Huawei launches LTE-equipped Ascend P2

The phone will start shipping during the second quarter and will cost €399

Huawei Technologies has expanded its device portfolio with the LTE-equipped Ascend P2 as the company hopes to climb upwards in the smartphone market.

The phone supports the latest version of the high-speed LTE data networking system called LTE category 4. That means -- on paper at least -- it's capable of transmitting data at up to 150Mbps making it the fastest cell phone yet from any vendor, according to Huawei.

The Ascend P2 is powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor and has a Gorilla Glas 2-protected 4.7-inch 720p screen that can be used with gloves on. It has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but there is no microSD card slot for users that want to expand the storage capacity.

The 13-megapixel camera has a dedicated physical key and an HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode when both taking pictures and shooting video. The camera meant it couldn't make the phone thinner 8.4 millimeters, the company said.

For short-distance communications there's an NFC chip built-in.

A recent trend in smartphones is larger batteries and features to help improve battery life. The battery in the Ascend P2 measures 2,420mAh battery, which is bigger than those in new high-end phones like the the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z. The drawback with bigger batteries is that it also takes longer to charge the phone, but Huawei has added a quick charge feature to address that it said.

On the software side, Huawei has added a power management application and there are software features to lower networking-related battery consumption, it said.

The phone will start shipping around the world during the second quarter and will cost ¬399 (US$525). For U.S. customers, the phone will not be available through carriers but should become available online, Huawei said.

The P series is the midtier part of a new smartphone portfolio that Huawei started to roll out at CES in January. There it launched the high-end Ascend D2, which has a 5-inch 1080p screen, and the Ascend Mate, which has a 6.1-inch 720p screen.

Last year was a good one for Huawei's smartphone sales: the company became the third largest vendor during the fourth quarter last year. But the company wants to continue to grow, and is hoping devices like the P2 will help it do that.

The company has improved the quality and the design of its products, according to Gartner's Carolina Milanesi. Pricing is its biggest strength, but the company will still have to work on improving its brand in the U.S. and Europe, she said.

Huawei is very much aware the challenges that come with changing from a company that manufactures phones for others and sells feature phones to a smartphone maker with a brand that resonates with people, according to Amy Lou, global brand director at Huawei Device. But she is convinced it can the company can do it by consistently putting out good products.

The company also said it is now working on smartphone it will launch this summer that will be "very distuptive,"

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Mikael Ricknäs

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