Huawei Cranks the 4-Speed Core

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. kicked off MWC with what is sure to be the first of many quad-core smartphone announcements centered on the need for speed.

The Chinese handset maker introduced the HSPA+ Ascend D Quad, what it dubs the world's fastest smartphone, sporting its own 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz quad-core processor, on Sunday preceding the show. Richard Yu, chairman of Huawei Device, says the Android Ice Cream Sandwich-based phone will launch at a competitive price that's 15 to 20 percent less than its rivals'. He expects the phone to launch in the spring or summer on HSPA+ networks, first in China and Europe and then in North America.

The Ascend D Quad will be upgradable to Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the third or fourth quarter, he added, but didn't name any operator partners. Yu also said Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) and FD LTE versions were in the works. (See Huawei Preps LTE TDD Smartphone.)

Click on the image below to see a few shots from Huawei's press event Sunday.

Yu also teased that a quad-core, LTE tablet was coming within the year and said the company plans to ship 60 million devices this year, up from only 20 million last year. (See Huawei Builds Its Design Identity and Huawei Gets a Grip on Smartphone Design.)

Why this matters
In announcing the new phones, a proud Yu talked up the speed of the quad-core processors, telling attendees that Huawei's chip is more than 20 to 30 percent faster than the Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) Tegra 3 quad-core chip and more than 100 percent faster than dual-core chips. And its 16-core graphical processing unit (GPU) is more than twice as fast as its competitors, he said.

The battle going on inside phones is getting almost as heated as that for external specs. LTE, coupled with the fastest, most low-latency processors is the next combination for handset makers to perfect. Right now Huawei is staking its reputation on the Central Processing Units (CPUs) and balancing that against battery life, an important consideration for the more power-hungry CPUs. Yu promised a 30 percent increase in battery efficiency on the Ascend D Quad.

Achieving this balance will also be important for Huawei as it looks to build its brand reputation in established smartphone markets like Europe and North America. For his part, Yu sounded pretty convinced the company could do so.

"This phone is the fastest in the world. It's the most compact smartphone with the best sound and image quality and the most power-efficient technologies inside," he said, adding that Huawei's smartphone brand might not be that famous, but its products are the best. For more
Huawei, followed closely by LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , was the first to announce a quad-core smartphone, but expect more this week in Barcelona. Check out our MWC site for all the latest.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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