Rebranding, Huawei’s change to survive

Huawei has been released from the black list but its reputation is ruined. Can the Chinese company survive in the mobile device business after that mess?

As every one of us have heard, Huawei was put to the black list of US trade commission. That meant that US companies could not trade with Huawei in any way. It lead to the big headlines about Google banning Huawei and so on. Now the company has been released from the black list and life goes on, or does it?

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It is very hard to understand customers’ reactions to the entire Huawei mess if we think about different regions. In America, Huawei really hasn’t been a big player in smartphone market but a relatively competitive in the network business. Very little Huawei phones have been sold by the carriers and that’s still the way Americans buy their phones. The little market share they had in smartphones, is now gone.

From a European standpoint, Huawei hasn’t changed that much during the debate. The US and China trade war has been going for a while now and for most of us Europeans, the Huawei ban was just a part of that trade war. I personally don’t find Huawei phones that attractive anyway but their two brands, Huawei and Honor have been some of the best selling phones in Europe for the last few years. That trend is unlikely change too much after the Huawei debate is completely over.

However, the way Huawei could turn this into gold, is to rebrand their phones and make some other changes as well. From this point onward, this article doesn’t base on facts but on my personal smartphone preferences. First of all, the rebranding. Huawei has been making phones under the Honor name for a while now, so that name is done. They’ll need to find a new, catching name like Vulcan or Wraith.

They should also drop their own UI and use Google’s Android One as a base. All Huawei’s own extras should be added as applications that could easily be updated and has to yield to same permissions as any other apps. This could win the doubters to their side. Camera app of course is important as Huawei has been known for its great smartphone cameras.

Oh, and as I accidentally just made another Nokia / HMD Global, Huawei’s new brand would differentiate itself by being the first at new technologies, like it has been. Their own SoCs are half a year ahead of their competitors even though they are a bit slower. Their display technologies and especially their product design has been top notch for the last couple of years.

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There are currently no clean Android phones on the flagship market other than the Pixels and maybe the Sony Xperia 1. There used to be some Moto phones and that’s it. Nokia’s 9 was a big disappointment and it is also competing more with the upper mid-rangers like OnePlus 7 or Galaxy S10e. More competition in the clean Android market is better.

Huawei launches P20 Pro with 40 megapixel camera

Huawei tries to breath new life to the stagnant smartphone market with the new P20 Pro. It uses AI to stitch together images from three different sensors.

As the smartphone market is getting less and less interesting with iterative updates, the Huawei P20 Pro is a welcome exception. Huawei launched a full lineup of P20 devices at Paris but the Pro model is easily the most interesting.

The Huawei P20 Pro is a glass and metal sandwich with a 6.1″ 18.7:9 2240 x 1080 resolution notched OLED display. It has the Huawei’s in house Kirin 970 chip, 6 GB of RAM,  128 GB of storage and a 4000 mAh battery. On the camera side though, things get more interesting. The front 24 megapixel camera is placed in the notch and on the flip side, there are 3 cameras.

The main camera, on the middle, has a massive 1/1.7″ 40 megapixel sensor for nearly Pureview-like resolution. The top camera has an 8 megapixel sensor with a 3x telephoto lens. The bottom camera has a 20 megapixel sensor with a monochrome lens. To turn this massive amount of data to a beautiful image in all conditions, Huawei is using AI. The monochrome lens lets in more light in dark situations, so the AI can for example take the colors from the main camera, and the details from the monochrome sensor.

Like said, this camera setup is like the Pureview of 2018. We are hoping to see more of innovation like this in the future to keep the smartphone market evolving. The notches are not good marketing pointers.

Speaking of notches and Huawei, they actually made their notch a marketing point. They compared it to the iPhone X notch and said that their smaller notch is better because the user can see more notification icons. I’d say that every notch is a notch, and should be got rid of.

The other two P20 models are the regular P20 and the P20 Lite. The P20 has a smaller 5.8″ LCD display with the same 2240 x 1080 resolution, 4 GB of RAM and the battery is 3400 mAh in capacity. The front facing camera is the same 24 megapixel unit but on the rear, there are only two cameras, a 12 MP main camera and a 20 MP monochrome one. Rest of the specs are the same.

The Lite has a Kirin 659 chip, 5.8″ IPS display with the same resolution, 16 and 2 megapixel cameras, 3000 mAh battery, 4 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage.

