Home Blog 2018 The best phone you cannot easily buy

The NPD Group Blog

Insights and Opinions From Analysts and Experts in More Than 20 Industries

Oct 16, 2018

The best phone you cannot (easily) buy

Eddie Hold, President ;

Connected Intelligence

@eddiehold

Huawei launched its latest smartphones today, the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro; and while we don’t usually focus on a single product launch in a blog, this one is worth the attention for a couple of reasons. Huawei has managed to upstage the typical flagship smartphones with this latest launch; and the U.S. market will probably not even notice, despite the fact that this is a major smartphone launch from the second largest smartphone manufacturer worldwide.

Before delving into why we believe this is a stand-out device, let’s deal with the second point: why no one will notice. Huawei has been effectively banned from the U.S. market. AT&T and Verizon were both expected to add Huawei to their device portfolio earlier this year, but both changed their minds due to government pressure (and Best Buy followed suit a few months later). Only Amazon continues to sell Huawei devices in the U.S. market. The theory is that the Chinese government leverages their connection with Huawei to use these devices to spy on people. It’s an unsubstantiated claim and one that the rest of the world does not seem overly concerned with. Go into any carrier store in Europe, and Huawei is on the best-seller list. And it should be; the devices are reasonably priced and chock full of innovation.

Let’s consider the new Mate 20 series, which launched today. Both versions have three Leica cameras on the back (telephoto, standard and ultra-wide angle) that produce best-in-class pictures from a close-up to a distance shot. In addition, the way the cameras are physically grouped (as a square) means that the phone stands out from aesthetic and brand recognition perspectives, which are quite rare in today’s lineup of banal design. The Mate 20 Pro also has facial recognition and an in-screen fingerprint sensor, as well as the the ability to leverage both techniques down to the individual app level allowing for a strong, customizable degree of security.

But perhaps the most interesting innovation is that the Mate 20 Pro is a wireless charging pad. In addition to being able to charge the phone on a wireless charging pad, other devices such as your colleague’s (wireless charging enabled) phone can actually be charged by placing them on top of the Mate 20. And while you may be loath to use the Mate’s battery life to charge your friend’s phone (are they really that close a friend that you will use up your precious battery?) it can be used to charge other peripherals such as you earbuds that come with a wireless-chargeable case. That is a major innovation that no other phone is able to do at this point.

The innovations continue with a fast processor - dual processors to offload slower jobs to a less battery-intense processor - TUV certification for safety and, of course, an OLED curved screen. It has everything we expect from a top-of-the-line flagship device. And it comes with a flagship price tag too, starting at euro 799 for the Mate 20, and over Eu1000 for the 20 Pro.

As the U.S. carriers continue to look for new devices to add to their portfolios, they do owe it to themselves and their customers to reconsider the Huawei range. The devices meet a clear market need with more features and innovations. We acknowledge that the political pressure against these devices is quite intense, but that same issue does not apply to the range of other Chinese brands, such as ZTE and OnePlus. We suspect that the carrier bold enough to take the leap will reap the rewards



Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts


The Emperor Only Wears Underpants
The Emperor Only Wears Underpants

Will the hype surrounding 5G struggle to meet the reality of the situation? NPD Connected Intelligence President Eddie Hold shares his thoughts.

The Huawei Challenge
The Huawei Challenge

NPD’s Eddie Hold takes a look at the potential impact of the U.S.’s ban of Huawei, which will not only impact the network infrastructure side of the business, but also its ability to support Android smartphones.

Your Signal May Vary
Your Signal May Vary

Eddie Hold, Connected Intelligence President, evaluates the national coverage of U.S. mobile carriers as he travels across some of the more rural parts of America using prepaid devices. This blog is part of a series Eddie is creating while researching his upcoming Technology in Rural America Report.

The Broadband Challenge
The Broadband Challenge

Eddie Hold, Connected Intelligence President, looks at how broadband can provide access to jobs and educational tools that are not currently available in areas of the hearland.

Subscribe to our blog

Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.