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.
While Huawei's presence here in the United States has remained limited, the company's handset shipments in Asia and other parts of the world make it a serious mobile contender in the grand scheme. Today, Huawei announced its latest attempt to usurp its competitors at the high end of the market: the Ascend P7.
The P7 looks largely reminiscent of the P6, which is to say it looks largely reminiscent of an iPhone 4.
Huawei recently shared plans to release a dual-OS Android/Windows device in the US come Q2 of this year. Now, the company has publically stepped back from those words. It didn't provide an explanation, but it did emphasize its "open approach" towards mobile operating systems and a desire to provide "a range of choices for consumers." Most of the Huawei's handsets will continue to run Android, and while Windows Phone still isn't off the table completely, the two platforms won't play along anytime soon.
Huawei likes Windows Phone. However, it thinks the mobile OS would taste better when served alongside Android. That's why, despite expressing commitment to Microsoft's platform, the company reportedly plans to bring a dual-booting Android/Windows Phone handset to the US sometime this spring.
Here's Huawei Chief Marketing Officer Shao Yang, speaking with TrustedReviews:
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.
As part of its Mobile World Congress presentation, Huawei officially unveiled its own entry into the wearable market with the TalkBand B1. There's no denying the device looks odd, but there's functionality hidden in its slightly weird-looking body. The display portion of the device actually pops out and can be used as a Bluetooth headset, while the band itself can be uncapped to reveal a USB connector for charging.
According to CNet's hands-on, Huawei claims 7 hours talk time and 2 weeks standby battery life for the device.
Just like every other manufacturer, Huawei would really appreciate it if you paid them some attention starting next week. Once Mobile World Congress starts, it'll be a mad melee of journalists, PR managers, presenters, and executives all scrambling to either show off or see the latest hardware. Huawei is being a bit proactive with their announcement trailer, poking fun at the world's two biggest phone makers in the process. IDC says Huawei is currently number three.
Chalk one up for the bad guys. FOSS Patents reports that Chinese manufacturer Huawei and the Rockstar Consortium (a patent holding company jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Sony, and Ericsson) have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against Huawei in November. Both parties have filed to dismiss with prejudice, and have almost certainly agreed to some kind of licensing settlement, though financial details don't have to be reported.
After yesterday's Huawei press event, I had an opportunity to briefly go hands-on with the company's newest super-sized phone, the Ascend Mate 2 4G. The original Ascend Mate also made its debut at CES, and this newest iteration really doesn't break the mold its predecessor set.
The new Mate 2 does boast a smaller size overall than last year's model, giving it a screen to bezel ratio that Huawei claims is the industry's best among large phones.
Huawei has been trying to break into the US market for years, but the current trend towards inexpensive, off-contract smartphones may be in their favor. That would explain why the company stated that it plans to bring the Ascend Mate II to American shores in its CES press conference. This big-screen, mid-range phone has a trick up its sleeve thanks to an oversized battery.
Let's dive into the specs, shall we?