LAS VEGAS--Huawei, the world's third largest smartphone vendor behind Samsung Electronics and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), announced here at the Consumer Electronics Show its newest, flagship smartphone, the Ascend Mate 2. The gadget, which sports a massive 6.1-inch screen, represents Huawei's latest attempt to increase its presence in the global smartphone market by riding the phablet trend.
Huawei's Richard Yu shows off the company's new Ascend Mate 2.
Huawei said the Android-powered smartphone runs on a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), the MSM8928. Impressively, the phone can support virtually all of the world's various wireless network technologies, from HSPA to CDMA to TD-SCDMA to LTE (both the TDD and FDD varieties). The phone also features a number of somewhat unique functions: It offers reverse charging, where users can connect another phone to the phablet to charge it; it can remotely take pictures when paired with another device; and it offers a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. But perhaps the most impressive feature is the gadget's 4050 mAh battery, which Huawei said will support two days of heavy use.
"This is really very meaningful," explained Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group.
Yu promised that the Ascend Mate 2 would be released in the U.S. market, and he named AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) specifically as carriers that would be able to support the device. However, he didn't provide specifics on a launch date or a price for the Ascend Mate 2.
Huawei's new smartphone is the company's latest attempt to bring its engineering talents to the smartphone market. The company said it hopes to sell 80 million smartphones this year, up from 52 million in 2013, 32 million in 2012 and 20 million in 2011.
Huawei attributed its dramatic gains in the smartphone market to a few core efforts, including its focus on smartphones rather than feature phones and its decision just a few years ago to begin selling devices under its own brand rather than as a white-label device supplier. Indeed, Huawei said that today, fully 95 percent of its mobile devices carry the Huawei brand. The company also said its global brand awareness has increased 110 percent, from 25 percent in 2012 to 52 percent today.
Interestingly, Huawei's Colin Giles, executive vice president of the company's Consumer Business Group, said Huawei also plans to expand sales in the "open channel." He said the company has had success selling its phones through wireless carriers, but in 2014 he said Huawei would increase sales through outlets including independent retail stores and other third-party stores. He said that already, 50 percent of Huawei's sales occur through what he called the open channel.
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