Huawei Mate 40 to use free-form lenses, Kirin 1020

The Huawei P40 has just been announced and, naturally, the rumor mill for this year's next Mate flagship has already started turning. Huawei's phones have consistently taken the top spots in photography benchmarks and reviews but Huawei seems to be far from done. Its next trick isn't going to be about the imaging sensor. Instead, it will put the focus on a new free-form lens.

Expect Huawei to throw in marketing buzzwords in explaining what a free-form lens is and how it's different or better than what we already have. In fact, it will have to do a lot of explaining to make the idea more understandable for even the most tech-savvy smartphone user. That's because free-form lenses are more often used in the context of prescription glasses.

According to Ming-chi Kuo, the analyst more famous for his Apple forecasts. that is exactly what Huawei is planning to put on the Mate 40 later this year. Specifically, the specially crafted optics (described by one site as a stack of Pringles in a can) will use that same technology to minimize the deformation produced in conventional wide-angle lenses, specifically spherical aberration.

That isn't the only big change coming to the Huawei Mate 40. There will also be a new Kirin processor, naturally, but one that will finally make the jump Huawei refused to make since last year. The Kirin 1020 is expected to use the latest Cortex-A77 or even unannounced Cortex-A78 cores this year. In contrast, the Kirin 990, which was announced last year, stopped at Cortex-A76 for cost-efficiency reasons.

These improvements will naturally be on par for a late 2020 Huawei flagship, even if it is only the Kirin 1020 upgrade that comes to pass. That said, while Huawei will most likely still be at the top of some benchmarks, its real problem goes deeper and farther all the way to the West.