Huawei was among the first to reveal its wares today (2 September) at Europe's largest consumer technology show, IFA in Berlin. In the build-up to its press conference the Chinese giant, now the third-largest smartphone supplier in the world, promised products that will "touch your life" and touch technology was at the core of many of its announcements.
First out of the blocks was a new flagship smartphone, the Huawei Mate S. Announcing the 5.5in handset, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, made much of its comfort and beauty. The Mate S features a dual diamond-cut all-metal metal body measuring 2.65mm at its thinnest point. A comfort curve across the back of the device is matched on with a Full HD Gorilla Glass 4-fronted display.
True to its promise, the Mate S features some intriguing touch-based innovations. A Fingerprint Sense 2.0 touch sensor sits on the rear of the handset to facilitate one-handed operation whether for answering calls or, as Yu demonstrated on stage, taking a selfie.
Knuckle Sense, first seen on the Huawei P8, can tell the difference between different parts of your finger, letting you launch apps by swiping – or "knuckling", if you will – an "M" to open a music app, a "C" for Camera, "W" for weather and so on.
Worth the weight?
Pipping Apple to the post, the Mate S screen also features Force Touch technology to help it distinguish between a tap, swipe or forceful press on the screen. While this pressure sensitivity could open up some new user interface possibilities – a hard press to zoom in on an image, for example – Huawei also appeared to claim it could also be used to weigh things. We will be the first to let you know if the Mate S might be able to replace your kitchen scales in due course, although it appears Force Touch will only be available in the 128GB model of the phone.
Yet again a manufacturer promises DSLR-quality images from its smartphone but the Mate S looks likely to produce decent enough snaps. The rear camera here is a 13MP affair with optical image stabilisation and a sapphire-protected lens, while a Professional Mode offers more manual controls that many. An 8MP camera sits on the front with a "soft lighting" flash and Huawei's "latest beautify algorithm".
Rounding up the rest of the Mate S specs, a water-resistant nano-coating will keep the handset happy when wet or dry and 3-microphone directional listening helps to record meetings and conversations.
The Mate S will be available in versions with 32GB, 64GB and 128GB of storage. Pre-ordering commences on 15 September with devices priced at €649 (£476, $730) (32GB) and €699 (64GB) although there is no word yet on availability of the 128GB Force Touch model.
At the press event, Huawei also announced the Huawei Watch, first revealed at Mobile World Congress earlier in 2015, and the Huawei G8 smartphone.
UPDATED 03 Sep 2015 to reflect availability of Force Touch function.