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Huawei P9 Launches in Sri Lanka

Just a couple of days ago Huawei unveiled its new flagship device, the P9, together with its distributing partner, Singer Sri Lanka. The event was well publicised and a bit of a pageant, with all types of media coverage, LED walls, photography displays, and looping EDM tracks. The event was patronised by Shunli Wang – CEO Huawei Sri Lanka, Henry Liu – country head Huawei Device Sri Lanka, Asoka Pieris – Group CEO Singer Sri Lanka and Mahesh Wijewardene – director Commercial and Marketing Singer Sri Lanka. So, yes, there were plenty of industry names at the event.

 

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It was all a bit over the top, really. The three screens played loud, pulsing videos that would make an epileptic run for cover. Costumed individuals ran up to the stage, pretending to take pictures while videos of various environments played in the background, and Natasha Rathnayake sang the Huawei theme song. I didn’t even know they had a theme song, but it beat the EDM loops. There were even two comperes who ran the proceedings in two languages, and kept referring to the P9 as “not a camera-phone but a camera you can make calls with.” Go figure.

 

The Huawei representatives then came on stage to introduce the device and run us through the specs. Country head Henry Liu said, “Today is an exciting day for the whole of Sri Lanka. The new Huawei P9 flagship device combines groundbreaking innovations and exceptional design, setting a new standard in smartphone photography.”

 

The phone itself, was brought on stage by two female models. While being slimmer than many (the phone, not the model), its looks are rather unremarkable, with a textured aluminium body available in gold, silver or black. It does pack some punch under the hood, however, with a new Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 5.2 inch 1080p display, and 3,000mAh battery, that I’m sure we could all appreciate. But what makes the P9 truly interesting is the fact that its camera is manufactured by Leica, a german manufacturer of high quality cameras that is pretty well known by photographers worldwide. This is the first time Leica has ventured into manufacturing cameras for smartphones, and the partnership is a pretty score for Huawei.

 

The rear of the phone has two cameras, one which takes pictures in colour, and the other which takes it in monochrome. The phone then layers these two images together creating a composite with much more clarity and depth to it than pictures from other phone cameras. This is the primary selling point of the P9: a good smartphone with a pretty great camera. In the age of Facebook and Instagram, it’s a pretty safe bet that a phone with a camera as good as this will be pretty attractive to most people.

 

Huawei is the world’s number three smartphone brand, and they are pushing hard to be the top selling brand in Sri Lanka. Huawei has partnered with the pop duo, Bathiya and Santhush, to be their digital brand ambassadors for next year, and with Singer Sri Lanka as their national distributors.

 

Asoka Pieris, the Group CEO of Singer, said, “As the exclusive national distributor, we are today proud (sic) to take this truly remarkable device to the people of this country. Integrating the design values and engineering excellence of Huawei and Leica in a smartphone photography system co-engineered by the two companies, the P9 brings together best-in-class hardware and software for the discerning smartphone user in Sri Lanka.”

 

Huawei did one thing at the launch that was quite brilliant. They got Sri Lankan photographers to take pictures using the P9 that were framed and displayed at the launch event. The photographers whose work was displayed were Devaka Senevirathne, Natalie Soysa, Jehan Seedin and Siyath Ranathunge. The photographs were quite good. Of course, the ones who took the pictures were professionals in their field, but the depth of colour, the focus and the clarity were all pretty impressive for a smartphone camera. Natalie and Devaka came up on stage to give their impression of the device, which was all positive. This, more than anything else, makes me believe that the P9 may actually hold its own against any point-and-shoot cameras out there.

 

While the P9 does not distinguish itself through any of its usual features, the Leica camera definitely lifts it a cut above the rest. It remains to be seen how the phone functions as a whole, but the P9 has a pretty good chance at gaining a firm hold in the market. The P9 is priced at LKR 75,999 and there is a Lite version for LKR 39,999. The phones can be purchased at Singer outlets.

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