back to article And THIS is how you do it, Apple: Huawei shames Cupertino with under-glass sensor

Huawei previously used its Primark brand, Honor, to bring high-priced tech to a much more affordable package. But this time it's using Honor to introduce a feature the industry insisted it wasn't ready for: an under-glass fingerprint sensor. The new Honor 10 – which like the P20s has an optional, removable Notch – also …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is nobody pointing out that millions of Huawei mobiles (most of the range including the new p20) are currently crippled worldwide by a Google Play Services update sometime on or after 27 April?

    Many apps that use Maps, Barcodes, Payments or even displaying Ads just get an error stating "Update Google Play Services" even tho the phone and services are updated.

    Many attempts to contact Huawei have fallen on deaf ears.

    People who use Uber, Deliveroo etc (don't forget some people use them as their work tool) simply cannot use them (or they can with a workaround that last for a few hour, and wipes some information from their phone).

    Google have acknowledged the issue: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/79405933

    If this were an Apple or Samsung error, it would be front page!

    1. Lee D

      Because... I know a few people with Huawei phones and they have Google apps just fine, and update just fine, and install new apps from the store just fine.

      I imagine it may only be a particular model/region.

      1. K

        My boy has an Huawei and my partner has an Honor, both of them are working perfectly fine :)

      2. muttley
        Facepalm

        Priority P1 Severity S1 - yep, that's a bug Jim

        Yes, because "update just fine, and install new apps from the store just fine" is the same as Google Play *Services* update breaking apps that rely on Google's mapping framework. Google Maps works just fine, but that framework in any other app - including Android Auto simple map on the handset - is broken for many different Huawei handsets worldwide. Read the link in post 1 to the issue: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/79405933

        Clearing your Play Services cache fixes the issue - until the next reboot.

        And that's a pain, because you have to reauthorise cards in G Pay etc.

        Don't ask me how I know this <sigh>

        P9 Plus, A7.0

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Priority P1 Severity S1 - yep, that's a bug Jim

          Clearing your Play Services cache fixes the issue - until the next reboot.

          How often is a reboot necessary?

          1. Baldrickk

            How often is a reboot necessary?

            How good is the battery?

            I reboot my phone only when I can't plug it in for a while, or it needs to to run an update.

            So not too often.

            1. BillG
              Thumb Up

              Re: How often is a reboot necessary?

              I like to reboot once a week. It's a safe thing to do.

        2. muttley
          FAIL

          Re: Priority P1 Severity S1 - yep, that's a bug Jim

          https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/79405933#comment335

          av...@google.com <av...@google.com> #335 May 16, 2018 12:41AM

          In collaboration with Huawei, Google engineers have identified the root cause of this issue as an unexpected change to the filesystem permissions. The issue can impact any Android app on a Huawei device which renders a Google map. Our engineers are preparing a new version of Google Play Services which should resolve the problem. It will be targeted to devices running Android 7.0 Nougat, or higher. We will post another update with the status of the rollout.

          Thanks for your patience.

        3. Lee D

          Re: Priority P1 Severity S1 - yep, that's a bug Jim

          Again... there just aren't enough people affected to care.

          If literally Huawei phones couldn't run Google Maps, or some popular app that uses them (everything from OKCupid dating apps to games use that interface in the background!), then it would flag rather heavily with everyone who buys an Huawei phone.

          It doesn't. So it hasn't. Nobody is saying "your problem doesn't exist". We're saying that it's not as prevalent or as affecting as you seem to think. There are 200+ notes on that bug report. I'd expect THOUSANDS, tens of thousands, if it was actually impacting app developers to the extent you suggest.

          It's a niche issue that has happened to affect you and your uses. Nobody else (here or other places) even realised it was a problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it were an Apple or Samsung error

      It would have affected at least an order of magnitude more of El Reg's audience, and therefore be a much bigger story...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Not seeing it on any of our Hauwei devices (Mate 9 Pro, Mate 10 Pro and P Smart).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That sort of proves the point of the extreme Google dependency that Android phones have to be usable (and evidently now even then they are not), and Google is far from benign. It's a shame nobody has the clout to start a proper, new and actually free OS that is picked up in volume, because it's the volume that matters.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge
        Trollface

        @AC

        That sort of proves the point of the extreme Google dependency that Android phones have to be usable (and evidently now even then they are not), and Google is far from benign.

