Huawei said it hired a former Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) creative director as the head of its user experience design team, a signal that the company is becoming more serious about its smartphone ambitions. Analysts said last week that Huawei captured the global No. 3 smartphone vendor spot in the third quarter, behind Samsung Electronics and Apple.
Huawei hired Abigail Brody, who worked at Apple for around a decade and left in 2011 before moving to eBay. Brody most recently worked as a design strategy consultant for technology brands, Huawei said. As The Verge notes, Brody was part of the team that designed iOS 1 for the first iPhone, and her expertise could help Huawei's software and UI, which have lagged behind its hardware proficiency.
According to CNBC, translation of Huawei's statement on the Chinese social network Weibo said: "Based on our plan, Huawei is going to set up a user experience design studio in the U.S., tracking and leading pioneering design concepts in the industry, working with China's domestic design teams to provide the best user experience of Huawei's ultimate products."
Brody will report to Richard Yu, the head of Huawei's consumer business, which includes its smartphones. Huawei also said that it is in the process of setting up a new user interface design studio in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Huawei said last week that it shipped 27.4 million smartphone units in the third quarter, representing a 63 percent year-over-year increase. Huawei also said that mid-to-high-end devices accounted for 33 percent of those shipments, up 7 percent over the previous quarter.
Huawei captured 7.5 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, up from 5.1 percent in the year-ago period. Samsung captured 23.7 percent of the market in the third quarter, according to the firm, and Apple garnered 13.6 percent.
Huawei aims to ship at least 100 million smartphones in 2015 and through the first three quarters has shipped 75.6 million.
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