Huawei has done it at least a couple of times in the past. And the Chinese company has done it again. That’s quite surprising because Huawei’s flagship phones are among the world’s best smartphone cameras. If your phones offer the best smartphone cameras, why would you want to use stock DSLR photos and try to pass them as pictures taken with your flagship phone? Doesn’t seem right, right? Huawei has once again been caught using DSLR photos in the Huawei P30 marketing campaign. The company didn’t explicitly say it, but implied that the pictures were taken using the Huawei P30 series.
‘Misunderstanding’ on the Huawei P30 controversy
After having made the same mistake more than once, Huawei seems to have learned little from its past blunders. Maybe the company is deliberately trying to mislead users with its questionable marketing. The company is set to launch the Huawei P30 series phones at an event in Paris on March 26th.
To drum up consumer excitement, Huawei’s Richard Yu shared a series of pictures on Chinese microblogging site Weibo to showcase the phone’s zoom capabilities. The company has confirmed that the upcoming P30 Pro would feature a ‘super-zoom’ periscope camera. However, the pictures shared by Huawei were taken using professional cameras rather than its smartphones.
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Huawei’s Weibo post didn’t have any disclaimer to clarify that the images were taken using DSLRs instead of its upcoming phones. The company added a disclaimer only after being caught. Folks at GSMArena pointed out that the picture showing a child and ducks was published by photographer Jake Olson in 2016 instead of being clicked by the P30. According to GadgetMatch, another picture of an Indonesian volcano is nearly identical to a photo taken by Tom Pfeiffer in 2009.
Only after the origins of the pictures were revealed online did Huawei add a disclaimer to its post noting that the pictures were meant for creative purposes only. It was misleading because it gave the impression that you could achieve the same level of image quality and bokeh effect with the Huawei P30 series phones.
Having compared the “fake” Huawei P30 sample shots grabbed by GSMAreana with the ones in Richard Yu’s weibo post, it’s safe to say that Huawei updated the pics with a disclaimer *after* being called out. This wouldn’t have been an issue if this was done in the first place. pic.twitter.com/8RmRPFWcIO
— Richard Lai (@richardlai) March 12, 2019
Huawei responded to the whole episode by saying that there could have been a “misunderstanding.” In a statement to Android Authority, the Chinese company said the pictures were only teaser posters that were meant to highlight the “unique new features that will come with the Huawei P30 series.” The Chinese company has “acquired the licenses to the original images.” But the burning question is – why didn’t Huawei add the disclaimer in the original post to begin with? It could have avoided the whole embarrassing incident.
An isolated incident or a habit?
This is not the first time Huawei was caught testing the limits of ethical marketing practices. Last year, the company was caught cheating on benchmark scores to artificially inflate the scores of its phones. Also in 2018, a behind-the-scenes picture from a Huawei Nova 3 ad revealed that the selfie shown in the ad was taken with a DSLR rather than the Nova 3 phone. Back in 2016, the company had tried to pass a picture taken on a $4,500 camera as a photo clicked with its P9 smartphone.
Anyway, we will get a better look at Huawei P30’s super-zoom periscope camera when the company unveils its new flagship on March 26 in Paris. According to the rumor mill, the P30 would feature 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal memory. The more expensive P30 Pro would get 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. Both handsets are said to run Huawei’s own Kirin 980 processor. Huawei is also rumored to launch a ‘Lite’ version of its flagship phone.
There is little chance the Chinese company would launch the phones in the US market. The US and many other Western nations have accused that Huawei gives the Chinese government a backdoor for spying on other countries. Last year, the US government asked AT&T and Verizon not to carry Huawei phones due to national security fears. The US had also arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO and daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.
Earlier this month, the Chinese company sued the US government over the ban on its equipment. Despite little presence in the US, Huawei managed to sell more than 200 million smartphones last year. It shipped more than 10 million units of Mate 20 in just four and a half months.