        Hmmmmmm... Google starts Android. Google maintains, develops, runs Android. And... you complain about an extreme Google dependency? The mind boggles...

        You're welcome to downvote this post. You know you want to, despite knowing I'm just pointing out the obvious. Go on. Click that downvote button. Go on. Do it. :-D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          Google starts Android?

        2. JohnFen

          Re: @AC

          " Google starts Android. Google maintains, develops, runs Android. And... you complain about an extreme Google dependency?"

          And yet, it's 100% possible to run an Android device that doesn't rely on any Google services, including Google Play services, at all.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @anothercynic

          You're welcome to downvote this post. You know you want to, despite knowing I'm just pointing out the obvious. Go on. Click that downvote button. Go on. Do it. :-D

          Actually I didn't give a toss either way. But as you insisted I offered you my solitary downvote.

        4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: @AC

          Android is open source, and, by default, doesn't actually use Google services much (if at all). I have a Kindle at home. It runs Android but is an Amazon device, so while it is heavily tied in to Amazon's ecosystem, it does not require Google access.

          The requirement for Google access come when you want to add things like the Google play store, which most phone manufacturers do. Amazon chose to use their own app store.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aww diddums the ikkle snowflakes can't use uber... my heart bleeds for dem...

    6. whatsyourShtoile
      Trollface

      Still works better than any Windows phone.

  2. el kabong

    A removable notch, that's Genius!

    It makes things so much simpler, more magical I'd say. When the notch breaks or malfunctions you just remove it and replace it with new one, no need to buy a new phone. More, you can customize the notch to your heart's content, just imagine the possibilities: colors, patterns, material choices; the aesthetic possibilities are endless.

    People pay through the nose for the privilege of owning a notched phone, but this... this is above all else, this takes the game to a whole new level. Congratulations Huawei.

    Pure genius. Take that, apple!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

      Who wants an effin notch in the first place? And can we put them on the B-Ark?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

        Who wants an effin notch in the first place?

        No one it's just that suppliers bet on it becoming standard so all the screens are being turned out with one. Remember 3D TVs? I hope it's going to be a like that and we'll have largely forgotten them in a couple of years.

        Hope Samsung or someone else goes on the offensive about not having a notch as I think there might be mileage in that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

          Difference being, a 3D TV usually has little to no change in quality (backlight strobing was better on those using that tech, less colour/brightness but only slightly on those using polarization) compared to the 2d version.

          The notch however. :(

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

            Most mid to high end TVs sold today are capable of 3D output - it's largely a function of having a high refresh rate (used for 2d output)

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Holmes

              Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

              Most mid to high end TVs sold today are capable of 3D output

              No shit, Sherlock. But the feature, a bit like the notch was touted before being ignored.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            A high priced con-venience

            But 3D TVs are actually useful!

            So when the glass screen inevitably cracks, the fingerprint sensor will probably lock you out of your phone. Definitely one for the flower children.

            1. Jeffrey Nonken

              Re: A high priced con-venience

              "So when the glass screen inevitably cracks, the fingerprint sensor will probably lock you out of your phone."

              Even I know better, and I've never used the fingerprint sensor. There's a backup unlock method.

            2. JohnFen

              Re: A high priced con-venience

              "But 3D TVs are actually useful!"

              They are?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

          The notch is a compromise since we can't put cameras underneath a display. Eventually it will be figured out (and it will be cooled the first time you see the display go black for a split second where the camera is when you take a picture) I don't see any way you could ever put a camera underneath an LCD display, but it should be possible with an OLED or microLED display.

          Probably the next step on this is a "not a notch, instead there are randomly sized holes where the notch would be" that isn't going to be an improvement - will probably look worse in fact. When it becomes possible to do I'm sure some OEMs will go that way just to separate from the crowd a bit.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. intrigid

              Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

              "How? There are going to be OLEDs or LEDs in the way. Turning them off won't make them miraculously invisible."

              I guess you weren't aware that OLED circuitry is actually invisible? The image itself obviously is visible, but if you look at the panel itself without any of the plastic casing they tend to put them it, it just looks like a plain old piece of glass.

