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Android Headliner: What To Expect From Chinese Manufacturers At MWC 2015

February 20, 2015 - Written By Kristijan Lucic

China is the biggest smartphone market in the world. That Asian country is home to many mobile tech companies which manufacture smartphones, tablets and other smart gadgets these days. Some of those companies really strived in 2014 and showed great potential and appetite to expand their business outside of China. Xiaomi, Huawei and Meizu, for example, did great in 2014 and will be extremely interesting to follow this year. Xiaomi already introduced a bunch of devices  in 2015, and the year has barely started. Meizu’s growth rate and recent investments open up all sorts of possibilities for them, and Huawei improved in many ways last year. MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona is getting started at the beginning of next month, it will officially start on March 2nd and last until March 5th, though some companies will hold separate events prior to March 1st, like Samsung and HTC for example. The two companies will unveil their flagship handsets at said date, and we can expect a ton of interesting tech-related devices to be showcased during MWC. Chinese smartphone manufacturers will definitely be a big part of the show, and we’re here to take a look at what they might announce at the show. So, let’s get started, shall we.

Huawei

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This Chinese smartphone OEM did great in 2014, they improved the design of both their hardware and software significantly. The Ascend Mate 7, Ascend P8, and Honor 6 Plus were all great devices, and those are just examples, of course. The company is expected to announce a bunch of new devices this year, including successors to the aforementioned smartphones. It was initially thought that they will announce the P8 handset during MWC next month, but the company’s Director of Marketing and Communications has confirmed that won’t be the case. He revealed that Huawei will launch the P8 in London on April 15, so don’t hold your breath for the P8 launch next month, we’re still some time away from that.

Huawei is still expected to make a significant contribution to the next month’s Mobile World Congress though. Recent reports have been saying that Huawei will launch a new tablet along with some wearables during MWC. That’s not all though, the Mate 7 Compact device was also mentioned several times during the last couple of weeks, this would essentially be the smaller variant of the original Mate 7, though its specs will probably be downgraded as well, unfortunately, but nothing is certain just yet. The Android Wear-powered smartwatch was mentioned recently, as well as the MediaPad X2 tablet which is expected to launch next month. We’ll see what happens in the end though.

ZTE

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We really haven’t heard all that much from ZTE in the last couple of weeks, months even. The company’s executive recently said that they’ll launch three Nubia-branded Android-powered devices in 2015 and that they aim to expand their business further this year. He also mentioned that the first Nubia-branded device will land before the end of March, so I guess the MWC launch is a possibility for this device, we’re more or less in the dark though. This might be the mid-range or a high-end device by ZTE, but the company will surely participate at the MWC and launch something new, along with showcasing their current lineup, of course.

The unveiling of ZTE’s much-rumored Nubia Z9 handset with no side bezels is quite improbable though. The Nubia Z7 (its predecessor) was launched back in July last year, so it seems a bit too early for the Z9 to launch at MWC, though anything is possible. ZTE might also launch some type of a wearable at the show floor, we haven’t exactly heard anything about it thus far, but considering that more or less every manufacturer has already released, or plans to release a smartwatch, that might be a possibility for ZTE as well. An Android-powered smartwatch might be a good choice for ZTE at this point, but we’ll see. As I already mentioned, we really didn’t see any significant MWC leaks which regard to ZTE thus far.

Xiaomi

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This Chinese smartphone OEM is all over the news lately. Xiaomi was the fastest growing smartphone manufacturer in 2014, by a long shot. This company is currently the number one smartphone OEM in China, and the third one globally, which is saying something, especially considering they do the vast majority of their business in China. They have already unveiled three new smartphones this year along with a bunch of smart devices, which I’m sure they’ll showcase at MWC next month. There’s always a possibility that Xiaomi will announce something new at MWC though, of course.

If Xiaomi were to launch something new at MWC, then I guess the Redmi Note 2, which is expected to launch in the second quarter this year. The Redmi Note was announced in March 2014, though truth be told, not at MWC, this year could be different though. The timeframe definitely fits, so it’s possible. Another thing we might see launched is the new version of Xiaomi’s MiPad tablet, though I’m only guessing here, because the MiPad was also announced back in March 2014. It’s also possible that Xiaomi skips announcements altogether and just showcases their current lineup at MWC, as the European market is not exactly Xiaomi’s thing at the moment, but it might be a great exposure for the company due to the fact this is one of the biggest such shows in the year, if not the biggest one.

Meizu

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Meizu was one of the most interesting Chinese smartphone manufacturing companies of 2014. This China-based smartphone OEM released 3 extremely compelling devices last year, two of which were the companies flagships at the time, and one was an extremely affordable mid-ranger. The company released another device this year, the Meizu M1, which is yet another mid-range handset, though a really capable and affordable one. This device is powered by Meizu’s Flyme OS, and the company has already teased the release of a Ubuntu-powered Meizu-branded handset at the upcoming MWC. They will either pre-load Ubuntu on the Meizu M1 or the Meizu MX4, though my bet is the M1.

BQ Aquaris E4.5 was launched quite recently, and this a low-mid range handset with Ubuntu pre-installed, so I’m guessing Meizu will definitely go with the M1, unless they intend to release something new completely, which is highly unlikely. So, the Ubuntu-powered handset is more or less confirmed for a launch at MWC, is Meizu planning to release something else over there? Well, it’s possible. They will probably showcase their current line of products, including the “smart home” devices they announced recently. Another possibility is the Meizu-powered smartwatch that leaked in the past, though considering the amount of leaks thus far, that’s a bit far-fetched at this moment.

Lenovo

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Lenovo was somewhat a mystery until recently, the whole Vibe lineup leaked along with images and specifications quite recently, and the company will unveil some of these device, if not all of them at MWC next month. Lenovo Vibe X3, S1, P1, and P1 Pro all leaked accompanied with pictures and specifications which you can check out if you click here. An additional leak also said that Lenovo plans to announce the Vibe Max at MWC as well. By the looks of it Lenovo will have a lot of hardware to showcase at MWC, though we’re still not sure if they intend to launch all of these handsets or just some of them.

The company will quite probably also showcase the recently-announced P70 smartphone, a really solid, and yet affordable mid-ranger. This device is available worldwide and might be the perfect thing to show to people at one of the biggest tech events of the year, if not the biggest. It is also possible that we’ll see a tablet and / or a smartwatch being launched by Lenovo, though we really didn’t hear much about that thus far. Lenovo will quite probably showcase their recently-announced tablets at the show though.

OnePlus

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OnePlus was all over the headlines recently due to their increasingly unstable partnership with Cyanogen and most recently the announcement of the Oxygen OS ROM and the team behind its development. The only known device that the company is expected to unveil is the OnePlus Two, but it won’t launch at MWC for sure. That handset will be unveiled in Q2 or Q3 of this year, no sooner than that. OnePlus might, however, come to MWC and showcase the OnePlus One and perhaps release a teaser or two of their new smartphone or OS. On the other hand, perhaps they won’t participate at all. OnePlus is a huge question mark at the moment and we really don’t know what to expect, if anything really.