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.
MetroPCS stores recently added the Huawei Pal to their lineup of simple feature phones. The Pal, also referred to as the U2800, is a bar-style phone that features a 1.8-inch screen with 160 x 128 pixels and a 900mAh battery. The Pal runs Brew and includes basic messaging and web apps.
The U.S International Trade Commission today found that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not violate a patent owned by InterDigital. This was the preliminary decision reached by an administrative law judge. The full ITC will make a final decision on the matter in October. InterDigital is a patent-licensing firm and had sued the companies over intellectual property pertaining to power conservation and messaging in mobile devices. LG was also named in the original suit, but settled with InterDigital. InterDigital was hoping the ITC would block the offending devices from entering the U.S.
T-Mobile USA recently added the Huawei Prism II to its web site. The Prism II is an Android smartphone that ships with 4.1 Jelly Bean. Features include a 3.2-megapixel camera, 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. The Prism II also supports microSD memory cards and Wi-Fi calling, but not T-Mobile's forthcoming LTE network. The Huawei Prism II has been available in select markets since June 19, but will see national retail and online availability beginning June 26. It requires a down payment of $19.99 and 24 monthly payments of $4.
Huawei is looking at ways to grow its business, and acquisitions are one possible avenue it might explore. One company that has made its short list of targets is Nokia. "We are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia. We are open-minded," said Richard Yu, head of consumer products for Huawei in an interview with the Financial Times. Huawei has faced difficulty finding traction in the U.S. with its telecommunications networking gear business, though its handsets have found space on the shelves of U.S. wireless network operators. Yu did not indicate that Huawei and Nokia are holding formal talks, nor did Nokia comment on Yu's remarks.
Huawei today announced the Ascend P6, an Android smartphone that measures just 6.18mm thick. The P6 features a metallic body that houses a 4.7-inch HD in-cell display that can be used with when wearing gloves. The P6 includes a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel main camera with backside illumination and an aperture of f/2. The P6 also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for higher-quality self portraits. It comes with a 2,000mAh battery and Huawei's Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) and Quick Power Control (QPC) battery optimization tools that Huawei claims results in power efficiency gains of 30%. Other Huawei software elements include its Emotion user interface, which offers customized widgets and apps. The Ascend P6 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The P6 will first ship across China and European markets beginning in July, with other markets to follow. Huawei did not say if the P6 or a version thereof would be sold in the U.S.
Odin Mobile today announced that it will launch new cellular service in July for those with visual impairments. Odin Mobile is an MVNO that operates on T-Mobile USA's network. The company will offer several handsets, including the Huawei-made Ray (pictured). The Ray is a touch phone that was designed with eye-free operation in mind. It can be used to make and receive voice calls, manage contacts, and lets the visually impaired access their call history and use caller ID. It uses text-to-speech technology to read text messages aloud, and includes a calendar, and the ability to recognize colors and money. The Ray can be used with audiobooks and audio magazines, as well. The Ray costs $299.99. Odin Mobile is offering two other handsets made by Emporia, the Click and the Essence, The Click is a flip phone and the Essence is a bar-style phone. They offer similar features, such as adjustable fonts, high-contrast displays, large buttons, and loud speakers. They also include basics such as SMS, Bluetooth, flashlights, GPS, and emergency call buttons. The Click costs $73.00 and the Essence costs $49.00. Service plans start at $10 per month for 150 minutes and 150 texts and range up to $45 per month for 4000 minutes/texts. Odin did not say exactly when in July its service will launch.
Mozilla and Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, confirmed that the two companies will soon launch a mobile device. Mozilla distributed invitations to a press event scheduled for June 3, which is when the two companies are expected to more formally announce their partnership alongside the new device. The device will run Mozilla's Firefox OS, which Mozilla has been developing as an alternative for hardware makers looking to offer something other than Android gear. Mozilla has already scored other hardware partnerships with LG, Huawei, and ZTE. Foxconn is most well known for being the manufacturer of Apple's products.
Powermat today announced that it has merged with PowerKiss. Powermat, based in the U.S., makes and markets wireless charging accessories. It backs the standard supported by the Power Matters Alliance. Before today, PowerKiss, which is based in Finland, backed a competing standard. Now that the two companies are one, they are together throwing their weight behind the PMA wireless charging standard. The PMA is mounting a challenge to competing standards Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power. Earlier this year, the PMA won support from AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, LG, Samsung, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, AT&T mandated that its handset partners incorporate the PMA wireless charging standard into their devices by 2014. Verizon Wireless supports the Qi standard. The consumer electronics industry has yet to settle on a single standard.
