All posts in “huawei”

Chinese smartphone makers closing the gap on iPhone, Samsung

While Samsung and Apple continued to occupy long-time number one and two spots in the global smartphone market in the second quarter of the year, Chinese Android OEMs Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi are continuing to close the gap.

Analyst Canalys’ latest smartphone market figures show third placed Huawei now nipping right at Apple’s heels. It said Huawei shipped 38 million units in the quarter vs Apple’s 41 million iPhones, with year-over-year growth at 20 per cent and two per cent respectively — the latter despite anticipation building for a significant iPhone refresh later in the year.

Apple reported strong earnings itself yesterday, with investors especially excited about signals of a mega Q4 in its pipeline. Yet consumers evidently didn’t hold off buying iPhones entirely in Q2.

In terms of growth, Canalys said Oppo and Xiaomi were the top performers in the quarter, taking fourth and fifth spot, and growing shipments 44 per cent and 52 per cent respectively. (Late last month the analyst also reported a notable sales spike for Xiaomi on its home turf, estimating it shipped 15M smartphones in Q2 in China, ranking fourth — though Huawei maintained first place with shipments of 23M units.)

Global smartphone market leader Samsung shipped more than 79 million units in the quarter, although its year over year growth was “relatively flat”, and its lead is also being eroded by faster growing Android OEM rivals.

The analyst suggests its therefore hitting a pricing ceiling for its Galaxy brand as multiple rivals work against premium pricing in the Android space — a competitive factor that may even limit Apple’s room for making upward price manoeuvres when it refreshes the iPhone.

“Shipments of the [Samsung Galaxy] S8 have been strong in some regions, but there are signs that demand has been overestimated,” noted Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling in a statement. “Canalys’ channels research has revealed inventory buildup in Europe, which when combined with discounting in the U.S., indicates Samsung may be testing the limits of Android smartphone pricing.”

“As Apple looks to refresh the iPhone, even with its unique user experience, it too must justify any significant price increases with tangible improvements to both feature set and design,” he added.

Overall, more than 340 million smartphones shipped in Q2, an increase of almost 4 per cent year on year. Although the analyst noted that smartphone markets in India and China both slipped into decline in the quarter.

In North America, it said smartphone shipments in the second quarter increased around 7 per cent, year on year, while Apple grew iPhone sales by 10 per cent — again despite consumer anticipation for a flagship update in fall (and the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagships).

This hot MacBook replacement is from a company you’ve never heard of

Laptops are hot fire once again.

Microsoft announced its first laptop, the Surface Laptop, earlier this month, and now Huawei, the world’s third-largest phone manufacturer, is getting into Windows 10 laptops, too.

Though Huawei is known mostly for its budget and midrange phones (more recently with its Honor sub-brand) in the U.S., the Chinese tech giant has made more concerted efforts to be seen as a premium device maker.

The company’s flagship P10 phone sits with the best Android phones. Hell, Huawei’s even hired former “Get a Mac” actor Justin Long to push its products.

Last year, Huawei dipped its toes into the PC world with its MateBook 2-in-1 Surface Pro competitor. It was a decent device, but like all first tries it had its shortcomings such as poor battery life.

Huawei’s new MateBook X — the company’s first clamshell laptop — is aimed squarely at Apple’s entire MacBook lineup. 

Thinner than MacBook

Image: huawei

More ports than MacBook

The MateBook X has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

The MateBook X has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

Image: huawei

Like its flagship phones, the MateBook X has a unibody aluminum design and is built for thinness and lightness. The 13-inch laptop measures just 0.49 inches at its thickest point — thinner than the MacBook (0.52 inches) and MacBook Pro (0.59 inches). It only weighs 2.31 pounds compared to the MacBook Pro’s 3.02 pounds.

Thin as the laptop is, it’s still plenty powerful inside. The 13-inch non-touchscreen IPS display is made of Corning Gorilla Glass and boasts a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution. And, yes, the keyboard’s backlit.

Image: huawei

Under the hood, it’s packing a fanless 7th-generation “Kaby Lake” Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 620, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. Huawei also claims up to 10 hours of battery life for watching 1080p-resolution video. There’s also Dolby Atmos Sound inside.

For ports, the MateBook X has two USB-C ports, a power button that doubles as fingerprint sensor (fancy!), and a headphone jack. In the U.S., Huawei’s including the MateDock 2, which includes a full-sized USB port, USB-C, VGA, and HDMI port. Also bundled is a USB to USB-C dongle.

