While the name Huawei (pronounced Wah-way) might be unknown to most people, anyone who has ever used a broadband dongle has experience with a Huawei device. The company’s first attempt to crack the Australian phone market is with the Ideos, one of the first Android phones running the latest iteration of the Android operating system to be released locally.
While phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire look to take on the iPhone, Huawei’s target is much more modest: the Ideos is intended as a blockbuster budget smartphone, and one that packs a whole heap of technology for a whole lot less cost.
We played with it this week and were fairly impressed at some of the technology Huawei managed to stuff it with.
On the inside
Huawei has equipped the Ideos with a 3 megapixel camera, GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, video recording, Bluetooth, microSD support up to 32GB, and Android 2.2.
The company has even managed to beat major mobile marques with its inclusion of “portable hotspot” technology to an Android handset in Australia. This turns the phone into a wireless access point, allowing it to sharie the internet, via GPRS or 3G network, with a connected laptop, tablet or other net-enabled devices. Similar to the modem/router in a home network, the Ideos can distribute its connection to the Internet to up to several devices.
Testing showed this to be a standout feature, with the Ideos providing internet access over WiFi without the need to install any drivers.
The Ideos looks and feels like it’s been designed for the youth market. Soft plastic curves round out the shell of the device, making it fit quite comfortably in the hand. The handset isn’t very large, and with a 2.8-inch screen, it’s easily one of the smaller smartphones we’ve handled in a while.
Given it has a slower processor than devices like the Samsung Galaxy S, we didn’t expect high flying performance. It struggled, for instance, on features such as Live Wallpaper, a function more typically found in higher-end handsets. With every workaday tasks such as menu navigation, the phone works just fine.
The screen’s 240×320 resolution isn’t much to write home about though, and with only 256,000 colours photos look distinctly patchy. The capacitive touchscreen, however, is nicely responsive.
Overall, the Ideos is shaping up as a promising handset for the budget conscious buyer looking for smartphone functionality. Outside of the HTC Wildfire ($349), there aren’t a lot of Android phones running current versions of the operating system, so it’s certainly making a compelling technology statement on that count.
Huawei has mentioned pricing of $US200 in overseas markets, but there’s no word on price or availability yet locally. We’re told, however, that the company is negotiating with major carriers in Australia and New Zealand.
Huawei’s Ideos will be available in blue, as well as yellow and red.