Chinese infrastructure giant Huawei announced plans to invest EUR70 million to set up a mobile devices R&D centre in Helsinki, Finland – giving it the opportunity to take on experienced staff cut loose through Nokia’s recent downsizing.
According to a statement from the Chinese vendor, initial projects will focus on “software development for smartphones, tablets and rich-media devices, optimising the user experience of existing operating systems such as Android and Windows Phone 8”.
While the company has offered a range of devices powered by the Google platform, it has not officially unveiled a smartphone using the latest version of the Microsoft OS – which also happens to be the smartphone platform of choice for Nokia.
Huawei has set some ambitious targets for 2012, although it publishes few details of its handset business by which to assess its performance.
In the first half of the year, it said it was looking to ship more than 100 million mobile phones during the twelve months, and at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in February it said it is targeting sales of 60 million smartphones – including a significant portion in its home market.
However, the Wall Street Journal this week cited Gartner figures which pegged Huawei’s mobile phone shipments at 11.9 million for the third quarter – significantly below the run-rate needed to hit 100 million units in a year.
During the full year 2011, it shipped 55 million mobile phones, of which 20 million were smartphones.
While the company is generally lumped into the “value” device category, it is also offering high-end devices: for example, its P1 smartphone with LTE support has seen action across the Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia Pacific regions.