Huawei offers 'fastest' phone as its mobile sales grow 60%
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment group, has unveiled what it claims is the world's fastest smartphone and announced a 60% annual rise in shipments of its mobile devices.
Headlining at the mobile phone industry's annual gathering in Barcelona, which opened its doors a day after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied across Spain in protest at national austerity, Huawei presented its latest device to run on Google's Android software.
The Ascend P2 connects to the web two or three times faster than other smartphones when using Wi-Fi, its maker claims, downloading high-definition films in minutes and videos, songs and ebooks in seconds.
In the Christmas quarter, Huawei overtook BlackBerry to become the world's third largest smartphone maker. Although it is some way behind Samsung and Apple, its less expensive but high-performing handsets are attracting a growing following. It shipped 127m consumer devices last year, of which 32m were smartphones, alongside more basic phones, home broadband modems and dongles to connect laptops to mobile networks.
The surge in sales is despite heightened concerns in Washington and London over cyberspying and the degree to which Huawei's equipment should be trusted at the heart of western networks.
In a sign of the shifting power balance in telecoms, Huawei and Samsung are vying with Sweden's Ericsson and US computer chip maker Qualcomm to host the largest stands at this year's Mobile World Congress trade fair.
Although the number of delegates is expected to rise from 67,000 to 70,000 this year, cash-strapped mobile networks are cutting back their presence as austerity grips Europe. According to Bloomberg, Vodafone is spending 20% less this year and, along with Sweden's TeliaSonera, is sending fewer executives. "What we see at the event matches the trends we have in the industry," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer of mobile carriers' association and congress organiser GSMA. "Europe is the flatter piece of the equation."
Conspicuously missing from the exhibitors is Google. Last year, to showcase Android, the company took a gigantic stand which featured a juice bar and a helter-skelter.
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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