Never heard of the Huawei brand? You’re not alone. But Huawei wants to change all that, and is bidding for American brand relevance with the Ascend P7. It’s an Android based smartphone which doesn’t really offer anything hasn’t been done before: the screen is the usual five inches for the Android market, the tech specs are middle of the road, and the hardware styling is perhaps the most blatant ripoff of the Apple iPhone yet. But Huawei nonetheless believes it can score a piece of the growing Android phone pie, and has at least one thing going for it: KitKat 4.4.
No, not the candy bar. Huawei is preloading the Ascend P7 with the KitKat, the code name for the latest Android version 4.4 system software. While it’s something that top shelf Android vendors like Samsung and HTC have made standard practice of late, it does set the P7 apart from the myriad anonymous Android phones coming to market running all sorts of outdated software versions. Huawei is clearly hoping that distinction will place its brand in the same echelon as the biggest names in the Android market.
Why anyone in the United States would choose Huawei over a more trusted brand name is another matter. If a customer has had a bad experience with a Samsung phone, for instance, perhaps they’ll decide that they want to stick with Android but want to try a different hardware maker. Or maybe the Ascend P7 is targeted directly at those users want an Android phone but for some reason want it to look as slavishly like an iPhone 5S as possible.
But if a run of the mill Asian factory conglomerate like Samsung has been able to use the rise of the Android platform to turn its brand into an American household name by slapping Google’s Android software onto a generic iPhone knockoff, perhaps Huawei can pull off the same.