Huawei’s presence in the US market has been a confusing one over the last 6 months or so. For a while there Huawei was selling quite a few entry-level to mid-range phones in the US, and while they weren’t looking to unseat reigning Android champ Samsung any time soon, they seemed to be doing pretty well for themselves. Then relations between China and the US started to strain a bit, and allegations of spying on US citizens and other nefarious deeds were hurled toward Huawei. After a number of battles Huawei seemed like it was going to leave the US market completely, citing not only these political battles but also lack of competition in the US for its phones. Many were surprised, but it was even more surprising to see that only a month later that Huawei had changed its tone and was now deciding to focus on the high-end portion of the US market. That’s where today’s story comes in, and it’s one that started just earlier this month officially.
Huawei’s Ascend Mate 2 4G is in the spotlight here, obtaining an FCC certification for LTE bands 2, 4, 5 and 17, all of which are covered by AT&T and T-Mobile. While we’re not sure if either carrier will be officially carrying the Ascend Mate 2 4G, you’ll certainly be able to buy the handset on the manufacturer’s website. This sort of strategy has been adopted by a number of Chinese manufacturers after the successful efforts of brands like Xiaomi were able to sell tens of thousands of units online at a low cost and still do incredibly well for themselves. In fact OnePlus just announced their first phone the other day, the OnePlus One, and they’ll be using the same kind of strategy.
The Ascend Mate 2 4G is a massive phone, coming in at 6.1-inches with a 720p IPS display. You’ll also find a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera, a quad-core 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and microSD support for an expandable storage option. There’s also an incredibly massive 4,050mAh battery inside, which is nearly double the size of most Android phones out there. The Ascend Mate 2 4G ships with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and is likely doing so because of the new SD Card changes made in Android 4.4 KitKat, although a KitKat update in the future certainly isn’t out of the question. All this will be had for $450 unlocked, which isn’t too bad until you consider the price and performance of something like the OnePlus One, which is $100-150 cheaper than this. Still Huawei might find success in a market that’s not too overly saturated yet; the large phablet segment.