Huawei aims for top of US market

The phone maker has a strategy to bring smartphones to the masses

Huawei is focused on bringing smartphones and tablets to the masses in the U.S. and hopes to be among the top five mobile phone vendors in the U.S in the next three years, company executives said Tuesday at CTIA.

They also showed off recently announced products at the conference in San Diego. Those include the Springboard, a tablet running Android Honeycomb 3.2 that features a 7-inch screen and will be sold by T-Mobile. Huawei wouldn’t say how much the tablet will cost when it becomes available later this year but said it will be the cheapest tablet available.

Huawei worked closely with Google to develop Android for 7-inch screens and the Springboard is the first Android tablet of that size, the company said.

Huawei’s other phones, like the Ascend and the Impulse, are designed to be low-cost smartphones. “We’re hitting a segment of the consumer population that’s locked into feature phones because of the price points,” said Bill Plummer, a spokesman for Huawei.

The company started out offering phones to smaller regional operators like MetroPCS but now delivers devices to T-Mobile and AT&T.

Huawei currently focuses on Android for smartphones but it is considering other OSes, said James Jiang, vice president of product and marketing for Huawei.

While currently 80 percent of its devices are co-branded with operators, Huawei is hoping to do more to make its brand more recognizable. “We’re not known to the general public,” Jiang said. “We’re taking the initiative to build a name for us.”

It will do so by trying to sell into different channels and continuing to work collaboratively with operators on designing products, he said. Huawei is currently among the top 10 vendors in the U.S., it said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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