If only Huawei’s handsome, high-tech Honor Magic phone was coming to the US

Next Story

Vine won’t be removed from the app stores, will instead relaunch as “Vine Camera”

Lucky China, always getting the good stuff. First pandas, and now the Huawei Honor Magic. This curvy beauty is packed with interesting tech, from a dual-camera system on the back to an eye-tracking sensor from Tobii on the front — and a whole lot of custom software in between.

The display underneath that lovely smooth glass is a 5-inch AMOLED one with a 2560×1440 resolution, giving it an exceedingly high 577 PPI. Dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back, one color and one monochrome, should produce excellent imagery.

The frame is itself a sensor, the home button is also a fingerprint reader, and on the front is an eye-tracking unit from Tobii, which generally builds them into laptops and monitors — this is the first smartphone they’ve put one in.

“The consumer electronics industry is placing emphasis on eye tracking as a new, exciting interaction modality,” said Tobii Tech president Oscar Werner in a press release. “We see this happening simultaneously in gaming, VR and smartphones.”

facecode

It’s used for a multi-factor authentication technique Huawei calls WiseScreen. When you pick up the phone, the frame senses how you’re holding it, and Tobii sensor checks your eyes. If you pass, it unlocks right away. Face recognition is also built in, and you can register your face and a few other ones that can check notifications. The usual caveats for biometric authentication apply, of course.

As if that wasn’t “Magic” enough, Huawei’s custom Android build adds context-sensitive information to Wechat, maps, and the browser, giving you the usual AI assistant stuff: movie times, directions, tracking numbers, that sort of thing. One I might actually use: hold down the home button in the browser and it’ll pull up lots more info on whatever page you’re visiting, presumably more news stories, Wikipedia entries and so on.

Alas, as with many of Huawei’s devices, this one is China-only, with little chance of appearing on this side of the Pacific. But if it’s a hit, you can probably expect some of these features, or let’s hope this fabulous design at least, to appear in an international device. We’ll be sure to check this thing out when we’re at CES in a couple weeks; in the meantime, more info is available at JD if you can read it.