecember 6, 2017
Given the uncharted territory of putting three lenses in a smartphone, it's hard to say exactly how it will fit into Huawei's equation. Its traditional duo of lenses at work in phones like the Huawei Mate 10 Pro already cover monochrome and RGB duties – so what's left?
It seems most likely that it will use lens number three for depth-sensing, or it could combine that with a wide-angle capability. The invite also makes a mention of seeing more with AI, so Huawei might be expanding its list of supported scenes that the camera can quickly recognize, potentially enhanced by the third lens.
A potentially great camera setup
Looking back once again at the above tweet, the embedded photo makes a mention of 40 megapixels (MP). Based on Huawei’s proven implementation of a 20MP monochrome sensor and 12MP RGB sensor, the third might be an 8MP lens, which brings us to a total of 40MP.
Huawei already has solid footing in the mobile photography department, though it doesn’t quite stack up to the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S8 or iPhone X. Adding a third lens to the mix might not be the move to take the company beyond its competition, but if its AI can take on a bit more of the processing slack, the P20 might be the formidable phone to beat in 2018.
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