It seems an odd time to be excite about Huawei, the company that produces much of the telecommunications infrastructure of telcos. After all, they only produce practically every mobile broadband dongle in the country, including the Dialog 4G units, and, well, they sell super-high-end telco stuff to those that need it. Their Ascend P7? Gorgeous phone, almost universally well reviewed, but we didn’t really see many of that floating around. (By that we mean we never saw anybody with that phone, period).
However, Huawei is leak central right now. A Chinese site leaked the following roadmap, which charts Huawei releases with those of Xiaomi:
Then there are the rumors that Huawei will be making the next Nexus phone. And their OS, an Android competitor – possibly like CyanogenMod and OxygenOS, but possibly like Tizen. They’re already designing their own chips (the Kirin series running their flagships) and they’re possibly the third largest smartphone vendor in the world, so yeah: these are interesting times, at least for smartphone buffs (note: we took a trip to Huawei HQ Sri Lanka to try to verify these, but they refused to confirm any rumors).
So, without further ado, here’s what we think we know:
1) THIS MAY BE THE NEXT NEXUS.
Remember how the Nexus 5 was based on the LG G2? Likewise, the next Nexus is rumored to be built on Huawei’s Mate8. Chinese website Mydrivers.com tells us to expect a 5.7-incher, with a 2K screen. Android Pit threw some fuel into the fire when they insisted that LG was also making a Nexus device. If that’s true, that’s excellent. Nexus devices are good. They give everyone a welcome respite from whatever phone manufacturers think is a good Android interface.
Oddly, reports also claim that this phone (from Huawei) will use a Snapdragon 810 instead of Huawei’s own octa-core Kirin processors, which will show up in …
2) U WOT MATE?
Then there is the Mate 7’s successor, the Mate 8, a phone apparently named with Australia in mind. This one’s said to have a 2K display, octa-core Kirin 930 processor, 3/4GB of RAM, 20.7-megapixel back camera,and 8 megapixel front cam and Lollipop. Given the fact that the put 128 GB of memory inside the Mate 7, we think they’ll go that route with the Mate 8, too. One does wonder whether this isn’t overkill (do you need that many pixels to read your Whatsapp messages?), but phone brands, like car manufacturers, thrive on the hype built by overkill flagships.
3) KIRIN OS
Apparently with great distribution networks come great impatience with Google. Rumors suggest that Huawei has been working on their own operating system, title KirinOS, for the better part of three years now. It’s apparently optimized to work with Huawei’s Kirin processors and could be a result of a partnership with ZTE.
Of course, any new OS release is to be taken with a grain of salt; for all the hype, iOS and Android still reign king. However, remember that China is the world’s largest smartphone market – 98.8 million units were shipped in the first quarter of 2015. Contrast that with the roughly 300 million iPhones sold since 2008 and you have some idea of how huge the market is. Despite a recent slowdown, that’s still a LOT of phones. Huawei doesn’t need to capture an international audience – even if they focused on getting China on KirinOS, that’s a massive userbase.
4) MORE MIDRANGES
We’re not entirely certain that Huawei will opt to make its recently-introduced Honor Holly (midrange phone, 5″ 720p display, great price) obsolete, but it looks like the almost identically specc’ed Honor 3C will be getting replaced by something a bit more premium. This could be the Honor G Play Mini – an $250 phone that looks like it brings some metal into the midrange. These are photos and screenshots from Italian tech reviewers at Everyeye.it and Cactusyack Estudios. So far, despite teasers from the company itself, these devices haven’t popped up in the SEA region.
The good news is that we will probably actually see these phones without having to wait months for dealers to start stocking them. Huawei Sri Lanka seems to be angling for a global wave of press and a follow-up wave of devices hitting the markets.