Las Vegas - Huawei stepped up its campaign to burnish its image in the U.S. market with the launch of two flagship Android smartphones, one of which is said to be the slimmest smartphone in the U.S.
Both are among the fastest smartphones because of their dual-core 1.5GHz processor, and both are among the first phones announced in the U.S. with Google's Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS.
Both models also feature 4G 21Mbps HSPA+ technology and are banded for use on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Both also operate in foreign HSPA+ markets.
The phones will be available in Europe by the end of March and could appear in the U.S. in mid-2012, said Huawei Device chairman Richard Yu during a Monday press conference.
A CDMA version with 4G LTE is planned for later this year, executive VP Michael Chuang told TWICE.
The Ascend-series P1 S and P1 phones are part of the company's efforts to transform Huawei's image in the U.S. as a supplier of entry-level and midtier phones, said Yu.
The two Ascend phones will be followed by a Diamond series of smartphones that will take performance a step higher, Yu added. That series will be unveiled in February at the Mobile World Congress.
Huawei was able to downsize the Ascend phones through what it called innovative injection-molding technologies and customized key components.
The P1 S, said to be slimmer than the Motorola Razr at 0.263 inches in depth, is the slimmest of the two Ascend models, and it's only 2.55-inches-wide and 5.08-inches-tall. Weight is only 4.59 ounces. The Ascend P1 packs all the same features and performance as the P1 S but in a slightly thicker chassis at 0.3 inches but with the same height and width as the P1 S.
Both models feature 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD 960x540 capacitive touchscreen surrounded by a narrow frame on the left and right sides. Both also feature a host of advanced features such as SGX 540 graphics processor, 8-megapixel back camera with 1080p video capture, 1.3-megapixel front camera with 720p video capture, dual-LED flash, Bluetooth 3.0 High Speed, WiFi, DLNA certification, MHL-HDMI connection, and Dolby Mobile 3.0 Plus to deliver 5.1 surround through headphones.
They are also said to offer 40 percent lower power consumption than competing models because of such advances as faster cellular-signal detection. They come with 1670 and 1800mAh battery, respectively, to offer up to two days of usage, said Yu.
Advanced camera features include BSI sensor in the rear camera for low-light picture taking, multi-face recognition, ability to edit photos on the device, 180-degree panoramic picture-taking, and a group shot feature that takes five pictures in rapid succession to ensure a choice of the best picture. With the phones, users can also combine several of the best pictures taken in rapid succession so that all people in the final shot appear their best, Chuang said.
Huawei's worldwide device sales grew 50 percent in calendar 2011 to $6.8 billion, with handset shipments hitting 150 million, Yu said. Compay smartphone shipments were up 500 percent, he added.