I haven’t seen the laptop in person so I can’t say how the device feels. But if the old MateBook tablet and Huawei’s excellent industrial design for its phones are any indication, the MateBook X could be the laptop to keep any eye on when it launches this summer. Plus, it comes in rose gold. Hopefully the price is lower than a MacBook, too.

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Huawei MateBook D

Huawei MateBook D

Image: huawei

The MateBook X isn’t Huawei’s only laptop. Alongside the 13-incher is a the MateBook D, a 15.6-inch Windows 10 laptop.

While not quite as premium as the MateBook X, the MateBook D is still a decent machine with an all-aluminum body, a full HD resolution display, a discrete graphics card, and a full range of ports.

No dongles needed on this laptop!

No dongles needed on this laptop!

Image: huawei

Specs for the MateBook D include seventh-gen Kaby Lake Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage with several configurations split combining a traditional hard drive and SSD, and discrete graphics (up to Nvidia 940MX). Battery life is pegged at around 8.5 hours of local video playback.

The MateBook D has two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and an HDMI port.

The MateBook D ships this summer. Pricing is also TBD.

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The MateBook E.

The MateBook E.

Image: huawei

In addition to the new laptops, Huawei’s also updated its 2-in-1 to the MateBook E. 

The new 2-in-1 has the same 12-inch screen as the old one, but this time around the 1080p screen’s been upgraded to 2K (2,160 x 1,440) resolution. 

Performance gets a boost across the board with seventh-gen Intel Core m3 or Core i7 processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage. The company advertises up to 9 hours of video playback.

Huawei says it’s also improved the 2-in-1’s less noticeable features; the magnetic connector for the keyboard is stronger thanks to a reduction in pins from seven to three, and the included folio case is adjustable from 10 degrees to 160 degrees, compared to the original folio case’s three angles.

The MateBook E also ships this summer with pricing TBD.

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Chinese trio carve up a quarter of global smartphone sales in Q1: Gartner

The global smartphone market grew 9.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year, according to Gartner’s latest stats, and growth is being driven by a trio of Chinese device makers.

Smartphone sales in the quarter totaled 380 million units, with China’s top three mobile makers, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, collectively carving out almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those sales, according to the analyst, up seven percentage points year on year.

The analyst says smartphone buyers are spending a bit more to get a better device, which is pushing up the average selling prices of devices and positively affecting the three makers as they have focused on adding higher end features at affordable price points.

Aggressive marketing and sales promotions have also helped the three grow by taking share in markets such as India, Indonesia and Thailand.

The top two smartphone makers by global marketshare, Samsung and Apple, faired less well. Samsung’s sales declined 3.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, to leave it with 20.7 per cent of the market. While Apple’s sales were flat, meaning its marketshare shrunk to 13.7 per cent down from 14.8 per cent year on year.

While Samsung has said preorders for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were up 30 per cent year on year, Gartner flags the absence of the Note 7 — which the company recalled and ultimately discontinued last year after problems with exploding batteries — as a contributing factor to its Q1 sales decline, along with what the analyst dubs “fierce competition” at the entry level smartphone segment that’s playing into the hands of the Chinese device makers.

Apple is also increasingly facing fierce competition from Chinese brands, Gartner says, dubbing its performance in the market as “under attack” — and noting that third placed Huawei edged closer, racking up sales of 34 million units in the quarter.

Despite Huawei holding third place in the global smartphone ranking steadily for multiple years it’s also under pressure from domestic upstarts, with Oppo continuing to catch up — growing its sales 94.6 per cent in the quarter and retaining its number one position in China.

Fourth placed Oppo’s focus on selling via a large network of bricks-and-mortar retailers is helping it beat market incumbents such as Samsung and Huawei, according to Gartner, while its focus on camera, fast charging and offline retail has helped it grow sales internationally.

Fifth placed Vivo sold close to 26 million smartphones in the quarter, grabbing 6.8 per cent marketshare, with growth of 84.6 per cent. Gartner says it’s seeing growth from emerging markets in Asia/Pacific, including India, where Vivo’s sales grew more than 220 per cent.

How far can Android go?

On the OS front, it’s very clearly now a tale of two: Android and iOS, with Chinese smartphone makers’ success helping Google’s platform grow its share by two per cent in the quarter, to take 86.1 per cent of the market. While iOS declined from 14.8 per cent to 13.7 per cent, year over year.

