Huawei has a good chance of overtaking Apple in smartphone volume sales in 2018 or 2019 and Samsung by 2022, said industry experts.
“It is definitely possible for Huawei to overtake Apple this year but it will become clear only if third-quarter volume numbers come out in two weeks’ time, but iPhone X pre-orders have been very good so far,” Daniel Gleeson, senior analyst for consumer technology at Ovum, told Gulf News.
If unlikely, he said that Huawei will definitely overtake Apple by 2018 or 2019 in volume terms and not in value.
“The advantage for Huawei is that it sells in different price points while Apple sells only in the very high price range,” he said.
Gene Jiao, President of Huawei Consumer Business Group for Middle East and Africa, told Gulf News that the company is on the right track to overtake Apple.
The Chinese company overtook Apple in global smartphone sales for June and July to capture the second spot after Samsung, according to research firm Counterpoint’s Market Pulse report.
According to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the Chinese giant witnessed 19.6 per cent year-over-year growth in the second quarter compared to 1.5 per cent for Apple and 1.4 per cent for Samsung.
IDC said that Huawei’s mid-range and high-end models continue to prove successful along with the flagship P10, Mate 9, and the more affordable Honor series.
Looking ahead, Anthony Scarsella, research manager at IDC said that Huawei will still need to successfully penetrate the US market at the carrier level if it wishes to surpass either Apple or Samsung at the top.
Gleeson said that Huawei surpassing Apple is not a very significant achievement in that respect as Apple competes in a different strategy, but comparing Huawei with Samsung is a better comparison.
“Huawei is growing strongly for the past two years, while Samsung has not grown so fast in the past two years. It is definitely possible for Huawei to challenge Samsung by 2021 or 2022 in volume terms,” he said.
Ovum expects Huawei to ship 170 million units this year compared to 139 million units in 2016 and predicts more than 200 million units due to strong demand for iPhone X device.
“Tech-savvy consumers in the region have a huge appetite for innovative technology that offers increasingly intelligent and seamless solutions for their busy lives,” Jiao said after launching three new devices — Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 10.
Huawei is adding a built-in artificial intelligence to its new chip — HiSilicon Kirin 970 — aimed at taking on Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip.
Usually, a chipset has a CPU (central processing unit) and a GPU (graphics processing unit), but Huawei is adding an NPU (neural processing unit) to the chipset for AI. An NPU is a chip with a redesigned structure that mimics a human brain.
Jiao said that AI will change the user experience and make life easier.
“With the boosted performance, speed, power, and infinitely faster connectivity and download speeds, the device heralds a new decade of smartphone development,” he said.
Gleeson said that the Mate 10 series are a good and a solid Android device and the advantage is the price point for customers who cannot afford Apple or Samsung.
“The AI element gives it a difference in a market where all the other Android phones have similar features. Unfortunately, a number of different things the AI can do on the device is relatively small at the moment,” he said.
However, he said that Apple did a big facial recognition feature on its iPhone X but Huawei does not have a similar feature on its new devices.
“The main thing that Huawei is using the AI is for object recognition and camera app. The camera app has benefits that it will select the best lighting for capturing photos. The best AI app preloaded on the Mate 10 is made by Microsoft and not by Huawei, the Microsoft translation app. The app when focused on a piece of the test will translate into other languages immediately. It is useful and very impressive for demonstrations as well,” he said.
What Huawei needs to do is get very useful apps that really use the AI chip and unless they are not able to make full use of the AI, it becomes just another Android device. It loses its key selling point, he added.
The Huawei Mate 10 houses a 5.9-inch Quad HD AMOLED display (2560 x 1440 pixels) with a 16:9 aspect ratio while the Mate 10 Pro and the luxury Porsche Design Mate 10 houses a 6-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, similar to almost bezel-less Samsung Note 8.
All the three devices are powered by 2.4GHz processor. The Mate 10 sports 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage capacity, while the Mate 10 Pro sports 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage capacity and the Porsche Design Mate 10 sports 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage capacity.
All the devices sport dual Leica optics (20MP + 12MP) with f/1.6 aperture, 2x lossless zoom, phase detection and laser autofocus, dual-LED flash. The front has an 8MP Leica lens with f/2.0 aperture.
The devices come with Android’s latest OS — Oreo — that support wide colour gamut display, better notification control and Picture-in-Picture mode that allows a floating viewing window.
The Mate 10 will come in mocha brown and black and is priced at Dh2,299. The Mate 10 Pro colours are grey, mocha brown and blue and are priced at Dh2,999. It will be available from next month.
The Porsche Design version will come by end of the year, but Huawei hasn’t fixed the price yet.