Not content with supplying network infrastructure and making handsets for other people, Huawei is aggressively pushing into the UK's handset market with Android handsets for all.
The idea is to launch cheap Android handsets and get the name Huawei recognised by the man in the street, enough to make a success of the Android tablet it also hopes to get onto UK shelves as it tries to emulate HTC's success in transitioning from an OEM to a popular brand.
HTC used to make phones to be branded by other companies, such as the XDA range launched by O2. As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), HTC provided ideas for handset models. Those ideas are refined in collaboration with the buyer to create a final product which will probably betray no evidence of its OEM roots.
HTC decided there was more money in owning the brand too, and has worked hard to create a consumer presence, a process that Huawei is now committed to replicating.
Not that the brand is entirely unknown in handsets: Huawei has about 40 handsets being sold around the world, a dozen of which are Android-based, but many of its devices carry someone else's brand and its Android offerings have been quite high-end.
The company has been telling Bloomberg that it plans to have the Blaze – a sub-hundred-quid handset – out in the UK this year, along with the MediaPad tablet. All of this will be accompanied by suitable promotions explaining how to pronounce the name of the company (HU-AH-WAY) – a problem that HTC never had to face. ®
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