Can Huawei successfully conquer the United States mobile market this year? It certainly thinks it can with the recent launch of its newest phablet offering, the Mate 9. The device comes with a rather formidable $600 price, and is the first smartphone in the world to be integrated with Alexa, the artificial intelligence (AI) digital assistant developed by Amazon.
First, the specifications -- Huawei’s Mate 9 is fitted with a 5.9 inch FHD display screen with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (with a density of 373 ppi), flanked with a whopping 20 megapixel main camera on the rear side (f/2.2 aperture) as well as an 8 megapixel selfie snapper (f/1.9 aperture). With regards to hardware specs, the phablet packs an eight core Kirin 960 chip set (four 2.4 GigaHertz A73 processors, plus another four 1.8 GigaHertz A53 processors) and an i6 co-processor (Mali G71 MP8). This is further supported with 4 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) and 64 gigabytes of built in memory. The device’s battery is a powerful 4,000 mAh battery and its mobile operating system is Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat.
Some of today’s high profile smartphone releases routinely partner with an AI digital assistant, as evidenced by Apple’s iPhone devices featuring Siri and Google’s Pixel devices using Google Assistant. Huawei is joining in on the fun by having Alexa integrated into the Mate 9. The Alexa mobile app will be rolled out to buyers of the Mate 9 by way of an over the air updates once it is made available. Moreover, the phablet will also come with support for Daydream, Google’s platform for virtual reality.
For those not familiar with the Huawei Mate 9 handset, the device has actually been released in international mobile markets, especially in European countries. So far, the phablet has gotten good reviews, which is critical for Huawei if it wants to gain some momentum before penetrating the tough American mobile market, which has long been dominated by Samsung and Apple, the two biggest sellers of smartphone devices, not only in the United States, but also around the world.
Of course, Huawei is looking to face a difficult road ahead. Samsung and Apple have enjoyed considerable market share because of their solid ties with American wireless carriers. With the release of the Mate 9, Huawei has managed to tap Best Buy, Amazon.com, and some smaller retail outlets. Will this be enough? It is difficult to say at this point, especially when one considers that mobile operators control a staggering 85 percent of all sales of smartphone devices in the US.
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