Beginning today, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will include anti-theft security tools. July 1 marks the day by which phone makers and network operators agreed to implement free theft deterrents on smartphones. According to the CTIA, most of the industry has responded by placing remote lock/wipe capabilities on consumer devices. The addition of an activation lock on the Apple iPhone, for example, has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in major cities. The activation lock prevents a stolen device from being activated by another person, thus making it useless to thieves. Remote wipe features allow people to erase the personal data from their handset if lost/stolen to protect their identity. The major participants in today's action include Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and ZTE. "Today's fulfillment of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is another example of the wireless industry proactively working together with policymakers and law enforcement to help protect consumers' smartphones in the event they are ever lost or stolen. We will continue to work with all interested parties to continue to deploy new technologies and tools to improve device theft-deterrence tools. We remind consumers to take a few minutes to use PINs, passwords, apps and other device features to protect their mobile devices and personal information." The industry was coerced into acting "voluntarily" when the FCC threatened to make such protective measures mandatory.
Qualcomm plans to form a joint venture with Semiconductor Manufacturing International in China to develop 14nm chips. China's Huawei and Belgium's Imec will also participate in the venture. Competition in the semiconductor space is fierce and companies such as Samsung are trying to muscle their way in with improved manufacturing techniques of their own. Moreover, Qualcomm ran afoul of Chinese antitrust regulators earlier this year and was forced to pay a fine and reduce royalty rates. Partnering with Chinese companies is a way to help Qualcomm repair its image. Many of today's smartphones and tablets use chips made by Qualcomm. The denser the chip, the more efficient it can be. Focusing on the 14nm processes is vital for Qualcomm.
Huawei hopes the P8 Lite, an inexpensive, unlocked Android smartphone, will appeal to U.S. consumers. The phone has a sleek design and a solid spec list. Here are Phone Scoop's first thoughts about the P8 Lite.
Huawei today revealed the P8 Lite, its latest attempt to grab a toehold in the U.S. The P8 Lite has a similar design to the P8, but tones down some of the specs to help drop the price point a bit. The P8 Lite features a 5-inch 720p screen and is powered by a 1.5 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and Huawei's SnapShot feature for instantly capturing images with two presses of the down volume key. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. The P8 Lite can capture 1080p HD and 720p HD video from the rear and front cameras, respectively. Connectivity includes LTE Cat 4, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, and GPS. The P8 Lite runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Huawei's Emotion UI 3.0 on top. The P8 Lite is available unlocked beginning today via GetHuawei.com and Amazon.com. Huawei said the phone will eventually be offered by Fry's, B&H Photo Video, Best Buy, and Target. The phone costs $249, but is being offered at $199 from June 3 through June 6.
Huawei today announced the P8 Lite smartphone and with it a new set of tactics it hopes will convince U.S. consumers to give the phone -- and Huawei -- a shot. Haitao Cui, executive vice president of open markets Huawei USA, believes some invisible barriers have prevented U.S. consumers from buying its devices. The company has taken steps to remove those barriers to ease U.S. consumers' fears about Huawei. To start, Huawei is banking on the appeal of unlocked devices. The P8 Lite is sold directly to consumers unlocked and without a contract. Huawei is offering 3-, 6-, and 12-month financing options, through a partnership with Affirm, for those who'd prefer to break down the P8 Lite's $249 price tag over time. The P8 Lite comes with a two-year warranty with U.S.-based support available via the phone, chat, or social media. Any and all repairs needed during the warranty period will be covered at no charge, as will all shipping costs. The Huawei P8 Lite goes on sale today, June 3, from GetHuawei.com and Amazon.com. Huawei wants to become a top-tier brand in the U.S. with its "affordable premium" devices. It hopes to be the number three handset provider to U.S. buyers within five years.
The U.S. ITC today cleared ZTE of violating a phone-related patent held by InterDigital. Late last year, ZTE was found guilty of infringing three different InterDigital patents. InterDigital is a patent-holding firm and has filed similar lawsuits against Nokia and Huawei.
