Huawei cranks up hype ahead of possible Ascend P6 unveiling

Huawei is taking some pages from the playbook of some its more established smartphone rivals, including Samsung Electronics, in building the hype for its forthcoming high-end smartphone, which will likely be called the Ascend P6.

Huawei Ascend P6

Richard Yu, head of Huawei's consumer business group, recently posted on his Facebook page a photo of what may be the Huawei Ascend P6.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei's consumer business group, recently posted on his Facebook page a photo of what may be the phone. The company is holding a media event in London June 18 to announce a new device, and Yu seemed to give it all away with a recent post in which he wrote of design sketches of the phone, "#Ascend P6 Story# One sketch is never enough. The P6 designers dedicate themselves to creating a vivid design, creating ergonomic curvatures just right for the end consumers!"

Further, Huawei uploaded on June 7 a two-and-half-minute YouTube video hyping the phone by showing a man running and performing action-movie-style stunts across London to deliver the device to Huawei's launch event. Samsung used similar marketing involving a young boy who was tasked with delivering a package ahead of the launch of its Galaxy S4 this spring. 

Huawei pledged at this year's Mobile World Congress to establish its consumer device brand more firmly in the market. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in April, Huawei board director Wan Biao, who oversees the handset business, said that the company was preparing a "premium smartphone" for the second half. A variant of the Ascend P6 has made its way through FCC certification and the device could support HSPA+ service on AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), according to Engadget.

According to ABI Research, Huawei was the No. 6 overall handset maker in the world in the first quarter, with 14.2 million unit shipments. According to Strategy Analytics, Huawei had 8.1 million smartphone shipments in China in the first quarter, behind Samsung's 12.5 million and good for the No. 2 spot in the market. However, the numbers underscore that Huawei is still primarily selling its smartphones in China, something the company hopes to change this year with more global rollouts of its premier devices.

Huawei revealed in its annual report for 2012 that it shipped 32 million smartphones last year, which, while up 60 percent from 2011, was well below the company's own prior forecasts for 2012 smartphone shipments of 50 to 60 million. The company has set a target of 60 million smartphone shipments in 2013.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Engadget article
- see this separate Engadget article

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