HONG KONG—Huawei Technologies Co. seems to be taking a page out of Samsung Electronics Co.'s 005930.SE -0.22% playbook.
Three months after Samsung debuted its Galaxy S4 smartphone at a flashy event in New York with a Broadway-style show, the Chinese company is trying to build up a similar hype for its smartphone launch event in London Tuesday.
Huawei has released teasers ahead of the unveiling of the Ascend P6.
Apple will remain in the headlines next week, due to its e-book trial. Meanwhile, Huawei is hoping to get attention for its new smartphone. Tech editor Scott Austin joins digits. Photo: Getty Images.
In its first stand-alone global product launch, Shenzhen-based Huawei, known globally for its telecommunications equipment such as antennas and base stations, will debut its flagship smartphone, the Ascend P6, at London's Roundhouse, a historic performing arts venue that has hosted concerts by rock bands The Doors and Led Zeppelin. Previously, Huawei had unveiled new handsets rather quietly at trade shows such as the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For Huawei, which generates about 70% of its revenue overseas, Europe is its biggest market outside China.
Huawei, the world's second-largest supplier of telecom network equipment after Sweden's Ericsson, is trying to establish itself as a consumer brand by increasing marketing efforts. The outcome of the London event and subsequent sales of the P6 could determine the future of Huawei's smartphone business, at a time when its core telecom equipment business faces more challenges due to security concerns raised by lawmakers in the U.S. and the U.K.
The company's smartphone business faces an uphill battle. Huawei isn't well-known among consumers, even though it was the world's fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the first quarter according to research firm IDC. Huawei's handset business has grown over the years by selling low-cost models, many of them marketed under telecom operators' names. Last year, about half of the company's smartphones shipped globally were priced between $100 and $150, according to research firm Canalys.
But Huawei is hoping that by beefing up marketing, it will generate more buzz for its smartphones. The company doesn't disclose its marketing spending.
"We expect the Ascend P6 to work miracles," said Richard Yu, who heads Huawei's consumer business group, in a recent post on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblog site. For the past few weeks, Mr. Yu has shared bits and pieces of information on the new "ultrathin" smartphone. He has posted on his Facebook FB -0.42% page a photo of the P6, showing parts of the phone's display and rounded edge.
The Ascend P6 will run on Google's Android OS.
Huawei Teases Smartphone Ahead of Launch
While Huawei has declined to give out details on the new smartphone, several technology blog sites have already reported that the P6 will likely come with a 4.7-inch display, a metal casing and is likely to be just a little over 6 millimeters thick. The phone is expected to run on Google Inc.'s GOOG -0.22% Android operating system.
In the past year, the company has been rolling out more Huawei-branded smartphones—rather than those sold under carriers' names—with large high-resolution screens and other features typically offered by better-known competitors. The P6 likely represents Huawei's latest and biggest step in that direction.
Earlier this month, Huawei's mobile device unit posted on YouTube a teaser titled "VIP: Very Important Product." The two-and-a-half-minute video features a man in a black suit running at full speed—with electronic music in the background—across the streets of Europe to deliver a little container with a Huawei logo to London, in time for Tuesday's event. The video has generated nearly one million views, making it by far the most popular video ever posted by Huawei. The company declined to comment on how much it has spent on the marketing campaign for the P6 and the London event.
Huawei's launch of the P6 comes at a time when the global smartphone market is becoming more crowded and intensely competitive, with a number of players such as HTC Corp., 2498.TW +2.11% LG Electronics Inc. 066570.SE -1.36% and Sony Corp. 6758.TO +1.40% trying to challenge the duopoly of Samsung and Apple Inc. AAPL -1.38% From China, personal-computer giant Lenovo Group Ltd. 0992.HK -0.27% is also expanding its smartphones business abroad.
Samsung, meanwhile, is holding a product launch event in London on Thursday. The company is expected to show the Galaxy S4 Mini and other new products.
For Huawei and other Chinese firms selling smartphones powered by Android, establishing global brand awareness is important even when they try to compete against Samsung in China. Chinese consumers, particularly in urban areas, are becoming more conscious of international brands, said Canalys analyst Rachel Lashford. Last year, Samsung was the largest smartphone vendor in China as well as globally, according to IDC.
Winning the hearts of consumers with smartphones is important because Huawei's core network equipment business is trying to fight off allegations made by some politicians in the U.S. and U.K. that its telecom gear could pose national security risks. In an interview this month, Guo Ping, one of Huawei's top executives, rebutted such security concerns raised recently by a U.K. parliamentary committee. Last year, Huawei strongly denied similar allegations made by U.S. lawmakers.
"Huawei is clearly trying to push up the value chain to be a premium player rather than a low-cost player," said Ms. Lashford. Huawei, thanks to its network gear business, has access to telecom operator channels around the world for distributing its handsets, but creating a distinctive brand image will likely be a difficult, time-consuming process, she said.
"One product launch isn't going to cut it."
The latest leak involves internal documents, which were sent to us by one of our readers who chose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. While we can't share the actual documents with you, we can reveal their contents, which give us the full nitty-gritty on the device.
We got to learn that the Ascend P6 will be powered by a 2000 mAh Li-Po 2000 battery and will have a 5MP front-facing camera capable of 720p video recording. The Bluetooth specification turned out to be v3.0 rather than v4.0, and the wireless 802.11a standard isn't supported, which probably points to the lack of dual-band Wi-Fi.
There's also confirmation of a temperature sensor and the exact measurements, which come in at 132.7 x 65.5 x 6.5mm, with a weight of 120g.
The detailed specs sheet also proves that many of the previous rumors were correct – the smartphone will be powered by a a quad-core 1.5 GHz K3V2+ Huawei chipset with 1.5GHz quad-core CPU and an Intel XMM6260 modem. The Huawei Ascend P6 will also offer 8MP camera capable of 1080p video recording, 8GB of expandable internal storage with 2GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch 16M color screen of 720p resolution – all running on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
You can check the complete specs sheet in our Huawei Ascend P6 specs page. Just don't forget to check back with us on June 18th for the official launch, so we can see what else Huawei may have up its sleeve.
Full Specs: Click Here!
Seems like they are building the hype alright, will get it's full info during the CommunicAsia 2013 in Singapore.
Cant wait for it
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