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MWC 2014: Huawei Unveils Range of 4G Devices

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Chinese manufacturer reveals a new 4G smartphone and two LTE-enabled tablets, as well as Huawei’s first wearable device

Huawei has unveiled a range of new devices at Mobile World Congress today, including its first foray into wearable technology.

Among the additions werethe MediaPad M1 8-inch tablet, the MediaPad X1 7-inch ‘phablet’, and a new smartphone – the Ascend G6 – which will be available with or without LTE connectivity.

The latest addition to Huawei’s growing smartphone family, the Ascend G6, features a 4.5-inch, 960 x 540 LCD display, and weighs a mere 115g. Running on a powerful quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and featuring a robust 2000 mAh lithium polymer battery, it also has a 5-megapixel front-facing ‘selfie’ camera and supports NFC sharing for mobile payments. The LTE-enabled device will offer users download speeds of up to 150MB/s, allowing a film to be downloaded in a matter of minutes.

The Ascend G6 will be available in a range of colours next month, with its 4G-enabled sibling arriving a few months later. “Huawei’s culture of innovation places us in prime position to develop devices that bring people the benefits and joy of technology through 4G LTE connectivity,” Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei, said of the launch.

huawei_g6_product_hd_2_0Branching out

As expected, Huawei also announced its first wearable device, the TalkBand B1. More a ‘smartband’ than a smartwatch, the TalkBand includes a wireless earpiece which can be disconnected from the band to make calls. Weighing just 26g and measuring 14.6mm thick, Huawei claims it will offer a battery life of seven hours of talk time and two weeks whilst on standby.

Described by Huawei as, ‘the perfect hybrid ‘talk and track’ companion’, the TalkBand will be able to sync with Android and iOS devices via NFC or Bluetooth to provide activity tracking information, and will alert the user if its paired device is more than 10 metres away. It will be come in a choice of six colours and will be available in Europe sometime in Q2 2014.

The TalkBand was described by the company as an ideal companion to the new MediaPad phablet and tablet devices, which bear a striking aesthetic resemblance to HTC’s flagship One smartphone.

Available in a choice of two colours, the MediaPad M1 features an 8-inch IPS display with a 1280 x 920 pixel resolution (197ppi). The tablet is only 7.9mm thick and weighs 329g, but is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core chipset and a 4800mAh battery which Huawei says offers 24 hours of use. The device also features a 5MP rear camera alongside a 1MP lens on the front to enable video calls.

huawei_talkband_b1_product_hd_1_0

The 7-inch MediaPad X1 “combines the functionality of a smartphone and tablet” featuring a 7-inch 1200 x 1920 FHD LTPS 10-point capacitive touch display. It is powered by a Kirin 910 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and a 5000 mAh battery which the company says will provide 21 days of standby time, and more than five full days of continuous video or web surfing.

Running on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, it also features a 13 MP rear camera with auto-scene recognition and a 5 MP front camera which offers special tools to take better ‘selfies’, allowing a 10-second audio clip to be recorded alongside photos which can later be shared online.

Both the M1 and X1 are 4G-enabled, with LTE Cat-4 connectivity giving users download speeds of up to 150MB/s.

“We’re really excited to unveil our new 4G LTE devices which mark a significant step in bringing a truly connected life within reach,” said Yu. “Our new MediaPads, together with Huawei TalkBand B1, deliver the essential pillars of happiness – health, connection to family, contact with friends, and access to work – without boundaries.”

Ian Fogg, director of mobile analysis at IHS Technology, said that the launch demonstrated Huawei’s intent to dominate the smart device space: “At MWC, Huawei has shown an improvement in its brand reach across countries. This is critical for smartphone success. Huawei is using its 4G infrastructure business to boost its handset business, but it is an old model. It’s what Nokia and Ericsson did back in the day.”

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