          2. JohnFen

            Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

            "The notch is a compromise since we can't put cameras underneath a display."

            You don't need a notch or the ability to put cameras underneath the display. Just keep the bezel. Or, if you really hate bezels for some reason, just keep the top bezel.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

      When the notch breaks or malfunctions you just remove it and replace it with new one, no need to buy a new phone.

      I'm 99.9999% certain you're being sarcastic here, but just in case you're not...

      The notch isn't physically removable, the UI merely renders the notification icons in white with a black background to hide the notch. I picked up the P20 Pro work bought me the other day and that's how it works there. Surprisingly well, I have to add. (Although I'm never going to use an Android phone for anything other than presenting our awesome video tech and testing.)

    3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

      Notch se stink agterent. Hulle kan dit indruk waar die son nie skyn nie.

      I don't need a notch.

      1. emmanuel goldstein

        Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

        Liewe Heksie!

        It's optional so no need to shove anything anywhere. Not sure why you have been down voted though.

        Totsiens.

  3. iromko
    Holmes

    Too good to be true?

    Such a low price for such shiny piece of technology seems suspicious. It looks like desperate effort to put spy tool into as many user hands as possible before they get under sanctions as their comrades from ZTE did.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Too good to be true?

      Not really, it's about the same pricepoint as the OnePlus, and broadly similar specs IIRC?

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Too good to be true?

      Eh? But Huawei phones dont even come with Facebook installed?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too good to be true?

      No apple idiot tax

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Too good to be true?

      Skipping the Leica branding probably saved $100 alone.

    5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Too good to be true?

      I suspect you will find that Google does more 'spying' that ZTE

  4. djstardust

    Confusing .....

    The range of phones and names that Huawei / Honor have out at any time is just so confusing.

    They all look similar but there are vast differences in price with no rhyme nor reason to the feature set on the handsets.

    The fact they also bring out a new handset literally every week says it all.

    Samsung used to do this and have now cleaned up their act a bit.

    1. bpfh Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Confusing .....

      So nothing like "Samsung" "Galaxy" then... I don't know how much they cleaned up their act. At least when they started adding an incremental prefix it got a bit clearer then they came out with the "galaxy" "tab" range of tablets and fablets... though drop the galaxy and just use it's real name things can clear up a bit I still have no idea which one of the galaxies is the latest and greatest though today...

  5. TheProf
    Unhappy

    an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

    And there was me expecting to see an under-display fingerprint sensor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

      There is at least one model out with that, Lenovo I think? It might be a patent problem as always?

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

      Qualcomm are working in an ultrasonic fingerprint t sensor, and likely Apple too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

      Yeah, I don't get what the big deal is about putting it under glass. Lots of phones do that - Apple's are under sapphire in fact.

      The trick is putting it underneath the LCD/OLED display, and this phone has not done so. For it to be useful to Apple (or "shame" them) it would also have to be something that 1) works at least as reliably as Touch ID and 2) can be mass manufactured at a scale of 100 million the first year, 200 million the second.

      El Reg is hyping something totally meaningless here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

        Oh, there's a bit more: economics.

        Perhaps the question we should be asking is why aren't we seeing it in more phones?

        Good fingerprint readers cost money - a lot more than your standard part. Multiply that extra cost with the expected volume and it becomes a question if users actually care about its quality, and as far as I can tell, they don't care at all. Hence hanging on to the cheaper solutions.

        1. JohnFen

          Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

          "if users actually care about its quality, and as far as I can tell, they don't care at all."

          I don't care about fingerprint sensors at all, regardless of quality or whether they're under the display or not. It doesn't bother me if they're on the phone, but I don't use them.

    4. jimmy-o

      Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

      Yup, there's one out already. It looks pretty good, too:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSl9PfRX7WY

      Although I still prefer Face ID, because I have sweaty/dirty hands more often than I wear mirrored sunglasses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

        Mirrored sunglasses don't stop Face ID. They may be mirrored, but they aren't 100% reflective. For some reason the wraparound sunglasses I wear when biking causes more of a problem, I have to type in my password at least half the time. Or it could be the helmet, I suppose.

  6. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    I think the Huawei brand phones are the equivalent of the Acer brand laptops.

