Feeds

Samsung and Apple BEWARE: Huawei is coming to eat your lunch

Cheap Chinese Landfill AndroidTM? HAH! You fool

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

MWC 2014 Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer boss, was one of the highlights of the presentations at Mobile World Congress. This is not because he's easy to understand; like a French president travelling overseas, he makes no concessions to his pronunciation advisors. It's because he thinks everyone else is rubbish.

Huawei's new range

Samsung and Apple, according to Yu, haven't got a clue. And for the first time in its short life as a consumer tech company, Huawei is beginning to live up to Yu's high opinion.

Huawei has made more rapid advances in design savvy than any company I've ever seen. It took years for Koreans like LG and Samsung to move beyond uniform me-too plastic. Huawei's designs are excellent and the consumer unit is barely three years old.

But Huawei really needs to be watched closely because it's starting to reap the dividend of China's investment in science and engineering. The technology here, from the five new products unveiled on Sunday, is really quite startlingly excellent.

Huawei launched two tablets, a midrange phone, the world's fastest 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and a combo wearable wristband/headset here. One of the tablets – the 7-inch MediaPad X1 – is a phone too. Yu reeled off the engineering in the tablet: nano injection moulding, new kinds of laser etching wire and bonding, low temperature polysilicon screen tech, content adaptive brightness control... all to produce a very thin device with a very narrow bezel that feels very premium.

You can see why this company is different from the dozens of market entrants from Asia we've seen over the years.

It's unlikely that the MediaPad X1 will be a mass market success this year, as nobody has made a success of a tablet at that price other than Apple - but it should terrify the competition. The €249 midrange Huawei phone announced here, the Ascend G6, is also noteworthy for a few reasons. The specs may be predictable but the software has gotten a lot better: it takes a photo when the subject smiles (a slightly creepy feature), enhances faces and so on. The design is really excellent - it feels much more classy and expensive than a Samsung.

The LTE dongle showed Huawei's radio smarts - the first Cat 6 with CA (carrier aggregation) capable of 300Mbit/s second downloads, if your network supports it. Huawei sells more LTE equipment to networks than anyone else. It can support up to 10 devices for 10 hours at a time - and can "reverse charge" devices that need a power top-up. The wearable, which sees the user rip off a Bluetooth earpiece when a call comes in, wasn't so successful. But it is a first generation attempt.

A few obstacles to world domination remain, however. Huawei is ranked third in the world today, selling 52 million phones (which is more than the entire Windows Phone market) but far behind Apple and Samsung. It has made inroads into Europe but less so in the UK, where it's only 12 per cent up. The name itself is hard to pronounce for Anglophones - most English-speakers say "Hu-Wah-Way" but even that isn't quite correct. Even with sponsorship this might be an insurmountable obstacle in some markets. And it has yet to put a distribution channel into place.

Samsung should be very concerned at what Huawei might be demonstrating in two to three years' time. So should everyone else. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.