Even as the coronavirus pandemic wrecks havoc throughout the world. its latest range of new flagship smartphones was launched by the Chinese tech giant Huawei.
The company launched its P40 phones even as the company’s founder had announced a day before that that about 90 per cent of the 150,000 China-based employees had come back to work.
However analysts expect that the demand for smartphones to remain low for Huawei outside of its home market for the short term at least. Currently, most of the businesses and individual consumers are focusing on purchasing laptops, PCs and tablets if they decide to spend money at all, analysts said, because of the lockdowns in many cities of the world as well as work from home directive issued by many companies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Smartphones are not a priority and certainly not premium ones,” commented Marta Pinto from market research firm IDC. “People’s consumption confidence is falling because they are more concerned about buying things like groceries and whether they will keep their jobs.
“Even if you are still buying, because you’re working from home, you’ll probably purchase a laptop and monitor. Or because kids need to go to school online, you might buy them a tablet or Chromebook.”
Huawei chose to unveil the new handsets via a livestreamed video feed instead of its usual trend of doing so at one of the big-budget events that the company typically organizes.
Google services – including its YouTube, Maps and Play Store apps, and the Google Assistant, are missing from the P40 phones because of the ban imposed on it by the United States. That the company would face a a problem to market and sell the phones outside of China where alternatives to Google apps are preinstalled, said analysts. .
However that can be a boon for the company because it would be in a better position to combat the consequences of Covid-19 than its rivals, according to one company-watcher.
“Huawei was already pretty much locked out of markets outside of China, and had factored in a pretty tough trading environment for the next year or two,” explained Ben Wood from CCS Insight. “So, it is other phone-makers that have a bigger shock to deal with. LG and Sony’s smartphone divisions, in particular, were already sub-scale and may not survive.
“And don’t forget, that the majority of Huawei’s sales are still coming from its home market in China, where it’s been selling over 40 million units on a quarterly basis. And that market is recovering faster than others having already endured coronavirus and seems to be coming out the other side.”
At the end of 2019, Huawei had surpassed Samsung to become the largest smartphone seller in the world for a brief period and continues to hold the second position currently.
(Adapted from BBC.com)