Huawei is huge in China, but their footprint in the US smartphone market is tiny, and not helped because they tend to be on the low end of any carrier lineup they do manage to snag. That ends today, as the company is now selling directly to consumers in the United States for the first time. The Ascend Mate 2, a big-screen, big-battery midrange phone, is up for pre-order on GetHuawei.com.
The phablet market is exploding, and just about every manufacturer wants a piece of the oversized pie. Here at Mobile World Congress ZTE has just announced the Grand Memo II LTE, the successor to last year's Grand Memo. It ups the screen size to a full 6 inches of IPS goodness. Well, maybe goodness - they aren't saying what the resolution is just yet, just "HD," which I'll assume means 720p.
Besides the TalkBand B1, Huawei introduced three other devices in their MWC presentation - the MediaPad X1 7.0, MediaPad M1 8.0, and the Ascend G6. The first is pegged as a phone/tablet hybrid, the second just a tablet (capable of Wi-Fi calling and SMS), and the third a budget to mid-range phone.
We'll take a quick look at all three, but let's start with the MediaPad X1.
MediaPad X1 7.0
The X1 "combines the functionality of a smartphone and tablet" in its aluminum alloy body, and besides Huawei's own suite of software enhancements with Emotion UI 2.0, has plenty of specs worth looking twice at.
It was only a matter of time before LG decided to make another phablet. Today the company announced the new LG G Pro 2, the sequel to its original Galaxy Note fighter, with a selection of improved hardware and software features. Since it's a phablet, the screen is what you're probably most interested in - it's a 5.9-inch 1080p LCD panel, appropriately matching the screen on the Note 3. LG says it has "an industry-leading screen-to-frame ratio of 77.2 percent."
Under the hood you get a 2.26Ghz Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM, an impressive 13MP rear camera, and a whopping 3,200mAh removable battery.
It was just a couple of days ago that HTC started talking up its plans to hit the midrange hard this year, and lo and behold, there's at least some evidence that the company is ready to make good on that commitment. Chinese site MyDrivers.com posted what looks like a press render of a new HTC device, which Engadget later corroborated with their own render. The Chinese site calls it the Desire 8.
Not content to simply blur the line between conventional smartphones and tablets like manufacturers around the world are already doing, HP has decided to completely erase any distinction between the two. This morning the company announced that its first smartphones since the ill-fated HP Pre 3 in 2011 won't be "phones" at all, but rather "voice tablets," competing with low-cost, big-screen models like the Galaxy Mega. Re/code reports that the two inaugural Android devices, the Slate 6 and Slate 7, will be introduced in India next month.
ASUS is getting into the gigantic phone market in a big way. After their initial offerings in the Fonepad line (that's large, tablet-style phones, not to be confused with the docking Padfone) the company has announced a new model and at IFA in Germany, along with a previously announced but unreleased one. The Fonepad Note 6 (ME560CG) is a conventional "phablet" design, complete with stylus, which we saw back in June.
When Samsung showed off its enormous new Galaxy Mega series earlier this year, we thought that it was only a matter of time before an American carrier decided to pick one up. It looks like AT&T is taking the bait if the latest post from the indefatigable evleaks can be believed. It shows the Galaxy Mega 6.3, the larger of the two phones, with AT&T branding and icons.
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 (SGH-I527 Melius) for AT&T pic.twitter.com/zAM1M47LJp
— @evleaks (@evleaks) August 17, 2013
The Galaxy Mega phones are relatively low-cost alternatives to Samsung's Galaxy Note series, minus the stylus and digitizer.
It was only a matter of time until HTC stepped up to Samsung and offered a "phablet" of its own, and it looks like that time is drawing close. Chinese site ePrice, source of numerous reliable leaks in the past, has posted a photo of a 5.9-inch HTC device set to take on the Galaxy Note series, Xperia Z Ultra, and the like. According to the post, it's called the HTC One Max, codenamed the T6.
Sony is getting into the plus-sized phone game in a big way. Today they've officially announced the Xperia Z Ultra, a super-sized handset that follows the design principles of the original Xperia Z. Nearly all the specifications (with the exception of the camera) have been boosted over the current Sony flagship, starting with a downright massive 6.44-inch 1080p screen. Other highlights include a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2Ghz, (labeled as "the world's fastest") a super-slim 6.5mm body, and a water- and dust-resistant design.