And for good reason. Given the sea of rumours we’ve seen hitting the cyber highways over the last few months both (currently unconfirmed) big-screen phones look like huge improvements on last year’s Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
These have included rumblings about everything from cutting edge quad-camera setups to super-fast AI chips that’ll make both phones radically smarter. All-in-all, if even a fraction of the rumours turn out to be true both the Galaxy Note 10 and Mate 30 would have been stellar rivals that gave the phablet market the shake up it has needed for oh, so long.
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I say “would have been” for one key reason: Google and the US government have completely moved the goalposts.
This happened over the weekend, when at the behest of the White House Google cut new Huawei phones off from any official Android software support and services. This means that any future Huawei handset won’t be able to access a range of key features, like Google Maps and the Play Store.
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Huawei may have to use the open source version of Android – which is very stripped down compared to the consumer release version you’ll find on most handsets – if it wants to upgrade its phones to new versions of the OS, like Android Q.
It’s a cataclysmic move that severely damages any future Huawei phones’ chances of competing in the Western market. This will likely (and sadly) be the case for the Mate 30, which is a huge blow not just to Huawei but general consumers.
Putting aside the tit-for-tat arguments about security, the Mate 30 was important for one key reason: it was the first phablet in ages that looked set to shake up the ongoing duopoly in the big screen phone market.
Traditionally when picking a top-end phablet consumers have had two high-end choices. The Galaxy Note for Android fans and, for iPhone users, the Plus or Max variant of that year’s flagship.
While both the Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone XS Max are stellar phablets, the situation has also led to a bit of stagnation in the big-screen smartphone space. For the last few years both phablet families have been treated to refinements, rather than complete overhauls.
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Which is why this year we were super excited about seeing the Mate 30 shake things up. Huawei has a strong track record forcing innovation in the smartphone space. It (debatably) made dual sensor cameras a thing with its Huawei P9.
The P9 forced rival phone makers to improve their handsets’ photography powers, and it’s a key reason we’ve seen an exponential improvement in mobile photography tech over the last three years.
We here at Trusted Towers had high hopes the Mate 30 was going to do something similar for the phablet space this year. Though with the Google block, that idea might be nothing more than a pipe dream.