I’ve been watching Huawei lately, and I like to compare their rise in the smartphone market with the rise of HTC. Just like HTC, they were once just an OEM for other companies, making phones under those companies’ brands. They still do that, but they are increasingly becoming more popular in the smartphone market under their own brand name.

That’s didn’t happen by accident, though. They are starting to make higher and higher quality phones, with higher end specs, that can become very competitive product-wise with other phones from more well-known players.

Just like HTC, they aren’t going to become a huge player overnight in the smartphone market. It took HTC many years to get where they are now, being considered at least a top 3 player in the Android smartphone market. They first started becoming popular with their Windows Mobile phones, which seemed to beat everyone else in specs and quality. But then they really got popular when they started championing the Android movement.

Huawei is late to the Android party compared to HTC, but they push it big time in Asia. Plus, just like HTC, they are making ever better phones, and the new Huawei Honor is just a testimony of that. The very popular Huawei Ideos was a great handset for the price, however its main criticism was the low battery life, which some said was half of other Android smartphones. So it looks like Huawei wants to fix that problem in their future devices.

The Huawei Honor comes with an 1900 mAh battery, which is as big as the one in the dual core Motorola Atrix, a 1.4 Ghz single core processor, 4″ display with 854×480 resolution, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal storage, 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front facing camera, and it’s also DLNA-enabled for wireless sharing with your TV. It will run Android 2.3, and should be hitting Asia-Pacific, China, Russia, and the Middle East in “Classic Black” the fourth quarter, and with more colors during the Christmas season.

The Huawei Honor looks like a mid-end phone and will probably be priced accordingly. I haven’t really seen a very high-end device from them so far, but their brand name needs to catch-up with that, too, because they’ve been mostly known as a company that doesn’t make very high-end, premium devices. But probably within 2-3 years, Huawei phones will compete head to head with any other smartphone in the market if they keep this up.

Would you buy a Huawei phone anytime soon if the specs are great for the price, and if the quality seems up to par, or would you still be wary about the reliability of a “Huawei” phone?

Here’s the full PR for the Huawei Honor:

Huawei’s latest smartphone Honor packs a punch with its 16M true color HD display and three-day battery life, the longest in its class

Shenzhen, 26 September 2011: Huawei today officially unveiled the Huawei Honor, its latest Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread smartphone that features a 16M 16:9 true color high-definition (HD) 4-inch FWVGA capacitive touch screen. Powered by a 1,900 MAh battery, Honor frees consumers from the inconvenience of searching for an electricity source, allowing them to share and connect for up to three days1 on a single charge – the longest battery life among smartphones in the 4-inch screen range. With a 1.4 GHz processor, an 8-megapixel HDR2-enabled camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, Honor is a powerhouse in a sleek 10.9 mm-thin body and weighs just 140g.

“Huawei Honor encapsulates the Huawei brand – it features simple-to-use, advanced technology that allows people to share and connect easily. Honor provides a package of features that elevates the smartphone user experience, including an ultra-long battery life, so critical to the performance of smartphones but yet is often downplayed,” said Victor Xu, chief marketing officer of Huawei Device. “Consumers now have a high-performing smartphone that lets them communicate, connect, entertain and share content for an extended period of time without compromising on looks, technology or style.”

Honor comes with an exclusive Huawei user interface which is easier to customize and manage, as well as a dynamic weather widget. Honor also features a Gyroscope which enables a better gaming experience. The smartphone is DLNA-certified which ensures interoperability with other DLNA-certified devices such as digital cameras, game consoles and TVs. This makes it easier for consumers to share their digital photos, music and videos between different DLNA-certified devices. The DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a non-profit organization with more than 250 member companies in the mobile, consumer electronics, PC, and service provider industries. According to ABI Research data, as of 2010, more than 440 million DLNA-certified devices have been installed in homes.

Honor will be commercially available in “Classic Black” in Asia-Pacific, China, Russia and the Middle East in Q4, 2011. Honor will be released in more colors closer to the Christmas holidays.

Technical Specs

  • Android Gingerbread 2.3.5 OS
  • 1900mAh battery
  • 1.4 Ghz processor
  • 4.0 inch 16M 16:9 true color FWVGA capacitive touch screen
  • 8 megapixels auto focus camera supporting HDR, with 2 megapixels front-facing camera
  • 2G Network (operating band) GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • 3G Network (operating band) WCDMA/HSPA+ 900/AWS/2100
  • Measures 10.9mm (0.43 inches) at its thinnest point and weighs around 140g (0.3 pounds)
  • Support Class 10 GPRS and EDGE
  • 3G HSPA+ DL 14.4 Mbps/UL 5.76 Mbps
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth V2.1 with A2DP
  • 512M RAM + 4G ROM memory with a memory card slot up to 32GB
  • Micro USB 2.0 port
Additional Features
  • Assisted GPS support
  • FM radio
  • Dual MIC, compass and gyroscope
  • G-sensor, proximity sensor and light sensor
  • Exclusive Huawei user-interface with a dynamic weather widget
  • 160GB network capacity CloudDrive
  • DLNA-certified enables sharing with other DLNA-certified devices
Colors and Availability
  • Classic Black available in China, Russia and the Middle East from Q4 2011 with other colors to follow