    High spec, cutting edge tech, but compromised by idiotic design faults and cheap materials in the manufacturing process.

    the sort of thing that you don't (or should not) get in the high end price brands.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Acer?

      You seem to have misspelt "Apple Laptops" there.

      1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

        Re: Acer?

        I was having a little poke at the apple fanboi's but no, I didnt misspell Apple. Apple cost a small fortune to buy and have repaired by apple plus the blood of your first born, but Acer are cheap..

  7. Bad Beaver

    More importantly: Headphone Jack

    Hey Apple!

  8. IGnatius T Foobar

    notches ... bah

    Thanks to the abusive "leadership" of Apple, phones without notches will soon be about as common as phones with slide-out keyboards. Thanks, Apple.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Synaptics. Whenever I hear that name I think of...

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/11/hp_synaptics_keylogger/

  10. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    So, what was this about?

    I read the article because Register put Apple in the headline. But this really has nothing to do with Apple.

    So what is Register saying, that if anyone else in the world innovates, it must be Apple's fault for having not done that? That would seem a compliment to Apple as being the biggest innovator, and others shouldn't dare to do anything.

    Or is it just the usual general spray at Apple that Register has? So anytime a competitor does something Apple does not have (or do), Apple is shamed for not having thought of it, or not doing it?

  11. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Primark

    Is "primark" a typo or am I just failing to keep up (as usual)?

  12. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Landfill radio

    Most Chinese phones have cheap radios that only work on one or two carriers. The Honor View10 for the US only supports a few LTE bands (2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17). It's designed to work reasonably well with AT&T and T-Mobile now but it will get slower as bands are traded and moved around. It won't be any good for traveling or switching to other carriers. That means fewer of these phones will be repaired once the batteries are worn out.

    1. IsJustabloke
      Facepalm

      Re: Landfill radio

      "It won't be any good for traveling"

      I've used my Honor 8 in the UK, France,Germany , Italy, New Zealand, USA and Hong Kong

      Yeah, I see what you mean, totally shit for travelling.

  13. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Aside from the clickbait headline, what exactly does this phone’s fingerprint sensor do that Apple’s doesn’t? They both work fine under glass.

  14. AndyMulhearn

    So when the glass screen inevitably cracks, the fingerprint sensor will probably lock you out of your phone. Definitely one for the flower children.

    Except that in the case of my phone, if the fingerprint sensor misreads the print and doesn't unlock, I'm presented with a keypad to enter my unlock code. So yes you may, well probably will, lose the ability to unlock using a fingerprint, you shouldn't be locked out of the phone.

    Errr, unless the manufacturer uses an incredibly stupid implementation. Ah well...

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Most devices I've seen using fingerprint readers, ask you to set a pin or password first, and will periodically ask for the pin/password anyway to unlock. They also won't let you disable/change the security settings without the pin/password.

  15. Iggle Piggle

    Are biometrics safe?

    There are those that say biometrics are not safe because, while you can always change your password, you cannot change your fingerprints, retina, or facial features. In other words if the possibility exists to duplicate your biometric identity you can never get it back. It's a little like not only using the same password for several sites but also not being allowed to change the password once it is set.

    That said I have a mobile phone with a fingerprint scanner on the unlock button and it is the simplest phone I've used ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are biometrics safe?

      The Sony solution seemed the best possible because putting the sensor on the side power button meant that there's no real chance of your accidentally leaving a nice oily fingerprint that worked right on the sensor button.

      Sadly they've now gone the way of everybody else.

    2. Nimby
      Joke

      you cannot change your fingerprints

      Sure you can! It's really easy. That's what scar tissue is for. Just juggle a chainsaw. Or install some new plumbing under the kitchen sink. Or build a PC in a cheap chassis. And then there's liquid nitrogen. Or playing with fire. Did you remember to unplug your soldering iron? Nope. New fingerprint!

      1. Francis Boyle

        Build a PC in a cheap chassis

        No thanks. I'll take the chainsaw juggling.

    3. JohnFen

      Re: Are biometrics safe?

      "In other words if the possibility exists to duplicate your biometric identity you can never get it back."

      This is a problem, and it's particularly bad when it comes to fingerprints because it's really easy to lift someone's print and use it to spoof fingerprint sensors.

