Now that Mobile World Congress has been cancelled, many consumers (and media for that matter) are wondering when and where 2020’s new flagships phones will be announced.

When it comes to Huawei, the Chinese firm was believed to have something in store for the Barcelona-based event, as well as a standalone press conference for the next P-series device a few weeks later.

Perhaps more importantly for South Africans is whether those new flagship phones would be landing locally, following Huawei’s choice to delay the launch of the Mate 30 Pro last year.

Speaking to media at an event at its Johannesburg campus earlier today, Huawei Mobile South Africa CTO, Akhram Mohamed, explained that the company fully intends to launch the new P-series devices in the country this year. He also noted that South Africa remains a first wave nation for Huawei, and as such should be one of the first regions to receive the device.

“We did not confirm any model name. What we can say is that South Africa is a very important country for Huawei, so should we launch flagships globally, the likeliness is very high that they will be in South Africa,” he noted.

“South Africa is still a first wave country. The only time a device would not come into the country is if we (Huawei Mobile South Africa) choose to do so, which is what happened last year (with the Mate 30 Pro). Right now we have full confidence, and whatever happens globally we intend to have it in South Africa,” he adds.

The difference with these new 2020 flagship phones is that they will be running the firm’s HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) platform on top of a version of Android. This solution will help circumvent the lack of official Google Play services, the firm believes, which was a key reason why the Mate 30 Pro never officially launched in the country in 2019.

As for the name of the device, Mohamed would not go into that detail, simply stating that the next P-series lineup is destined for SA. As such recent reports that the device would be called the P40 are slightly premature at this stage.

Either way it should be interesting to see how local consumers react to the forthcoming batch of devices running HMS, with Huawei going to great lengths to educate them on what the in-hand experience will be like, as well as how they can access their favourite apps.

“What we will be bringing to every consumer’s attention, and why we are increasing our presence at retailers, is that prior to the purchase we will have the devices in-store. We will offer them enough opportunity to experience it, what the differences are going to be, so all of that will be communicated,” says Mohamed.

“Then of course the customer is making an informed decision,” he concludes.

Locally then it looks as if Huawei is ramping up its efforts on the application and ecosystem side of things to be more competitive in 2020. Whether it can reach that number one vendor spot and overtake Samsung, which has been its aim for some time now, remains to be seen.