BARCELONA, Spain--Building on its goal to become a premiere smartphone maker, Huawei unveiled its first quad-core smartphone, the Ascend D quad, at its press conference held in conjunction with the Mobile World Congress trade show here.
Ascend D quad
Huawei also took swipes at larger smartphone competitors Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung, with Huawei Device Chairman Richard Yu proclaiming the Ascend D quad to be the fastest and most power-efficient smartphone on the market. Yu repeatedly compared the Ascend D quad to Apple's iPhone 4S and Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, emphasizing that Huawei's new device beats its competitors on processing speed, imaging capabilities and power efficiency. The device is powered by a proprietary Huawei chipset dubbed K3V2, and not Nvidia's Tegra 3, which is likely to debut in a handful of quad-core devices this week.
Yu also teased a forthcoming Huawei tablet, widely expected to be a 10-inch version of its MediaPad tablet. He said that the tablet will have a quad-core processor, LTE and an HD screen.
The Ascend D quad smartphone comes in variants with either a 1.2 GHz or 1.5 GHz processor, runs on the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 version of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, and sports a 4.5-inch 720-HD screen, Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, an 8-megapixel rear camera capable of taking 1080p HD video and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The device also has 8 GB of memory and an 1800 mAh battery. Yu claimed that Huawei's technologies, including the chipset and the ability to reduce signaling with cell sites, provides 30 percent more power compared to the industry average. "We know the network, we know the signaling, we know the algorithms," he said, explaining how Huawei's expertise in network gear helps the company to develop devices.
In addition to the Ascend D quad, Huawei also announced the Ascend D quad XL, which is the same device but sports a 2500 mAh battery, and the Ascend D1, which has specifications similar to the Ascend D quad but sports a 1.5 GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMPA4460 processor.
Yu said that the Ascend D quad will be available in the second quarter, first in China and Europe, and then later in the North American market, though he didn't specific with which operators. He did not provide price information. The device supports UMTS and HSPA+ networks, but not LTE. Yu said that a version with LTE will be available in the third or fourth quarters.
Huawei also announced the MediaPad 10 FHD, an Android 4.0 tablet featuring a Huawei 1.5GHz quad-core processor and a 10-inch IPS high definition display screen.
Huawei is trying to build momentum around its high-end devices, and in January unveiled the Ascend P1 S, which the company called the world's thinnest smartphone. Though Huawei is better known for its network gear, the company is trying to establish its branded products especially in Europe and North America. Yu said Huawei hopes to achieve 60 million smartphone sales in 2012, up from 20 million in 2011.
Huawei intends to release LTE devices in the U.S. market this year, including smartphones, and has signaled it is looking beyond its traditional carrier allies. In an interview with FierceWireless in January, James Jiang, executive vice president of product marketing for Huawei Device USA, said that the company plans to release LTE devices in the U.S. later this year, including CDMA/LTE devices, which could make Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) potential targets.
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