Move over Samsung, Apple and Lenovo: Huawei has the U.S. mobile device market squarely in mind and plans to be a "top three" brand here. That's according to Huawei's President of USA devices, Zhiqiang Xu, speaking in an interview with Greenbot on Tuesday.
The company has already made a name for itself in its home country of China, where you might be surprised that it sold more smartphones around the world than Xiaomi in 2014, based on Gartner's data. The research firm estimates that Huawei sold 68 million smartphones last year, with sales of 21 million in the final quarter, as compared to Xiaomi's 18.5 million phone sold.
In the U.S., Huawei has yet to gain a foothold selling its Android phones, mainly because carriers have controlled the market for so long, Xu alludes. Thanks to a change from heavily subsidized phones sold with lengthy contracts to fewer long-term commitments and full priced handsets, Xu thinks his company has a chance. Even so, Huawei will need some type of carrier support. That's coming, said Xu:
"Currently, we're working with AT&T and Sprint. We're working with Verizon as well, but not with phones. T-Mobile, we work with a lot, too. These four carriers are going to be our main focus."
Today, Huawei also offers direct phone sales to U.S. customers through its GetHuawei online store. You won't find much of a selection there just yet; only last year's $299 Ascend Mate 2 with 6.1-inch screen and the $179 mid-rang Snap To phone. Huawei also sells a tablet and wearable band that doubles as a Bluetooth handset.
The company did just debut two very attractive looking new phones, however: The Ascend P8 and P8max. For now there are no official plans to sell these handsets in the U.S., particuarly since these specific models don't support the proper cellular frequencies found here. I wouldn't be surprised to see slightly tweaked versions for the U.S. market of one or both of these phones become available in the coming months.
Whatever Android phones Huawei decides to launch in the U.S., Xu appears confident that Huawei handsets can offer a tremendous value. "We are 100 percent sure of our quality, too, so we're going to provide U.S. customers with a special warranty: two years to give you the peace of mind to choose your phone."
That sounds great once the company brings more phones to choose from.