Device operating systems

Photos: Huawei Touches Up Its Image in the US

CHICAGO -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. isn't exactly a household name in the United States. Most people here probably can't even pronounce it. But the Chinese vendor is working on changing that by launching a brand-awareness campaign -- starting at the world's largest food festival.

The company's in the Windy City this week to show off its latest devices at the Taste of Chicago. LR Mobile ventured into its digs before the tourists took over to check out the softer side of the company. Click on the image below to launch a short slide show of the action.

Huawei's "Access Smarter experiential campaign" -- made up of an online contest and social media presence -- is aimed at consumers. But from talking with Bill Plummer, Huawei's VP of external affairs, it's clear the company's goal is to woo the wireless operators first.

That's the way the company will get on a first-name basis with the U.S., Plummer says. Huawei will appease the operators by being easy to work with, filling gaps in their handset portfolios with white-labeled handsets and earning their trust. Then, it will tackle keeping consumers' interest and loyalty. Huawei's also launching a global marketing campaign later this year that it plans to regionalize, Plummer says. (See Huawei, ZTE: Global Devices With Nice Prices and Huawei Ups Smartphone Target.)

"We have the breadth," Plummer says, noting that Huawei has at least one mobile device at every major operator here. "Now we're building the depth."

The handset maker has so far focused primarily on Android, but is planning to support Windows 8 when it comes to market this fall. Being affordable will always be part of Huawei's message, Plummer says, but now the company is talking up its flexibility, innovative design and consumer-centric attitude. (See Android & the Promise of LTE Boost Huawei, Huawei Plans Windows Phone 8 Handset and Microsoft Sets a Windows 8 Timeline.)

That approach has already won over T-Mobile US Inc. , which announced two new Huawei devices at the event. The Android-based myTouch and myTouch Q will run on the carrier's high-speed packet access-plus (HSPA+) network when they go on sale this summer for $50 on-contract after a mail-in rebate. Plummer said there will be more wireless operator deals announced in future cities' events throughout the rest of the summer.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:28:10 PM
re: Photos: Huawei Touches Up Its Image in the US

I was a little confused by Huawei's (very limited) marketing push to raise awareness when its new smartphones don't even carry its name. But, the myTouch franchise at T-Mobile is a solid one, and it's a big deal for the company to have built its latest iterations. 

I'm not sure I agree that getting in good with wireless operators as a white-label brand will lead to branded success, but at least it's plan to get in is working so far...

prinformant 12/5/2012 | 5:28:04 PM
re: Photos: Huawei Touches Up Its Image in the US

Would be interested to hear how this 'food associated awareness via white label project' resonates because I'm struggling to see how it will. Food, yes, people always come for the food, but will they remember who sponsored it? In with providers??, well, still not sure this is the best format, but that's just 1 PR person's opinion.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:28:04 PM
re: Photos: Huawei Touches Up Its Image in the US

I'm with you there. It was all very strange. They're not sponsoring it either - just set up a tent far off the end of the street... If I feel up to braving the tourists this weekend, I may go back and ask people what their perceptions of Huawei are now...or, to start, just if they can pronounce it.

jayja 12/5/2012 | 5:27:56 PM
re: Photos: Huawei Touches Up Its Image in the US That shack looks like where the Hippies used to sell dope & t-shirts in Central Park in the '60's.
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