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Huawei joins WP8 roster


Huawei Ascend W1
Steve Costello

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LIVE FROM CES 2013: Chinese device maker Huawei announced its first smartphone powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform, joining HTC, Nokia and Samsung in supporting the platform.

Called Ascend W1, the device is described as “a smart and stylish alternative for consumers looking for great technology at a price that is right” – indicating that it is likely to be priced competitively.

It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual core Qualcomm processor and has a 4-inch touchscreen. It offers 470 hours of standby time, which the vendor said is “the longest among all smartphones in its class”.

While Microsoft’s Terry Myerson, corporate VP of Windows Phone, said that “we are excited to be working with Huawei to further expand our device portfolio to new locations and price points”, the Chinese player is not the only one aiming to push WP8 into the mid-range.

Nokia has already announced its Lumia 620, which is set to reach the market imminently with a $249 price tag, and slower processor and smaller screen than the Ascend W1.

While Huawei also offers Android-powered devices, enabling it to offer a range of smartphones at different price-points, Nokia is only using Windows Phone in this space – although it is also attempting to position its Asha devices as “smartphones”.

And while Huawei is known for its value products, it is attempting to move further up the food chain.

This week, at the 2013 International CES, it announced a device with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, “super retina” LCD display, and 5-inch screen, as well as a “phablet” device.

The Ascend W1 will be available in China and Russia imminently, with Western Europe, Middle East, USA and “other selected countries” to follow.

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