Huawei looks to go up market with latest handset launch – Huawei has launched its most technically advanced smartphone as it ramps up its challenge to Apple and Samsung in the premium smartphone market.
The Chinese telecoms equipment maker and third-largest smartphone maker in the world unveiled the P8 and set out plans to offer a premium smartphone to rival other high-end devices.
The move marks a shift in strategy for the group which has tended to focus on selling cheaper handsets to customers less concerned about better-known western brands.[ads2]
Shao Yang, president of strategy marketing of Huawei’s consumer arm, said that the company was gradually building consumer trust with its devices.
He said that smartphones costing more than €400 made up about 15 per cent of its sales last year. Such handsets are more profitable for Huawei than the lower-cost devices that once dominated its sales, he added.
Analysts, however, warned that Huawei faced a battle to establish itself as a more premium smartphone maker.
“The Huawei P8 smartphone closes the gap on rivals ticking all the boxes on design and performance but the company has a mountain to climb as it seeks to position Huawei as a luxury brand in Europe,” said Jasdeep Badyal, an analyst at CCS Insight. “The P8 will certainly turn heads if Huawei can enhance its brand credentials.”
The aluminium P8 has a host of features offering high-quality voice calls, camera accuracy and processing power. Social media commentators were quick to jump on the more unusual aspects such as the “double-knuckle tap”, to capture a screen shot and the ability to call out to find a misplaced phone that will respond through its speaker.[ads2]
The Android smartphone market has become highly competitive, with a number of companies seeking to win customers such as Samsung, HTC and Sony.
Mr Badyal said that Huawei has been “relentless in its efforts” to increase market share beyond China, adding that its “home market scale is a huge advantage when taking on established players”.[ads2]
There are two versions of the P8. The standard device will be sold for €499 and the premium version for €599. It will be available in more than 30 countries including China, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.