You might not know it to look at retail stores in the US or Europe, but Huawei has quickly become one of the world's largest phone manufacturers, even while it keeps most of its high-end hardware restricted to China. The company is showing off its engineering and manufacturing chops with the Honor 6 Plus, a new 5.5-inch phone slated to hit the market on December 23rd. It, uh, might look a little familiar.
I've been writing about Android phones for over three years, and I'm going to be honest: I still think I'm pronouncing "Huawei" wrong. (Wah-way. WAA-whey. Hoo-waa-way.) Huawei is perfectly aware that their branding outside of Asia isn't exactly stellar, and it looks like they're taking steps to improve it. Say hello to "Honor," a new Huawei sub-brand introduced to Europe this week. The first phone launched under the label will be the Honor 6.
The Huawei Honor smartphones have been straightforward affairs, with the original being nothing to get excited about unless you were shopping on a budget and wanted something functional enough to do more than check Facebook (though considering how bloated the Facebook app is, even doing that is no small feat). However, we did consider it an example of what a budget phone should be, and the sequel was an improvement in every area - except for price.
Huawei has been steadily increasing its high-end offerings for the last year or so, and their latest offering is the top-of-the-line Honor 2. Last year's model gets upgraded in just about every possible way, starting with Huawei's own quad-core K3 V2 processor clocked at a blistering 1.4Ghz. Pair that with 2GB of RAM and you've got potent hardware in anybody's money... though to put down a pre-order, you'll need some yuan.
Budget phone. The very sound of those two words, together, makes me slightly ill. In fact, it makes me almost immediately seethe with a sort of "nerd-rage." I hate the way budget phones are peddled onto the tech-illiterate by commission-motivated hucksters at "Big Four" carrier phone stores. I hate seeing people get locked into 2-year contracts because they got a "great deal" on a smartphone. "It was free!" they'll say, and that the nice sales representative (his name was Jimmy) kept them from buying "something they didn't need," because they walked in with a firm spending limit and they weren't going to budge!
In a major "Surprise!" moment, Huawei has officially released what looks to be a demo build of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) for the Honor (model number U8860). Details are incredibly light at the moment, since all we're really going on here is a product support page that's been Google Translated from Chinese to English and contains next to no information:
According to the poster at XDA, the posted update is actually just a "demo" (beta?) and not the final version.