Huawei jumps into the phablet race with Ascend Mate

Chinese tech giant launches its "all-in-one" Ascend Mate phablet, as well as the Ascend D2 smartphone, to cater to people looking to reduce the number of gadgets they carry around.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

LAS VEGAS--Huawei Devices today launched its Ascend Mate phablet--a smartphone and tablet hybrid--and Ascend D2 smartphone, as it looks to reduce the number of electronic gadgets people have to carry around with its all-in-one devices.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei Devices, said Monday the company views an all-in-one product as one that has a large, high-resolution screen, long battery power, easy to bring around, and sporting a superior camera. With that in mind, the company developed its Ascend Mate device to meet these parameters, he said. The executive was speaking in a pre-show briefing here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013.

Touting the Ascend Mate as the "largest screen" device in the market, Yu said it has a 6.1-inch screen with a screen-to-frame ratio of 0.73. Long battery life--in the form of a 4,500 mAH battery--was another feature he identified, which would give users a talk time of 22 hours and 13 minutes on a full charge and 16 hours of Web browsing.

By contrast, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 offers up to 16 hours and 57 minutes of talk time and 11 hours and 27 minutes of Web browsing, the executive noted.

Other notable functions for the Ascend Mate include Magic Touch, allowing users to navigate the touch screen even with their gloves one, augmented reality navigation, "smart reading" that makes searching or translating a word, name, or phrase easy, and "one-hand user interface (UI)" which makes typing with one hand less troublesome.

The Ascend D2, on the other hand, was promoted as "powerful" due to its complex manufacturing process, Yu said. He noted it takes 116 manufacturing processes to produce one of these devices, whereas the market average comes in at 30 to 40 processes.

Battery life was similarly highlighted, as the 3,000 mAH battery compares favorably with Apple's iPhone 5 which has a 1,440 mAH batter and Samsung's Galaxy S 3's 2,100 mAH battery, he said. Dust and water resistance was also mentioned, with Yu pouring a tumbler of water over the phone during the briefing to make his point.

The Ascend D2 will be available in China later this month, with a launch in Japan "soon", Yu added. The Ascend Mate, meanwhile, will hit the Chinese market in February 2013 while other markets can get their hands on it from March onward. No prices were revealed during the briefing, though.

Huawei's Ascend Mate in the flesh. Credit: Lori Grunin/CNET

  Kevin Kwang of ZDNet Asia reported from the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, United States.

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