2014-05-04

Huawei Smartphones Now In Lebanon

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DISCLAIMER 2014-11-08: I am not affiliated in any way with Chetraco or Huawei an
d wrote this article as part of my amateur blogging activity when I was invited to attend the event. Since then neither Chetraco nor Huawei have contacted me for reviewing their newer models and have chosen understandably so Nancy Ajram to promote their products. I cannot help you with prices or addresses or availability if you call me although I do thank you for your trust.

It was roughly 9 days ago when I received an invitation to attend an event by HUAWEI in the prestigious Le Royal, Dbayeh. The Chinese Telecom giant was making its debut in Lebanon as a major player in the smartphone business. My previous encounters with a Huawei handset had been very brief as I only got to check out the device once with one of my friends who is living in Dubai. I did not have enough to build an opinion and this event was an occasion to familiarize myself with this manufacturer.



Fast forward to the event day, I arrived slightly ahead of time to the event and this actually gave me plenty of time to really poke around with the models that were on display. A wide collection was exposed and while it was easy to tell the low-end devices from the high-end ones, they all seemed quite responsive when submitted to the casual tests one can perform in such a short window. Another nice surprise was that all ran Android 4.4.2. this made me move past the aesthetics for some devices and the resemblance with other manufacturers. My immediate crush was for the Ascend P6. This device was thin, ultra light and really a pleasure to handle but more on this later and in a subsequent post.

The formal presentation was, well, formal...the usual intros by the mother company but also by Mr Eddie Cherfane (you might know the name from another brand of phones) who is heading CHETRACO the local partner for the Chinese brand.
I must admit some of the info presented was new to me and quite impressive: 3rd biggest smartphone manufacturer worldwide, P6 the slimmest smartphone ever made, the brand managed to climb from 25% to 52% in terms of awareness....
Huawei seem very confident of their UI dubbed "Emotion UI" but also of the fact that they can take-on older better known and well anchored names in the smartphone industry. From what I have seen they might just be able to to pull this off. I must admit that I was slightly disappointed when they replied to a question I raised that there would not be any "Google Play Edition" of their phones in the Lebanese market. The vanilla Android experience for me is somehow always more enjoyable than any added layer but that's probably my hardcore coding side talking: You can take a man out of coding, but you can't take coding out of a man.

While, during the presentation, we got to see the list of phones that are now available in the Lebanese market alongside what is planned next, the highlight of the event was when I managed to have a casual chat with Mr Ashraf Fawakherji, Vice President Open Market Middle East Region, who was very informative on their vision and strategy but above all was extremely nice to let me have a sneak peak at the P6's successor the Ascend P7. I tell you people, these guys have done a lot to surpass their previous model and they mean business!

We also got treated to an unexpected surprise as we all walked away with the Huawei Ascend P6.
I will be reviewing the device in the next few days so you might want to stay tuned for that. (Update 2014-04-13: read the review)
I leave you with some pictures from the event and of the devices.