T-Mobile USA is in talks with Huawei to launch the Ideos, the Chinese company's first Android smartphone specifically designed for overseas markets, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The report, citing an unnamed source, said it was unclear whether the carrier will land the phone, but that a deal could be made within the next four to six weeks. If Huawei were to ink a deal with T-Mobile, it will represent a significant coup for the company, which is trying to get greater exposure in the U.S. market for both its network infrastructure and handsets.
A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment. However, Huawei spokeswoman Jannie Nguyen told FierceWireless that Huawei is "talking to a number of North America operators at the moment and many of them have shown strong interest in launching Ideos and being the first to offer it to their customers."
Huawei announced the Ideos last week. The device, which was developed in collaboration with Google, runs Android 2.2 and features a 2.8-inch touchscreen. It will be made in both CDMA and GSM variants. The Ideos will go on sale in Hong Kong next Friday, and is expected to be available later this year in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Huawei, the world's No. 3 infrastructure vendor, said the phone--which features WiFi and mobile hotspot capability for up to eight devices--is designed to be an entry-level phone and likely will cost between $100 and $200 depending on carrier subsidies.
Interestingly, the Ideos features 850/1700/1900 MHz CDMA bands, which could make it a fit for Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) or MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS).
ZTE, Huawei's smaller Chinese rival, is wagering that its budding relationship with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will lead to greater U.S. market penetration next year. The Chinese handset and equipment vendor teamed up with the nation's No. 1 carrier last month on a low-end phone, the Salute, but hopes to release its first U.S smartphone next year.
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
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