Gartner says it expects continued growth from Android thanks to Google’s announcement of Android Go, which targets the entry-level smartphone segment. So the question really is how far can Android go in terms of marketshare?

The ‘other’ smartphone OS category shrank to just 0.2 per cent marketshare, clocking sales of around 820,000 units in the quarter.

CEO of company that makes smartwatches: Smartwatches are pointless

Huawei smartwatches, which are useless, according to the company's own CEO.
Huawei smartwatches, which are useless, according to the company’s own CEO.

Image: Stan schroeder/mashable

There’s firm, tough leadership, and then there’s … whatever this is. 

Calling one of your company’s newest high-profile releases essentially useless probably isn’t the best way to boost team morale — but that didn’t stop Huawei Deputy Chairman and rotating CEO Eric Xu Zhijun from trashing even the concept of a smartwatch. 

“I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones,” he said, declaring he’d never wear one of the devices during a Q&A session at Huawei’s 2017 Global Analyst Summit event in China, according to the South China Morning Post

Huawei recently released the Watch 2, an Android Wear 2.0-based update to its smartwatch line. Our verdict? Meh. Sounds like Xu agrees. 

Xu even doubled down on his statement, dragging the company’s wearable development team a bit for good measure. “Therefore, when the smartwatch team in Huawei presents their ideas to me with great excitement, I keep reminding them to consider whether there are tangible needs [for these products] in the market,” he continued. 

That’s just cold. 

But Xu’s comments aren’t just based on some grudge against the Huawei team: It’s no secret that consumers are struggling to find uses for smartwatches and wearables on the whole, and Apple dominates the space. Wearable companies are stumbling, most notably Fitbit, which laid off 6 percent of its staff to start the year and reportedly has faced major roadblocks in the development of its first true smartwatch. 

For other companies to truly break through the barriers of consumer indifference and Apple’s stranglehold on the market, finding those tangible needs, like Xu demands, could be the only way forward. In the future, we might see Huawei put out some really revolutionary wearable tech — or absolutely nothing at all. 

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Huawei’s new Honor 8 Pro smartphone has 6GB of RAM, ultra-slim design

The world of Huawei phones is a confusing one. The company has a couple of flagship lineages under its Huawei brand name — the smaller Huawei P, the larger Huawei P Plus, and the also-larger Huawei Mate phones. 

Huawei also has a sub-brand, Honor, which is also globally available, but has a stronger presence in the U.S. and the UK.  It’s often hard to assess which one of these many devices is the actual flagship, but the new Honor 8 Pro appears to be the most interesting in the bunch right now. 

The Honor 8 Pro has a 5.7-inch, quad HD display, Huawei’s Kirin 960 octa-core chip coupled with the Mali-G71 graphics chip, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 4,000mAh battery and dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back. 

The fingerprint sensor is (again) on the phone's back.

The fingerprint sensor is (again) on the phone’s back.

Image: Huawei

Thankfully — unlike with the recently launched Huawei P10 — the fingerprint sensor is on the back, so the phone’s front is all screen. 

Well, mostly. The Honor 8 Pro doesn’t have an elongated screen like the LG G6, nor is it curved like the screen on Samsung’s Galaxy S8. But coupled with a thin profile (only 6.97mm) and rounded edges, the device is quite elegant, if not exactly inspiring. 

Huawei’s last Honor phone, the Honor 8, was essentially a cheaper version of the Huawei P9. So is the Honor 8 Pro a cheaper version of the Huawei P10 Plus, which was launched a month ago in Barcelona?

No Leica branding on this dual camera. But we like the fact that it sits flush with the phone's body.

No Leica branding on this dual camera. But we like the fact that it sits flush with the phone’s body.

Image: Huawei

Well, yes and no. Its dual camera setup on the back lacks the P10 Plus’ 20-megapixel monochromatic sensor and the Leica branding, but it has a bigger screen (5.7 vs 5.5 inches) and the rest of the specs are very similar. 

The price, however, appears to be significantly lower. The Honor 8 Pro will cost £474.99 in the UK (about $591), and while we still don’t have the price for the Huawei 10 Plus, which starts shipping in April, UK’s Carphone Warehouse lists it at £679.99 (about $846).

There’s no word on U.S. availability for the Honor 8 Pro; we’ll update this post when we find out more. 

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