Huawei today announced that the W1, its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone, will be available at Walmart stores in the U.S. beginning later this month. The W1 is known as the Ascend W1 in other markets. It features a 4-inch LCD screen with 800 x 480 pixels, a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video capture, 1.7GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. Huawei did not say which carrier will provide service for the W1, but Walmart sells TracFone devices, and the W1 is compatible with TracFone's network. Pricing was not provided, nor was the exact release date.
Huawei has revised sales estimates for its wireless networking business downward after reassessing its chances in the U.S. market. Huawei had hoped U.S. network operators, such as Sprint, would purchase its networking equipment and boost its presence here. The company met with resistance from members of the U.S. government, which cast suspicion on the company's ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has steadfastly denied such claims. However, it has not been able to gain the traction it wanted with U.S. companies. "We are not interested in the U.S. market anymore. Generally speaking, it's not a market that we pay much attention to," said executive VP Eric Xu. Huawei still sells cell phones though U.S. network operators.
The Power Matters Alliance, a group pitching a wireless charging standard that competes with the Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power standards, has recently won new support from handset makers and carriers. The group announced this week that HTC, Huawei, LG, and Samsung have all joined the PMA, which already includes members such as AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, Kyocera, PowerMat, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, existing PMA member AT&T is asking its handset partners to integrate PMA-compatible wireless charging technology into their handsets by 2014. According to the PMA, there are already some 1,500 PMA-certified wireless charging stations at Starbucks coffee shops, airports, and other locations around the country. The Power Matters Alliance uses a wireless charging technology that is slightly different from those offered by Qi and A4WP. Each of the three standards allows devices to charge wirelessly when placed on a compatible charging pad. Verizon's handsets have incorporated Qi for years, which already has wide support from other carriers and handset makers. The electronics industry as a whole has yet to settle on one of the standards for all devices moving forward.
Sprint and Softbank have agreed to unofficial terms requested by the U.S. government with respect to purchasing telecommunications and wireless networking equipment from Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE. Softbank is in the process of acquiring a 70% stake in Sprint, and the agreement is meant to help ease the transaction though the approval process. Government regulators cannot mandate that Sprint and Softbank avoid equipment made by Chinese companies, but lawmakers wanted to make sure they had an ear to the ground when Sprint is purchasing gear. "I have met with SoftBank and Sprint regarding this merger and was assured they would not integrate Huawei in to the Sprint network and would take mitigation efforts to replace Huawei equipment in the Clearwire network," said Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The U.S. government is concerned that equipment made by Huawei and ZTE could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the U.S. Huawei flatly denies that its products pose any sort of security risk.
In order to win U.S. government approval of its equity sale to Softbank, Sprint may have to allow government officials to unofficially greenlight networking equipment purchases. According to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, the intent of the provision would be to keep Chinese suppliers Huawei and ZTE from selling their gear to U.S. companies. The U.S. government has long been wary of allowing Huawei and ZTE to provide telecommunications infrastructure due to fears about espionage. Sprint is selling 70% of itself to Japanese network operator Softbank for $20 billion. The Journal notes that any such provisions could not be spelled out explicitly, as that would violate international trade law, and would instead only require Sprint to let the government know when it is making telecommunications gear purchases. A law signed by President Barack Obama last week included a new cyber-espionage review process for U.S. government technology purchases. This law more explicitly states that the U.S. government needs to approve of IT purchases made by NASA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The intent behind this new law is the same as that being applied to the Sprint deal: the government wants to be able to restrict the sale of Chinese networking equipment to U.S. agencies. Huawei spokesperson Bill Plummer said to the Journal, "The adoption of such a policy would seem little more than a market-distorting political or protectionist exercise."
MetroPCS today announced the Huawei Premia 4G, a new Android smartphone that costs just $149. The Premia boasts a 4-inch 800 x 480 pixel display and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. The Premia features a 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash and 720p HD video capture, as well as a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. It is compatible with MetroPCS' joyn messaging service, and ships with Rhapsody preinstalled. Other features include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for MetroPCS' LTE 4G network. The Huawei Premia 4G runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is available online and in stores beginning today.