The FCC this week approved a new Huawei phone for North America that bears a striking resemblance to the just-announced P8 global flagship. The phone approved by the FCC has small but distinct differences, such as a flash on the other side of the camera, matching Huawei's description of a more affordable P8 variant coming the U.S. The FCC approval covers a limited set of LTE bands - plus tri-band WCDMA - that makes it compatible with T-Mobile. In some areas, it may also work with AT&T's LTE network. Huawei has indicated that it plans to launch the U.S. variant of the P8 via unlocked channels in May.
Huawei today announced the P8, its new global flagship phone. The P8 sports a thin unibody metal design and a dual Sony cameras with "super night mode". The main camera also sports optical image stabilization and a dual-tone LED flash. Although the P8 announced today will not reach U.S. shores, Huawei did share with us that a similar - but more affordable - model will come to the U.S. via unlocked channels in approximately one month. The P8 features a 5.2-inch full HD screen, octa-core processor clocked at 2.0 GHz with 3 GB of RAM, and a 2,680mAh battery. The phone has a 13-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel user-facing camera, and supports networks such as Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi. The Huawei P8 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Nokia today said it has agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. The combined companies would be a giant in the telecom equipment space with more than 100,000 employees. The terms of the deal will see Nokia acquire all of Alcatel-Lucent's stock, as traded in both France and the U.S. The companies' boards of directors have approved the deal, though shareholders have yet to vote on the acquisition. The deal will also require regulatory approval. The companies expect the deal to close during the first half of 2016. Once combined, the companies will streamline redundant operations, but believe the 40,000 research and development at its disposal employees will be able to make the company a world leader in the connected IP space. Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent will specifically target the development of 5G wireless networks. The largest competitors remaining are Ericsson and Huawei, though ZTE, Samsung, and others make telecommunications equipment, too. In addition to announcing the Alcatel-Lucent deal, Nokia said it has begun a review of strategic options for its HERE Maps business. Nokia acquired Navteq's mapping business in 2007 and turned it into a competitive global company. Nokia's HERE Maps are available to the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms, as well as online, and provide robust driving, walking, and transit directions. Nokia said its review of HERE Maps may or may not result in a transaction.
Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent today said they are in advanced talks concerning a merger or acquisition between the two. Such a deal would would produce a massive competitor to Sweden's Ericsson and China's Huawei in the telecommunications market. Nokia said the deal currently being considered would entail a "full combination" of the two companies, though the deal could still fall apart. Alcatel-Lucent is valued at about $11.63 billion while Nokia is valued at about $29.59 billion. France, where Alcatel-Lucent is based, is wary of the deal. "The government will be very vigilant regarding the possible consequences on employment and activity at the French sites of Alcatel-Lucent, notably in research and development, as well as the effects on the entire telecoms sector in France," said the French economy ministry. The combined entities could employ more than 100,000 workers, but Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have on their own slashed thousands of jobs over the years. Nokia bought out its networking partner Siemens in 2014 to abolish Nokia Siemens Networks and form the current Nokia Corp. Alcatel-Lucent was formed in 2006 when France's Alcatel merger with the US's Lucent. A Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent merger could face significant hurdles attempting to gain regulatory approval.
Huawei's newest phone - announced this morning - is an affordable, mass-market Android phone that Huawei is selling unlocked in the U.S. It's compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, including 4G LTE. It has a 5-inch HD display, but its specs are otherwise fairly low-end. Its name comes from a unique button shortcut that not only launches the camera, but takes a photo, too. How does it stack up for the $180 Huawei is asking? Read on.
Huawei today announced the SnapTo, an unlocked Android smartphone for sale in the U.S. The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is compatible with the LTE networks operated by AT&T and T-Mobile. Basic features include a 5-inch 720p HD display, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 2,200mAh battery. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and can capture 720p HD video. It has a feature called Ultra Snapshot, which will automatically take a picture if the down volume button is pressed twice, even when the phone is locked. The front camera has a 2-megapixel sensor. Huawei said the device is available for pre-order starting today and general availability begins next week. It will be available online from Amazon.com. GetHuawei.com, BestBuy.com, Brandsmart USA, Frys.com and Fry's Electronic retail stores, NewEgg.com and other retailers. The SnapTo costs $179.99.
