Drastic product strategy adjustments appear to be a hot trend for smartphone manufacturers in 2012, and Huawei is one such example of a company doing its best to hang out with the cool kids. It's hard to blame it, of course: the OEM's previous success has been in its ability to crank out budget-friendly smartphones, feature phones and USB sticks like nobody's business and pushing them out to emerging markets. The story's even more dire within the US, as most carriers have kept Huawei out of the spotlight by choosing very few of its devices, white-labeling each one and selling them as prepaid. In an effort to gain awareness and improve its market share, Huawei's turned to establishing brand recognition and improving device selection as its focal points for 2012.
Barely a week into the new year, Huawei took to the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show to showcase the Ascend P1 and P1 S. These two smartphones, nearly identical twins with the exception of the P1 S' thinner profile and (oddly enough) larger battery, represented the first phase in the company's new product strategy. The pair were to be powerful new devices with a classy, stylish look and feel. This was a welcome move since Huawei's best product prior to CES was the Honor, a 1.4GHz single-core device with a 4-inch FWVGA display.
Until Huawei launches its top-tier Diamond series of smartphones (including the ultra-powerful D Quad), the Ascend P1 -- which is expected to arrive in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia by the end of the month at an unknown price -- will be the company's best offering. Naturally, we were eager to take this Platinum series (second tier) device for a spin. Is the P1 truly a sign of Huawei turning a new leaf? Does it hold its own against similarly specced competition? Follow us past the break to find out.
Gallery: Huawei Ascend P1 overview