New models blur boundaries between phones, DSLR photography
Smartphone vendors have upgraded screen and camera technologies, including a 200-mega-pixel (MP) camera and professional blur effects, to woo consumers in a sluggish Chinese market.
Honor, a brand spun off Huawei, launched Honor90 models in Chengdu, southwestern Sichuan Province, this week, offering upgrades on the rear camera to 200 MP, the top level among all smartphones now. The portrait photo optimization offers users special blurs similar to those generated by professional DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras.
“The gap between DSLR and smartphones is gradually blurring,” said Zhao Ming, Honor president.
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE
China’s smartphone sales will continue to decline this year, falling to 260 million units from 270 million units in 2022, Zhao claimed, adding that the market downtrend has forced all brands to focus on innovations.
Also on Wednesday, Honor established a new chip design firm in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, with a registered capital of around 100 million yuan (US$14.1 million).
Sales of Honor90, with a starting price of 2,499 yuan, will start next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, vivo released its S17 model on Wednesday with an optimized portrait camera, featuring strong performance in dark environments thanks to ray tracing sensors and a stabilization design.
At night, the S17 phones, also with a starting price of 2,499 yuan, offer similar or even better performance on portraits compared to DSLR cameras, according to vivo, the third biggest smartphone vendor in China.
The S17 models boast a super retina screen with eye-protection features while offering clear, bright and vivid images. Honor90 also features a screen supporting 120 Hz refresh and over 1,000 nit brightness with eye protection design.
China’s smartphone market sales slumped 11.8 percent year on year to 65.4 million units in the first quarter this year. OPPO took the top position with a 19.6 percent market share, followed by Apple, vivo, Honor and Xiaomi, according to researcher International Data Corp or IDC.
Firms, including Honor, Realme and vivo, have launched new models and are offering coupons for the upcoming 618 shopping festival, the biggest mid-year online campaign in China.
In June, Apple will have a limited-time promotion in China, offering up to 1,700 yuan discount for an iPhone 14, through online retailer channels like Alibaba’s Taobao and JD.com.