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ascend w1

We knew the Huawei Ascend W1 Windows Phone was destined to Wal-Mart and now are seeing signs that the Windows Phone 8 device has arrived.

Listed for $229.88, the Huawei was spotted at the local Wal-Mart in Foley, Alabama (down near the coast). The no-contract purchase is restricted to the $45/30-day Unlimited Nationwide data, text and talk Smart Talk plan.

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Huawei is throwing their hat into the US Windows Phone 8 market with their W1 smartphone, known in other parts of the world as the Ascend W1. The snazzy W1 will be coming to Walmarts across the country as a pre-paid, no-contract offering that will be priced "competitively," though no exact numbers were revealed.

Huawei’s Michael Chuang said in a statement. “The Huawei W1 brings consumers a truly compelling alternative to what’s currently in the marketplace."

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Huawei's Ascend W1 has been out for a while, and is gaining market presence in more countries at the moment. Today, the OEM quietly rolled out the CDMA version of W1 in China, starting with the city of Chengdu. The CDMA phone is made for China Telecom, the third largest mobile carrier in China, and the only CDMA carrier out there. The Ascend W1 in CDMA reportedly costs CNY 1,290 (US$ 210), about 30% more expensive than the WCDMA version, which is currently priced CNY 998 on popular e-commerce website 360buy.com.

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Early last month, at CES 2013, we gave you a hands on look at the Huawei Ascend W1. An entry level phone that we expect to do well in emerging markets. At the time we told you that the device should be available here in the US during Q2 on either regional carriers or some MVNOs. Turns out this little device powered by Windows Phone 8 will coming soon to TracFone Wireless, under the Net10 brand of service.

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British carrier O2 announced back in January that they planned to carry the Huawei Ascend W1 later this year. O2's "coming soon" has revealed that the W1 will be arriving sooner rather than later, in late March. O2 will offer the W1 in Electric Blue and Electric Pink at an unspecified price. There's no exact release date yet, but at least we have a good idea of when to expect it.

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Huawei and Microsoft have had an odd relationship. It first looked like Microsoft was trying to distance themselves from the Chinese OEM due to political factors back in mid-October. It was believed they’d be ready for the Windows Phone 8 launch, but instead the company pushed back the reveal of their Ascend W1 handset to CES 2013. Now, the two are cozying and partnering up for a joint launch of a handset in Africa – the Huawei 4Afrika.

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Here at CES 2013, Windows Phone news is few and far between (though no worries, we have some stories coming up in the next day or two). We’ve already seen quite a bit of the Huawei Ascend W1 which was informally announced here at the convention.

Today we got a chance to play with some of the other colors besides black for the entry-level phone. The W1, following Nokia and HTC, comes in White, Black (soft-touch), Cyan and Red and we have to admit the color scheme continues to work with those themes on board (there is a “dreamy blue” custom Accent color as well).

Though the 4” device with 1.2Ghz dual core CPUs won’t be for everyone it’s not a bad low-end phone at all (though Windows Phone 8 stutters a tad with 512MB of RAM).

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The UK mobile operator O2 has announced plans to stock the Huawei Ascend W1 in a recent presser. The Windows Phone has reared its head at CES 2013, and we've had the pleasure to view the device in more detail with some hands-on action. O2 has become a major partner for Microsoft in the UK with the network sporting an array of Windows Phones available for consumers. The Ascend W1 will join other handsets in stores early 2013.

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Huawei has released a commercial spot over on YouTube featuring the Ascend W1 Windows Phone. While the video highlights Windows Phone features we've grown accustom to (photo sharing, email, live tiles, Office Hub, etc.), it does give us a nice glimpse of the new Windows Phone.

We spent some hands on time with the Ascend W1 at CES 2013 and found it to be a decent budget oriented Windows Phone. The Huawei W1 will sport a 4" WVGA display, dual core 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 5MP rear/.3MP front camera set up.

Source: YouTube

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Huawei. We’ve heard about them in the past year and the Ascend W1 is probably one of the most interesting-but-not-really-interesting phones we’ve covered. Truth be told, the phone is akin to the Samsung ATIV Odyssey—it’s specs don’t impress the gadget geeks out here but it’s a solid feeling little phone that feels leaps and bound better than some of the LG garbage produced in the Windows Phone 7 days. For that, we’re welcoming Huawei to the fold.

The phone features a 4” WVGA display, dual core 1.2 GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and a 5MP rear shoot (with a 0.3 MP front facing cam). The body has a soft-touch paint feel to it which gives it a smooth, soft texture that’s quite nice too hold. While the phone is very square it doesn’t feel odd at all seeing as the 4” display keeps things in check when holding it one handed.

Will the Ascend W1 set the world afire? Hardly. But for emerging markets and for those who just want Windows Phone on a budget, we okay with this device taking the reins. Look for the W1 in the coming weeks.

Check our hands on video and photos after the break.

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