Going Super-Nova


By Shanuka Kadupitiyage

In the aftermath of Huawei losing access to Google’s services, the global tech giant took a massive hit in its dominance in the smartphone market share. Although the odds are stacked heavily against their success, Huawei continues to try and punch above its weight. 

This was made evident in Huawei’s latest lineup of consumer technology, which were recently revealed at an event held at the Hilton Colombo under the patronage of representatives of the Huawei Management Team and members of the media. 

A technology company 

Although at one point, Huawei was known in the country solely for its mobile and consumer tech, its mobile tech division is only the tip of the iceberg. Huawei is first and foremost a company that creates technology. Mobile devices are only one part of a bigger puzzle. The company is heavily involved with technology as a whole, and invests a large portion of its annual earnings back into research and development. 

As a result, Huawei is one of the largest patent holders in the world, and registers hundreds of patents for new technology every year. These technologies are then used for its many arms, which include renewable energy, automobiles, 5G infrastructure and so much more.

A new strategy

As such, the company has changed strategies when it comes to its mobiles and consumer tech. Rather than providing tech as standalone devices, Huawei is now focused on creating user experiences based on their entire lineup of tech products, creating a lineup of products that connect and operate seamlessly, from smart homes to smartphones; a more robust and connected device ecosystem.

This strategy was evident from Huawei’s newly announced devices, which included notebook computers, wearables such as the new Huawei Watch GT3, the MateView GT monitor and of course, the newly announced Huawei Nova 8i smartphone.

Of course, these weren’t the only products that Huawei had on showcase during the event. The company’s lineup of cutting-edge networking hardware as well as solar technology was also featured, not to mention a few other corporate products.

Super Nova?

Of course, the Huawei smartphone is at the centre of the entire ecosystem, connecting all the devices together. The company’s latest budget device, the Nova 8i, is no different.

It is able to seamlessly connect with wearables such as the Watch GT3, their bluetooth earbuds, even their laptop computer for added connectivity. 

That doesn’t mean the Nova 8i is not a worthy stand-alone device. With a decent camera setup, ample RAM and storage as well as a 6.67 inch edgeless display interrupted only by a somewhat large camera cutout, it tick most boxes in the list of what a budget phone consumer would be looking for. 

But there is a caveat. With the lack of Google’s services, the usual Android experience that can be expected is somewhat tarnished. At first, it may sound like a dealbreaker, but with how far the Huawei AppGallery (their own dedicated app store) has come, that might not be the case anymore.  

Commenting on the new device, Huawei Country Manager Chris Cai said that they were “…delighted to launch this smartphone to the Sri Lankan market. We firmly believe that it will be warmly embraced by our Huawei customer base due to its many novel features,” and that “It accompanies and empowers them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with its intelligence, unparalleled battery life, and powerful camera performance.”

Similar thoughts were shared with the announcement of the Watch GT3, which comes with a range of upgrades from the previous generation, including all-day blood-oxygen monitoring. 

Huawei’s latest consumer tech was announced ready for pre-orders right from authorised dealers, with a few gifts ready for the early birds.

Here to stay

It’s clear that Huawei considers Sri Lanka to be a key market with its consumer products given how much it has invested in promoting their new lineup. Even so, they do come with their own caveats, which need to be considered when making a purchase.

(Pix by Laksiri Rukman)