Innovation is good for the smartphone market. We have heard some rumors about a Nokia phone with an impressive camera setup. Hopefully we are getting some real facts of it soon. Of course, other manufacturers are allowed to innovate too. It just turns out that some are too busy removing features.

Huawei Honor Note 8 – a 6.6″ monster

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Huawei aims at the multimedia consumers with one of the biggest smartphones ever made, Honor Note 8.

A few years ago, we thought that smartphones will continue growing in physical size. However, the biggest widely known smartphones have been Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra and Samsung’s Galaxy Mega since 2013. Those phones were experiments that were proven too big.

However, Huawei has now released a new monster phone. This 6.6″ QHD giant is called Honor Note 8 and packs some serious hardware. The 2560 x 1440 display is Super AMOLED, probably Samsung made. Under the metal body is a Kirin 955 SoC and 4 GB of RAM and if the 32, 64 or 128 GB internal storage isn’t enough, the Note also has a microSD card slot. The battery is huge, 4500 mAh. All this runs Huawei’s UI on top of Android Marshmallow.

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The phone’s design is absolutely beautiful with very Nexus 6P -like camera vizier and fingerprint scanner placement. The plastic strip on the back is also familiar as is the USB Type-C port on the bottom. The physical size of the device is massive, 178.8 x 90.9 x 7.2 mm and 219 g.

A phone of this size is not only very difficult to handle but also too large for most pockets. We are very interested to see if the Note 8 succeeds as that would mean yet another chapter to the book of new smartphone trends.

The Honor Note 8 is now available for preorders in China. Other markets will probably follow but nothing has been announced yet. Pricing in China equals something around $350 for the base model.

Source: Huawei

Huawei releases a premium midrange tablet

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The Huawei MediaPad M2 has a premium design but average specs. The CES 2016 is on and we are following.

Huawei has released a new 10″ tablet, MediaPad M2 which features a beautiful industrial metal casing and quad speakers for a little premium. The display is a 10″ 1920×1200 16:10 LCD with 226PPI and it’s run by a Kirin 930 octa-core CPU and 2 or 3GB of RAM. The 16 or 64GB storage is expendable via a 128GB MicroSD card. The battery Huawei calls giant is rated at 6600mAh. The more expensive 3/64GB model also comes with a pressure sensitive stylus which is available for the 16GB model as an accessory.

The pricing and availability are unknown, because of, according to some sources, Huawei’s effort to launch the device with Marshmallow. At CES its running Lollipop.

Source: CES coverage around the internet

Huawei releases Mate 8 prices and GX8 midranger

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Huawei has launched a new premium midranger and revealed prices for the Mate 8. CES 2016 is on and we are following. 

The Huawei GX8 is similar to the recently announced G8, just for different markets. The GX8 is not a specs monster. It tries to attract with its premium metal design and the same ultra fast rear mounted fingerprint scanner  familiar from the other Huawei smartphones.

The display is 5.5″ 1080p IPS LCD with 401PPI. The Snapdragon 615 SoC is assisted by 2 or 3GB of RAM depending on the size of the storage, either 16 or 32GB. The cameras are 13 and 5 megapixels and the 3000mAh battery should last through the day easily. The GX8 will be available soon for price of about $350.

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The recently announced Mate 8 gets its price revealed as Huawei has told at CES that the flagship phablet will be available in Europe for 599€ for the 3/32GB version and 699€ for the 4/64GB model. No word on the US pricing or availability yet. The Mate 8 has a 6″ 1080p display, Kirin 950 SoC and a 4000mAh battery.

Source: CES coverage around the internet

Huawei Nexus 6P and Watch got new designs

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Huawei is one of the first to introduce their new products at CES 2016. First, some new designs.

Huawei built Nexus 6P was rumored to have a gold color option and now it’s true. The gold option will be available soon in the US for the same price as the other colors, $449 for 32GB and $499 for 64GB.

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Huawei also updated the Huawei Watch that now has a ladies option. The new version is called the Watch Elegant. It has a narrower watch band, gold plated body and textured bezels. The second new option is called the Watch Jewel and it adds 68 Swarovski crystals to the bezels for extra bling. There’s no information about pricing yet.

Source: CES coverage around the internet