Huawei today announced the Huawei Watch, an Android Wear watch with a round face and thin bezel. It does not have the black bar at one edge like the Moto 360. The AMOLED display measures 1.4 inches, with 400 x 400 pixels for 286 ppi density. The Watch includes 4 GB of memory for storing music. On the fitness side, it includes a heart rate monitor and six-axis motion sensor. It is forged from stainless steel and will be available in gold, silver and black. It will be sold in the U.S., although timing was not announced.
Huawei recently said it wants to sell more high-end smartphones and fewer entry-level devices in a bid to increase margins. The company shipped 75 million smartphones during 2014 and wants to improve that number to 100 million in 2015. "If we sold more low-end phones, we could even double our shipments … but in the low-end market there is no margin," said CEO Richard Yu. "We are giving up the low end of the market. Many vendors are suffering." The company has seen measured success in its home market of China with mid-range devices like the Honor series and its high-end Mate 7. Huawei wants to increase sales of devices like these. It's not clear if such a strategy will work, however, as HTC and Samsung both lost ground to rivals after making similar strategic changes. Most of the devices Huawei sells in the U.S. are entry-level and mid-range.
Huawei plans to bring its Honor brand to the U.S. in an attempt to win over consumers. Huawei launched the Honor brand in its home market of China in December 2013. Of its 75 million device sales last year, about 20 million wore the Honor brand. Huawei sells those devices unlocked directly to consumers online, and that's what the company wants to do in the U.S. It believes selling unlocked devices online will have a greater impact than its sales through U.S. carriers. Huawei said it will launch the Honor brand in the U.S. at some point later this year, though the company didn't say which handsets it will sell. The company's Honor 6 and Honor 6 Plus are the brand's flagship devices in China. Huawei told Phone Scoop at CES there are no plans to bring these two handsets to the states.
Rockstar Consortium, a patent-holding company headed by Apple, has agreed to sell more than 4,000 mobile patents for about $900 million. Apple and partners Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony paid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents from Nortel four years ago in order to help protect against litigation. The companies are selling two-thirds of the patents to RPX Corp., which is another patent-focused company that protects companies from lawsuits. RPX plans to license the patent portfolio to a syndicate of 30 technology companies, including Google and Cisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. The syndicate members contributed the bulk of the $900 million in order to purchase the patents. In addition to the patent sale, Rockstar will settle patent-related lawsuits it has filed against Android device makers, including Samsung, Huawei, HTC, and LG. Terms of those settlements were not disclosed. Rockstar Consortium will hold onto about 2,000 of the old Nortel patents, which the Journal described as the "most valuable" of the bunch.
Consumer Cellular today announced the immediate availability of the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 and Vision 2. The Mate 2 has been available to U.S. consumers unlocked directly from Huawei for several months. It features a 6.1-inch 720p HD screen. The Vision 2 (pictured), however, is a new handset. The Vision 2 features a 4-inch WVGA display and dual-core 1.2GHz processor. It has a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, 4GB of internal storage, and memory card support up to 32GB. The Vision 2 is compatible with HSPA cellular networks and includes Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi radios. The device features Consumer Cellular's Easy Mode, which the company believes is ideal for first-time smartphone buyers. It runs Android 4.3. The Vision 2 costs $100. The Ascend Mate 2 costs either $250 at full retail, or $100 followed by six payments of $25. Last, starting today, customers will now have either 30 days, 300 minutes, 300 texts, or 300 MB of data to use, whichever comes first.
Huawei kicked out two new Android smartphones in Berlin this week. Here our our first thoughts on the Ascend Mate 7 and Ascend G7, which compete on cost, but not necessarily quality.
Huawei today announced the Ascend G7, a premium mid-range device that boasts a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen and support for worldwide LTE networks. The device is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and a 3,000mAh battery. Huawei says the battery lasts two days under heavy use, but the G7 still includes a low-power mode that can squeeze out 24 hours of battery life by cutting down on the number of running apps, screen brightness, and other functions. The G7 includes a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel user-facing camera with an 88-degree field of view for selfies. The G7 has a mostly metallic finish and will be available in black, white, and gold. It goes on sale in select markets in September with other markets to follow. Huawei didn't say if the device would come to the U.S.
