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Android Headliner: Brace Yourselves, the Chinese OEMs Are Coming

July 19, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

For a while now, we’ve had a few big OEMs producing Android Phones over here in North America. That’s Samsung, LG, Motorola and HTC. But it looks like we might be seeing some more competition soon. There are plenty of Chinese OEMs over there that have plans of making it into the US. Which is a pretty competitive market, which is why we don’t see a whole lot of devices other than from those four manufacturers. Occasionally we see Sony devices, but not that often. Lately we’ve seen a few manufacturers from China bring their phones over here like the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G. Which is a fantastic device and only $299 unlocked. There’s also the OnePlus One, which is probably an even better device. And is only $349  unlocked.

OnePlus and Huawei aren’t the only Chinese manufacturers looking to bring their devices over to the US either. Another one to check out is Xiaomi. They recently hit the spotlight when they picked up former Google exec, Hugo Barra. When Hugo announced he was heading to Xiaomi, we were all excited and hoping that their devices would make their way to North America as they also make some pretty interesting devices, with high-end specs, and low-end prices. Another is Meizu, which do things a lot like Xiaomi, actually. Then there’s ZTE which is already kind of here in the US. They have a few devices on Sprint’s prepaid carriers and T-Mobile prepaid. But no real flagships over here, unfortunately.

The thing that these manufacturers will need to remember though, is that the way they do marketing over there is not the way it is done over here. OnePlus is finding that out the hard way right now with their Invite system. Typically in China, Meizu and Xiaomi will tell you that such and such device will be available at 8am on a certain day from a certain website. Typically you’ve got about 5 minutes to buy it before it sells out. That’s just how quickly they sell out. Then they do it again when they have another batch ready to go. It makes for great headlines, but not for people that want to actually buy the thing. Here in the US we want to buy our phone when we want, not during flash sales.

Another thing is the software. I’ve actually used quite a few different Chinese Android smartphones lately, and one thing I’ve found that they like to do with their stuff, is leave out the app drawer. They try to copy iOS a bit, and have all their apps on your home screens. Which I personally don’t like, but others do. Now this can be fixed with a launcher, but what if you don’t want to use one? Well then you’ve got no App Drawer. Now if they could sell their stuff with stock Android on there – kinda like what ZTE does – their phones would really take off. Especially with Android L.

We know the Chinese manufacturers are coming, and the big boys like Samsung, LG, Motorola and HTC need to start stepping up before they begin losing market share.