This week, Huawei launched the P8 Lite here in the US. Instead of going for the Traditional 2-year contracts and doing subsidized for the Huawei P8 Lite. They are selling it for just $249.99, which is a pretty decent price for that smartphone. Last year, Huawei opened their online retail store in the US with the Ascend Mate2 4G, with the hopes of getting a bit of traction in the US by selling their smartphones directly to consumers, instead of through carriers and other retail partners.
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Recently we’ve seen more and more Chinese smartphone makers coming to the US and doing the same thing. OEMs like OnePlus, OPPO, ZTE and others have come to the US and offered their devices off-contract through their own stores instead of settling down with the carriers. Huawei thinks that the market is going to change, and that E-Commerce is the next logical step. We’ve seen the market already begin to change, largely due to T-Mobile. The first step in Legere’s Uncarrier was to get rid of contracts. Now some would argue that T-Mobile does still do contracts, in a way. But you are basically financing your phone, so once it’s paid off, your bill goes down. We don’t see that with the other carriers, or at least we didn’t until recently.
The biggest problem for a lot of the Chinese manufacturers is that Google Services are banned in China, making it difficult to create smartphones and get them Google certified for the rest of the world, specifically the US. This is why you’ve seen Huawei and ZTE create new arms for their company in the US. That way they can make phones specifically for the US. As some phones made for the Chinese market won’t be well suited for the US.
Going back to the Huawei P8 Lite, the company believes that they will sell around 10 million, despite the fact that it does still run on Android 4.4 KitKat. Even though it is a $249 smartphone, there are some faults there, and many may not like Huawei’s skin they use on top of Android, as it is built primarily for the Chinese market.