Huawei has announced pricing details for its Android Vision smartphone and MediaPad tablet, hoping to gain traction in an intensely competitive mobile marketplace with devices that have strong feature sets but are cheaper than their competitors.
Huawei has long specialised in so-called "white label" devices that carry other companies' brands. But the latest devices - including its recently launched Blaze smartphone - will carry Huawei's name, said Mark Mitchinson, Huawei's vice president for the UK and Ireland.
Huawei also decided to open a design centre in the first quarter of next year in London that will specialise in building products for the European market. Mitchinson said London is the best place to attract top designers.
Huawei's tablet, the MediaPad, runs the Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" operating system. It has a dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor and a seven-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen as opposed to its predecessor, the Ideos S7, which had a resistive touchscreen in its first version. The MediaPad's screen has 1080p resolution, and the device weighs 390g.
There are two versions of the MediaPad: one that supports Wi-Fi b/g/n and HSDPA+ at 14.4 Mbps, and one that supports just Wi-Fi. Huawei said the battery will last six hours. It has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel autofocus camera on the back that can record HD video. The device also has an HDMI port. The MediaPad comes with Facebook, Twitter, Let's Golf and Documents To Go preinstalled.
It will be available early next year in the UK from retailers and operators. The Wi-Fi version will cost around £275 not including VAT of 20%. By comparison, the cheapest Apple iPad is £399 - including VAT - for a 16GB, Wi-Fi-only version. Mitchinson said Huawei is still in discussions with operators on which ones will carry the device.
The MediaPad launches with the Huawei Vision smartphone, which will be available from Phones 4U by December 25. It is expected to cost about £25 a month with subsidies from operators. Huawei expects to confirm operators early next year.
The Huawei Vision runs the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system and has a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8255 processor. It also has a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with an LED flash and takes 720p resolution video. The Vision is Wi-Fi and HSDPA capable. The phone is 9.9mm thick and weighs 121g. It will come in three colours: silver, rose-gold and charcoal grey.