Huawei today announced the Ascend Mate 7, a new Android smartphone that adds a fingerprint sensor for biometric security. The fingerprint sensor, located on the back, can read fingerprints in any orientation and can even read wet fingers. The Mate 7 has a 6-inch IPS screen with what Huawei calls "negative liquid crystal display" technology. The bezels along the sides of the screen are minimal. Huawei calls the look "invisible edge." Its screen-to-body ratio is 83%, meaning the screen takes up a huge proportion of the front face of the device. Huawei added metal to the design in order to give it a more premium look and design. The entire back plate is forged from metal, and the edges are chamfered to give it a high-end appearance. Despite the metal materials, it still supports NFC. The Mate 7 is 7.9mm thick, but houses a 4,100mAh battery. It is powered by an oct-core processor in a big.LITTLE configuration. The Huawei Kirin 925 processor batches four A15 1.8 GHz chips and four A7 1.3 GHz chips with integrated graphics. The Kirin 925 has a co-procesor to manage sensors in low-power mode. The phone has a 13-megapixel camera with BSI and f/2 aperture; 5-megapixel user-facing camera; Quick Charge; and Category 6 LTE. The phone comes in black, gold, and silver.
Huawei today announced a variant of the Ascend P7 that swaps out the glass display for sapphire. The Ascend P7 Sapphire Edition also makes use of rose gold in the metallic frame. Huawei didn't say when nor where the sapphire P7 will be available.
Huawei recently said it has no plans to release a Tizen-based smartphone, and also said it will no longer make smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. "Some telecom carriers are pushing us to design Tizen phones but I say 'no' to them. In the past we had a team to do research on Tizen but I canceled it," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, to The Wall Street Journal. "We feel Tizen has no chance to be successful. Even for Windows Phone it's difficult to be successful." Tizen is a Linux-based platform created by Samsung and Intel. Samsung, Tizen's primary backer, has delayed plans to realize a Tizen phone indefinitely as it builds up the app ecosystem. Huawei remains a member of the Tizen Association, but its new stance on the platform further clouds Tizen's potential. As for Windows Phone, Huawei complained of losing money on the platform for two years. "We have tried using the Windows Phone OS. But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone," said Yu. "It wasn't profitable for us. So for now we've decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold. We have worries about Android being the only option, but we have no choice. And we have a good collaboration with Google." Google's Android platform holds about 85% of the global smartphone market, with Apple's iOS holding 11% and Windows Phone holding 2.5%. BlackBerry's share of the market is less than 1%.
Huawei today said the Ascend Mate2 is available to U.S. consumers through a new web site, GetHuawei.com. Huawei initially announced the Ascend Mate2 in January, and later said it would sell the device directly to consumers rather than through a wireless network operator. Key features of the Mate2 include a 6.1-inch 720p HD display, 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 4,050mAh battery, 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel user-facing camera, and support for the LTE networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Huawei's Emotion UI 2.0, which supports mini-apps that float above other apps, and a driving mode with a simplified interface. Huawei is asking $300 for the Ascend Mate2, which ships unlocked.
Huawei today unveiled the Ascend P7 at an event held in Paris. The P7 is a successor to the P6 and is Huawei's flagship device for the year. The P7 features a full HD 5-inch display protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. The phone has glass on the front and back, and a metallic band on the sides. The phone is very thin and measures 6.5mm. The P7 includes a 13-megapixel camera with a Sony sensor inside. The Sony sensor makes use of back-side illumination and has a wide aperture of f/2. According to Huawei, the P7 can be ready to shoot pictures in 1.2 seconds - even from the lock screen. Huawei created a feature for the camera called Voice Photos, which will record a 10-second audio clip to accompany a series of pictures. The P7 also includes an 8-megapixel user-facing camera for self portraits. Huawei says the user-facing camera can shoot wide panoramas. The P7 runs Android and has Huawei's Emotion user interface. Huawei added support for worldwide LTE 4G networks. The Ascend P7 launches in a wide number of markets this month, but Huawei didn't specify if or when the P7 might arrive in the U.S.
