Huawei, Huawei, Huawei. The hard-to-pronounce Chinese manufacturer is one of the most buzzed about companies at this year's Mobile World Congress (by the way, it's pronounced "wa-wei").
Huawei made a splash Sunday by introducing two quad-core devices, the Ascend D Android smartphone and the MediaPad 10 FHD 10-inch tablet. But as my colleague Jeff Bertolucci writes, "Who are these guys?" I saw down with Shao Yang, the Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei, to learn more about Huawei's plans to dominate the smartphone market.
Huawei has a long history in telecom networks and is currently the second largest supplier of mobile telecommunications infrastructure in the world after Ericsson. In 2010, Huawei began shipping its first smartphones. In 2010, Huawei shipped 120 million devices around the world, reported Reuters in an interview with the former CMO, Victor Xu.
At the CTIA conference in October 2011, Bill Plummer, vice president of external affairs for Huawei, stressed the company's goal of providing affordable smartphones for everyone.
But since October, Huawei has set its sights even higher with the release of these quad-core phones. Yang, the current CMO, says that 2012 is going to be a huge year for Huawei. Yang says the company's goal is to be in the top three cell phone manufacturers in the next five years. We've heard similar claims from ZTE, another Chinese phone and tablet manufacturer trying to break into the U.S. market.
So why does Huawei feel so confident with this lofty goal? Yang says that the company's history in the telecommunication history is a boon to working with carriers. And the company's tight relationship with Google means that Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) will be fully optimized for Huawei products. He also says that the company's culture of delivering the best product to the customer will also help Huawei win over fans.
New Huawei Products Impressive
Huawei's Ascend D and MediaPad 10 FHD have impressed us so far. My colleague Melissa Perenson wrote that the Ascend D felt "snappy in use" and the display looked bright with "vivid colors."
Huawei, which often confidently brags about its products, claims that the Ascend D is the "world's fastest" smartphone. It is powered by a quad-core processor, but oddly Huawei would not disclose the chipset maker. Yang told me Huawei worked with a partner, but said it wasn't Qualcomm.
"We have a good relationship with Qualcomm but, at this time, they did not have quad-core," Yang said in regards to the chipset maker bringing its S4 quad-core chip to market. And it wasn't NVidia's Tegra 3 chip, either. Yang said that Huawei's chip outperformed the Tegra 3 in a series of benchmarks.
"The company [chipset maker] is not important. We are the first--and we are the best," Yang said.
If these claims are true, Huawei might have a fighting chance. An Android phone is an Android phone, but an Android phone that works well will win over customers. Time will tell, but in the meantime, I can't wait until we can run our own benchmarks on the Ascend D. And I really want to see what else Huawei has up its sleeve this year.
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