Huawei launched smartphones overseas
Huawei unveiled its mid-range smartphone Nova 9 overseas on Thursday. This is the first time the product has been available in the international market, first in Europe.
The Chinese smartphone giant's overseas business has been paralyzed since the US imposed sanctions. But that hasn't stopped Huawei from launching phones in international markets.
The Nova 9 is a 4G device with some of the features of high-end phones. This includes four cameras with wide-angle lenses and software to help take pictures. It has a 6.57-inch display and fast charging technology.
Huawei developed its own operating system, HarmonyOS, and released it after US sanctions barred it from using Google's Android operating system, which is used by rivals such as Samsung. But Nova 9 will not run HarmonyOS, instead using EMUI 12, an Android-based operating system developed by Huawei. Due to restrictions in the US, the phone will not have any Google services installed. Huawei's smartphones will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 778G chip. In previous phones, Huawei used its own chipset brand, Kirin. The American sanctions also cut off Huawei's ability to obtain Kirin chips because they use American technology. Last year, Qualcomm won a license from Washington to sell certain 4G mobile chips to Huawei.
In Europe, Huawei's market share rose from 13.4% in the second quarter of 2019 to 0.3% in the same period this year, according to Counterpoint Research. Without Google's Android operating system, Huawei wouldn't be able to offer the kind of apps consumers are used to in international markets.
Huawei's APP store lacks some big-name apps. Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research, says "the lack of popular apps remains a barrier for many users".
Huawei said its HarmonyOS system now had 120m users, up from about 100m in September. Huawei claims that HarmonyOS can run on a variety of devices, not just smartphones. That means apps can be delivered on smartwatches, TVs and even cars.
Huawei also makes other devices, including smartwatches and laptops. Smartphones are part of the company's strategy to offer different devices that use HarmonyOS, which could increase users and ultimately attract developers. It is also part of a broader push by Huawei to increase software revenue as its hardware business struggles.