Huawei has launched a new flagship handset, the Android-powered Ascend P7, in a bid to keep the Chinese electronics giant in the third place in the global smartphone market.
Shipping 48.8 million units last year, the company is currently just ahead of both LG and Lenovo, but is still way behind first place Samsung and iPhone-maker Apple.
Huawei have said that they want to increase shipments to 80 million a year and think that the new P7, with its slim 6.5-millimeter profile and 8-megapixel front facing camera, will help do the trick.
The handset was launched at an event in Paris and will be available this month across Europe priced at around €449 (US$625) off-contract. The smartphone is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor and comes with a 5-inch, full HD screen. It also offers 2GB of RAM, 16GB of integrated storage and can connect to the ultrafast 4G network.
Huawei say are hoping to cash in on the selfie crazes with an 8-megapixel camera on the front that takes 'panoramic selfies' to fit in multiple people into a single selfie.
"There's innovation in the P7's front-facing 8-megapixel 'groufie' camera,” says Rob Kerr of tariff comparison site uSwitch. “Most front-facing cameras – such as the Samsung Galaxy S5's – are only around 2-megapixels.
"You can't blame Huawei for wading in on the selfie craze, but the minute politicians started to get involved, we knew it was the beginning of the end. The 'groufie' sounds like the last gasp of a trend that should probably die, and fast.”
Huawei’s swift entry to the top table of manufacturers is impressive considering they launched their first own-brand devices only three years ago, but without matching its competitors on marketing (Samsung spent a staggering $14 billion on adverts and campaigns in 2013 -) it will never achieve the sort of public profile needed to overtake its competitors.
Still, even if the company never poses a threat to the biggest mobile players there’s still a lot of gains to be had, with Huawei’s consumer device business (which accounted for 23 per cent of sales last year) growing three times faster than its telecoms equipment business.
Speaking about the new Ascend P7 Huawei’s chief marketing officer Shao Yang said the company wanted to “provide a premium product but not charge a premium price.”
“Our screen, materials, camera, and power consumption are just as good and sometimes better than the Galaxy and iPhone."