  16. peterm3
    Go

    interesting if the software can be improved too

    I'm happy with my €330 Honor 9 but there is lots of bloatware and updates are not as rapid as I'd like. A stock Android is probably an unobtainable dream for phones like this which need to stand out from the crowd with "useful" features like a 3D moving lock screen.

    I predict Apple will drop its iphone prices soon, like they did with the ipad to maintain market share.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having recently gotten an iphone x I prefer face ID. Its generally far more reliable than the finger print sensor which is always a pain with wet hands. Does nice things like face ID for password retrieval in safari. As for the notch most apps are aware of it and work around it intelligently. Like youtube for instance by default stops videos at the notch so you lose nothing or if you want you can zoom in and lose the bit under the notch. At this point after having used face ID I'd consider moving back to finger print sensor to be a backwards step.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      FaceID vs TouchID

      How does FaceID stand up when you are wearing... say a Crash Helmet or any other protective headgear?

      I tried an iPhone X while wearing a bicycle helmet. Failed.

      Removing a glove for TouchID is far better when it comes to 'Ease of Use'.

      Facial ID as a way of getting into a phone is not the best solution for everyone.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But it's got a notch...

    ...so what's the big deal. Confused and lost here.

    1. Narg

      Re: But it's got a notch...

      Notches are annoying. But hey, it does have a jack at least.

  19. Peter2 Silver badge

    Those flagships are sold to photographers but in reality only vanity Instagrammers will be really happy with the results

    No professional photographer at anything above the level of "i've got a DSLR and I could take photos at your wedding, therefore i'm a professional wedding photographer" will be using a smartphone in any case.

    Both of the professional photographers that I have met at events carry several different DSLR's, plus a carryall of expensive additional extras such as lenses, stands, remote trigger flashes, filters and things that I don't recognise despite quite a good knowledge of photography which had the look of costing considerably more than a new car.

    "it's as good as a DSLR!" though is probably good marketing for the people who only take photos for facebook and instagram though...

    1. Francis Boyle

      The cameras in modern phones can be impressively good

      They're just somewhat limited and horribly unergonomic. Maybe a third of the features of professional gear are there to enable the photographer actually to do something they couldn't do with consumer gear. The rest is ergonomics.

      1. Joe Werner Silver badge

        Re: The cameras in modern phones can be impressively good

        Yeah, I talked to some Northern-Lights-Tours-Guides recently (well.... last winter) and one of them was a photographer. He was actually quite impressed what people can do today with their mobes when out watching the aurora. He is indeed carrying a ton of stuff, and his pictures are better, sure, but he also spent a lot more on the equipment...

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: The cameras in modern phones can be impressively good

          Yep. I don't think that realistically smartphones will ever be able to replace real cameras as there are fundamental limits to what can be achieved with a tiny fixed lens but they will undoubtedly be in a position to take the market for the really low end compact style cameras within a few years.

          When that happens it'll leave the entry point for "real" cameras as being the bridge style DSLR, which is so far superior to what any mobile will ever be able to achieve as a result of having a zoomable lens larger than the mobile that they'll probably stay around forever, with "real" DSLR's with removable lenses etc reserved for professionals.

  20. Narg

    Good

    Headphone jack (YES!)

    Nice screen

    Finger sensor on front

    Good camera

    Good processor

    Good storage options

    Bad

    Notch (why have a chin but no top bar, zero bezels really don't impress me)

    Chinese spyware.

    Another close but not quite phone. Nobody makes a perfect phone any more it seems.

    1. JohnFen

      "Chinese spyware."

      Is that any worse than the spyware from companies outside of China? I'm not seeing the difference here.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some kind of preprogrammed nationalism?

    Also note that if your country gets into a trade war with China and/or its intelligence agency has qualms about security in relation to Huawei, your China-purchased phone may stop functioning as a phone altogether when local mobile carriers are prohibited from providing signals to it. I still don't fully believe this tinfoil hat conclusion, but having investigated several times with my carrier, using different SIM cards and different handsets, and read a bit of Chinese news, it does unfortunately fit the facts.

  22. 89724105618719271590214I9405670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921 Bronze badge

    Ultrasonic Dog Abuse!

    Bonzo will be deafened!

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