Today Huawei, in partnership with Microsoft and cellular provider Airtel, announced the launch of Hauwei's W1 smartphone in Nigeria. The event took place at Airtel's headquarters in the city of Lagos. The joint event saw Huawei, who has decided to take a run at the Windows Phone market, come together with Nigeria's largest 3.75G carrier. Despite the excitement, no availability or pricing information were made available.
Yinusa Bello, Chief Sales Officer, Airtel Nigeria said, “By partnering with Huawei and Microsoft, we are able to develop quite a lot of innovative products and we will continue to do this in the industry and globally"
Tony Liang Wei, Managing Director, Huawei Device, West Africa said that the W1 specially suited for Africa market, focusing on Windows Phone 8's productivity and security features. While not specifically noted, it could be part of Huawei's and Microsoft's joint "4Afrika"venture, whose goal is to leverage technology to actively engage Africa’s economic development and to improve its global competitiveness.
The Huawei W1 is an economy phone sporting a 4” WVGA display, dual core 1.2 GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and 5MP rear camera (with a 0.3 MP front facing cam), all packaged together at an aggressively low price. It is specifically designed to compete in emerging markets and Huawei has made quite the push to get a foothold in such places. Back in April, they launched the W1 in the Philippines, and earlier this month, they even entered the economy smartphone race in the US by bringing the W1 to Walmart stores as a pre-paid option.
The smartphone industry, especially the folks involved with Windows Phone, seems to have some to a conclusion as a whole that the low-end smartphone market is where the real key to success lies. Besides Huawei, Microsoft and Nokia have committed to aggressively pursuing the same path.
Nokia has begun their full court press in the economy sector with their flood of Lumias 520, 620 and 720 series of Windows Phones in emerging markets, as well as targeting the price-conscious consumers in the US. Their wallet-friendly phones have seen a significant bump in sales in places like India, along with huge success in the United States through avenues like Walmart and Home Shopping Network.
Winning the support of those who are just starting to see smartphones as a device option is key to the survival and eventual thriving of Windows Phone. But that doesn't mean it's the only thing that matters. We will continue to see ground-breaking technology in high-end devices from the likes of Nokia, like their Lumia 920 series and PureView camera. Hopefully, we will see others step up as well.
Allegedly leaked specs for the Huawei Ascend W2 put it on par with other high-end Windows Phone 8 handsets, and the Chinese OEM has long been rumored to be working on a 6.1-inch Windows Phone 8 device as well. Much like the movie director who makes the cheesy, summer blockbuster to fund the poignant, high-quality indie film, we hope the success of the economy phones allows manufacturers to bring us the boundary-pushing hero devices.