If you were following Huawei's presser from earlier today, you may have thought the company's CES 2013 story was "All About Android." Turns out, it's not. On the showfloor here at Pepcom, the company was able to give us a first look at the Ascend W1: it's first entry for the Windows Phone 8 space. Admittedly, the W1 doesn't share any of the lust-worthy, high-end specs that adorn the Ascend Mate and D2, but that's not its angle. As one Huawei rep put it, this is a value proposition, outfitted with a 4-inch display (we couldn't verify resolution) and 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 paried with 512MB RAM. Software-wise, this is about as stock WP8 as it gets, so don't expect to see any applications come pre-loaded onto the hardware.
As for its dimensions, the W1 is a girthy phone, cutting a silhouette that's just about 10mm -- so, it stands far outside the "world's thinnest" category that we've heard so much about at this CES. It also bears a bit of heft which we can't ascribe to its battery size. At 1,950mAh, the W1 should pack enough juice to last seven to nine days on standby and given the reduced power requirements of WP8, it's sure to get moderate users through a full day. There's a paltry 4GB of storage onboard, but thankfully, users can augment that via a microSD slot, allowing for up to 32GB.
UI navigation on the W1 lives up to the elegant, sweeping transitions that have become trademarks of Windows Phone 8. It's appreciably quick and responsive. And somewhat surprisingly, viewing angles on the display held up remarkably when we tilted it about in various degrees. As for that standard micro-USB port, it seems Huawei's done something different by allocating it to the bottom right of the handset.
Wondering when and where you'll see the W1? Well, join the club. Huawei's remaining tight-lipped about pricing and release details, but we did manage to get a confirmation that the W1 would be US-bound this year. For now, feast your eyes on the gallery below and check out our video after the break.
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Sarah Silbert contributed to this report.
Update: Some additional specs can be found in the press release after the break, including confirmation of a 4-inch IPS LCD 480 x 800 display.
Huawei Showcases its First Windows Phone 8 Smartphone
With the longest standby time in its class, the HUAWEI Ascend W1 offers consumers a smarter alternative at the right price
Las Vegas, U.S.A., January 8, 2012: Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, unveiled its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone, HUAWEI Ascend W1, at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today. The Ascend W1 is 10.15 mm thin and features a 4-inch IPS LCD 480 x 800 touchscreen with OGS Technology, powered by the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 MSM8230 dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and Adreno 305 GPU. With a 1950 mAh battery, the Ascend W1 has 470 hours* of standby time, the longest among all smartphones in its class. It features a visually iconic design inspired by a tropical island and comes in an array of bold colors including blue, red, black and white. The Ascend W1 is a smart and stylish alternative for consumers looking for great technology at a price that is right.
The HUAWEI Ascend W1 has a low reflective IPS LCD display with full lamination technology, which provides brilliant visibility under any lighting condition. The Windows Phone 8 Start screen lets you customize and pin Live Tiles with topics of personal interest, providing real-time updates that are uniquely yours. Additionally, a dynamic lock screen allows you to select the photos or updates most important to you and have them ready at a glance, even when the phone is locked.
"Inspired and powered by people, the Ascend W1 is a combination of Huawei's user-centric design philosophy and Windows Phone 8 software, bringing consumers a truly compelling alternative." said Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group. "The addition of the Ascend W1 to our smartphone portfolio gives consumers access to an even wider range of Huawei smartphones. At a price that makes sense to consumers, Ascend W1 underscores our commitment to put smartphones within reach of every consumer, no matter who you are or what you want from your phone."
"We are excited to be working with Huawei to further expand our device portfolio to new locations and price points, allowing more people to experience Windows Phone 8 while enjoying the Ascend W1's unique features," said Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Phone Division.
The HUAWEI Ascend W1 will be available in China and Russia from January 2013, with Western Europe, Middle East, USA and other selected countries to follow.
About Huawei Device
Huawei Device believes that everyone can be the center of information and that the world would be a better place if access and information barriers were knocked down. Its strong suite of mobile phones, mobile broadband devices and home devices is testimony to Huawei Device's focus on customers and its commitment to providing user-friendly mobile internet experiences through ongoing innovation. Based on more than two decades of success in the information and communications industry, and with our own channel expertise, operational capabilities and global partner resources, Huawei Device is transforming from a company that sells millions of devices in single transactions to large businesses, to a "Business-to-Customer" (B2C) brand that also sells individual devices directly to millions of people. As at the end of 2012, Huawei Device serves more than 500 operators all over the world. For more information, visit Huawei Device online: www.huaweidevice.com