Huawei De-thrones Apple In Smartphone Battle

PAT PILCHER looks at the rise of Huawei – and what we can expect next from the Chinese telco giant.

Off the back of strong sales of their recently launched P20 smartphone range, Huawei has beaten out Apple to become the world’s second largest smartphone vendor in the second quarter of this year. The rise and rise of Huawei globally can also be attributed to the ongoing success of their Honour smartphone range, which bizarrely isn’t yet available here in our lovely backwater. 

The Chinese telco giant shipped 54 million handsets, an impressive increase of 41 percent year on year, according to analytical firm Canalys. Samsung continued to retain the top spot but posted an eight percent year on year decline in shipments. Apple fell to third, shipping 41 million iPhones with year-on-year growth of just one percent.

The second quarter tends to be the weakest part of the year for Apple. Canalys estimates Apple shipped more than eight million iPhone Xs during the second quarter, down from 14 million the previous quarter.

Adding credibility to Canalys’ findings, similar data was released by IT market research firm, Counterpoint, which also said that Huawei had overtaken Apple and became the second largest smartphone brand in the second quarter.

It has taken close to a decade, but Huawei appears to have broken the market dominance of Apple and Samsung. Given the mostly positive reception to the P20 Pro since its release, Huawei’s strong showing in the mid-market and budget segments isn’t all that surprising.

The big question is what is next? If recent media reports are anything to go by, Huawei could be looking to launch the world’s first folding phone in early 2019 in a bid to beat arch-competitor, Samsung, to the punch. Huawei is said to be working with Chinese display manufacturer, BOE, to create the flexible screens needed for foldable handsets.

While foldable phones are likely to dominate media headlines, Huawei’s bread and butter business is likely to remain a little more traditional. Rumour has it that the next big thing will be the Mate 20, which is said to be a big screen gaming-focused smartphone, due to launch in late 2018. Expect it to pack some hefty processing and graphics hardware, including Huawei’s recently released GPU Turbo feature, which boosts gaming performance.

Competition in the smartphone market is only ever going to be good news for consumers as it drives innovation up and keeps costs down.

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