The CTIA Wireless Association today said a number of handset makers and wireless network operators have agreed to a basic framework that will eventually provide consumers with better anti-theft tools for their smartphones. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is meant to deter theft while also giving phone makers and carriers room to innovate. All the companies agreed to implement a baseline anti-theft tool preloaded on (or downloadable to) all wireless smartphones manufactured after July 2015. This tool will let consumers: remotely wipe their data; render the smartphone inoperable to unauthorized users; prevent reactivation without owner's consent; and reverse the inoperability of the device as well as restore the data to the device in the event it is found by the owner. Consumers will also be free to use whatever third-party anti-theft tools they wish in addition to those provided by the phone maker. All signatories will make the baseline anti-theft tool available with all its core features. The initial batch of companies signing the commitment include: Apple; Asurion; AT&T; Google; HTC America; Huawei; Motorola; Microsoft; Nokia; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless. Some of those who haven't signed include Kyocera, LG, Sony, ZTE. A number of lawmakers lauded the commitment, which arrives several months after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler mandated that wireless companies come up with such a solution or face regulatory intervention.
Huawei today revealed a teaser for a sales web site that will offer the company's Ascend Mate 2 phablet direct to U.S. consumers. The Ascend Mate 2 is a phablet with a 6.1-inch display that was first revealed at CES in January. It competes with Samsung's Galaxy Mega. It sports impressive camera and battery specs, paired with a mid-range display and processor to achieve a lower price point. Huawei is not yet announcing the release date and pricing.
Huawei today indicated it has changed its plans and will no longer bring a dual-boot smartphone with Android and Windows Phone to market. "Huawei adopts an open approach towards mobile operating systems to provide a range of choices for consumers," said the company in a statement provided to FierceWireless. "However, most of our products are based on Android OS, [and] at this stage there are no plans to launch a dual-OS smartphone in the near future." A Huawei executive had earlier said the company would make a smartphone with both Android and Windows Phone on board. The company has effectively cancelled those plans. Huawei noted, however, that it considers Microsoft to be an important business partner and it will continue to support Windows Phone. "As long as the consumers continue to demand Windows, we will continue to supply them."
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that HTC, Huawei, and ZTE did not infringe on camera-related patents owned by FlashPoint. The ruling was a review of an initial decision made by an administrative law judge last year. The full panel changed the initial ruling (which had found HTC guilty), exonerated all three companies, and dismissed the case. Companies often use the ITC to try patent cases as the agency has the power to ban sales of products found guilty of violating intellectual property.
Huawei envisions the Ascend G6 as the phone that will make its brand more globally recognized. We take a look.
Huawei today announced the TalkBand B1, a smartphone accessory that doubles as a fitness tracker and a Bluetooth headset. The device has a 1.4-inch flexible OLED screen and relies on NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to connect to smart devices. It is compatible with Android 2.3 and up, and iOS 5.0 and up. It includes a removable earpiece that's good for up to seven hours of talk time. The TalkBand wirelessly tracks the wearer's activity time, such as steps taken, miles covered, and calories burned. It also records sleep duration and quality, and it has its own alarm. The TablkBand B1 has a 90mAh battery that lasts about six days for tracking activity and sleep. Huawei didn't say when the TablkBand B1 will be available, nor how much it will cost.
Huawei today announced the Ascend G6, a premium Android smartphone that will be sold at a low price. It features a high-quality design that will be offered in metallic and pastel colors. The device runs Android, but Huawei is offering two separate user interfaces: plain Android and its own home-designed UI. The G6 has a 4.5-inch qHD screen and is powered by a quad-core 1.26GHz processor. It boasts NFC, Bluetooth Low Energy, dual-band Wi-Fi, and LTE. The G6 includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel, wide-angle, user-facing camera that offers a selfie preview panel. The G6 also packs a 2,000mAh battery. Huawei said the device will be available in April, though it didn't share plans to launch the device in the U.S. It will cost about $300.
Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has dropped its patent infringement lawsuit against Huawei. The suit was originally filed last year, and included co-defendents Google, Samsung, and HTC. Rockstar believes the companies are violating its patents. Neither Rockstar nor Huawei indicated why the suit was dropped, nor whether or not Huawei signed a licensing agreement with Rocktar. The lawsuit still stands against the other companies. Google, in particular, is accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents.
Huawei's phablet for 2014 is the Ascend Mate2 4G. It's a 6.1-incher with a lot of features, but trims a few things to make it more affordable than the competition. Check out our hands-on impressions.
Huawei today announced the Ascend Mate2 4G, the follow-up to its Ascend Mate phablet. The Mate2 will have 4G LTE compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the U.S. Like the original, it sports a 6.1-inch display, although the Mate2 has a much smaller bezel, giving it the best screen-to-body ratio in the industry, according to Huawei. The Mate2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor at 1.6 GHz. It has a large 4050 mAh battery and can even be used to charge other phones. The main camera is 13-megapixel and the front camera is an unusual 5-megapixels with a wide-angle lens, for high-quality selfies. The screen is super-sensitive, supporting use through standard gloves. It runs Huawei's Emotion UI 2.0, which supports mini-apps that float above other apps, and a driving mode with a simplified interface. Pricing and release timing were not immediately available.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not infringe on six InterDigital patents, and it invalidated a seventh patent, clearing the companies of any wrongdoing. The ITC upheld the preliminary ruling made earlier this year. ZTE said it was pleased with the ITC's decision, while Nokia and Huawei have yet to file public responses. InterDigital's attempt to ban the import of certain ZTE, Huawei, and Nokia devices has been nixed. InterDigital, which is a patent-holding firm, filed similar complaints against Samsung.
Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Google, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC. Rockstar alleges that the companies are violating its patents. Google, in particular, stands accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Specific details about Samsung, HTC, and Huawei's infringements weren't immediately specified. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents. Google and others attempted to buy the same patents won by Rockstar. "Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe," read a portion of the lawsuit.
Huawei today announced the Ascend W2, a new Windows Phone that takes a page from Nokia with vividly colored shells. The Ascend W2 is being offered in black, yellow, red, and blue, and has 20 colored homescreen themes to mix and match with the handset's exterior. Huawei says that matching color choices are offered across the phone's keyboard backlights and user interface themes, as well. The phone has a 4.3-inch WVGA LCD screen with what Huawei calls "Magic Touch" technology. The screen is sensitive enough so that it will work when the user is wearing gloves. The W2 is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. The device runs Windows Phone 8 and includes 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage. It can shoot 720p HD video. The Huawei Ascend W2 is already available in Huawei's home market of China, and will reach Russia and The Netherlands in November, with other markets to follow. Huawei didn't reveal any specific plans to sell the device in the U.S.
A handful of mobile technology companies today announced the formation and launch of MobileBench, a consortium meant to help developers better benchmark their apps and services across today's mobile devices. The founding members include Broadcom, Huawei, OPPO, Samsung, and Spreadtrum, all of which met for the first time this week and demonstrated the first MobileBench benchmarking tool. The consortium has two major areas of focus: benchmarking mobile hardware, and how the hardware affects the user experience within applications. Developers and engineers have full control over the tools, and can alter parameters throughout the testing process, which delivers results immediately. The MobileBench Consortium is actively seeking new members and hopes to provide "objective ways to evaluate a mobile device's performance in the real world."
Consumer Cellular today announced the availability of the Huawei Vision. The Vision is an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone and it has a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 1GHz processor, MP3 player, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. It also includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. The Huawei vision costs $99. Consumer Cellular also announced that the Vision and the Envoy, an inexpensive flip phone, will be available at Sears stores throughout the country.
MetroPCS recently added the Huawei Valiant to its roster of Android smartphones. This bar-style device, which is available from the MetroPCS web site for $79 without a contract, features a 4.0-inch display with Gorilla Glass and a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor. The Valiant also has a 3-megapixel camera that also captures video, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2GB of internal memory, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Huawei Valiant is powered by a 1750mAh battery and runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.