​Huawei unwraps 6-inch Mate 8 flagship phablet - running Android Marshmallow

Huawei has launched the Mate 8 phablet, its first smartphone featuring the new Kirin chip and a Nexus 6P-like fingerprint scanner.

Global rollout of the flagship Mate 8 phablet is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. Image: Huawei

China's Huawei has announced its flagship Mate 8 phablet, which will be the first new handset other than Google's latest Nexus duo to ship with Android Marshmallow.

The company took the wraps off the Mate 8 today in Shanghai, China, where the 6-inch display smartphone will be available ahead of a global rollout scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. Huawei intends to unveil the flagship for these markets at CES 2016.

The metal-finished smartphone is running on Huawei's recently announced Kirin 950 system on a chip with four A72 2.3GHz and four A53 1.8GHz processors. It also features a Mali T880 GPU and Huawei's i5 processor, which powers its speech-recognition, low-power consumption, navigation and low-power functions.

One impressive feat, perhaps aided by Huawei's efforts on Google's Nexus 6P, is that the Mate 8 is the first new phone to ship with Google's latest OS in the form of Huawei's Android Marshmallow 6.0-based EMUI 4.0 mobile OS.

As a flagship, Huawei has given the successor to last year's Mate 7 an expensive look and feel, boasting an aluminium body and a generous 83 percent screen-to-body ratio -- roughly 10 percent more than Huawei's iPhone 6S challenger, the 5.5-inch Mate S, released in September.

Like Google's Huawei-made Nexus 6P, the Mate 8 comes with a fingerprint sensor in the middle of the back of the device, though the Mate 8's main camera is directly above the sensor, compared with the Nexus 6P's left-sitting camera on the black bar.

On the camera front, the Mate 8 outdoes the Nexus 6P with a 16-megapixel main shooter and an 8MP selfie-snapper, while its full HD display has screen density of 368 pixels per inch.

The handset also comes with a 4,000mAh non-replaceable battery, but unlike the Nexus 6P's reversible USB Type C, Huawei opted for a standard USB 2.0.

Exactly which editions will be available globally remains to be seen. However, Huawei is selling the Mate 8 in China in three editions: 3GB RAM with 32GB storage, 4GB RAM with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM with 128GB storage.

Prices start 2,999 RMB ($469). The handset is available in gold, silver, grey and mocha brown.

Formerly known only as a telecoms networking vendor, Huawei in a very brief period has become the world's third-largest smartphone vendor and is on track to sell around 100 million smartphones this year as it continues to push into the higher end of the smartphone market.

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