WindowsMania.pl have managed to lay their hands on the latest GDR2 ROM for the Huawei Ascend W1 Windows Phone, said to be in the hands of more than 1 million Windows Phone users.
The ROM includes the much-needed Storage Manager, though GDR2 was meant to solve the Windows Phone Other Storage issue. A little more direct control will however never go amiss.
You can download the ROM at WindowsMania.pl here, and also find the instructions to install it.
ITProPortal reports that O2 is offering the Huawei Ascend W1 for only £99 on Pay as You Go, down from £129.99.
The low-end Windows Phone is only held back by only having 4 GB ROM, but otherwise features a 4in WVGA screen with Gorilla Glass, a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash, a 1,950mAh battery, a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260a SoC clocked at 1.2GHz, 512MB of RAM, a front-facing camera, a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi and GPS.
Huawei has said they have sold more than 1 million of the smartphones in Europe and USA so far.
The handset can be found at O2 here.
WPWorld.pl reports the that the Huawei Ascend W1 has become the first Windows Phone 8 handset to be bootloader unlocked, allowing hackers to load custom ROMs with unique features.
Apparently one of the first Custom ROMs for the handset features the ability to use a Static IP, which is useful for some users, and the ability to load maps on the memory card, a feature that is already supported by Nokia’s mapping apps.
Of course with an unlocked boatloader the sky it literally the limit, and given that Windows Phone 8 shares the same codebase as Windows RT I think Huawei Ascend W1 users can expect a rather crazy hacking scene in short order.
We don’t normally credit Huawei as a significant Windows Phone player, but it seems the Chinese low-cost handset maker may be having some influence on the small Windows Phone market.
Speaking to Pocket-lint, Kevin Ho, president of Huawei’s handset product line, confirmed the company sold more than 1 million of their Ascend W1 Windows Phones in USA and Europe.
The low-cost smartphone was released in January, and hit Europe around March this year.
Despite the achievement however he did note selling Windows Phones was not easy.
"Compared to Android, Windows Phone is difficult to sell. Most people like Android, they are familiar with Android, but they need time to accept Windows Phone and make it familiar."
If Huawei doubles or trebles the numbers they may start taking market share from Nokia, but Ho said the company had no such intentions.
"We do not want to fight with Nokia. We want to work together with Nokia and Microsoft to build a better Windows Phone platform," Ho said.
Huawei has just announced the Ascend W2, which disappointingly had similar low-end specs to the W1, but given the relative success the company had with their approach their response was somewhat understandable.
Do our readers think we have been underrating the company and their potential impact? Let us know below.
Thanks Arun for the tip.
Walmart is now offering the Huawei Ascend W1 on their Straight Talk MVNO. The handset is being sold at what now seems a rather pricy $229.80 and is only compatible with the Straight Talk $45/30-Day Unlimited Service Plan or the $60/30-Day Unlimited International Service Plan.
The handset competes with Android devices such as the $199 LG Optimus which only has an 800 Mhz processor, but of course appears expensive compared to the Nokia Lumia 521 on T-Mobile.
See the handset at Walmart here.
Thanks Arun for the tip.
O2 UK is offering the Huawei Ascend W1 in Blue and Pink for only £99.99 on Pay as You Go, £30 down from its previous £129.99 price.
The handset is available available for free from as little as £14 per month with unlimited text and 250 MB of data on a 24 month contract.
The handset competes with the Nokia Lumia 520, which is also carried by O2, but which is now £20 more expensive at £119.99 (and also out of stock), meaning we are now seeing some real price competition at the Windows Phone low end.
The handset has a 4 inch WVGA screen and 5 megapixel camera, with the only real deficit being no access to Nokia’s exclusive apps and only 4GB of internal storage, though microSD expansion is supported.
See the deal at O2 here.
Huawei today announced its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone – Huawei W1 – will be available this month online at Walmart.com and at select Walmart stores in the United States.
"The Huawei W1 brings consumers a truly compelling alternative to what’s currently in the marketplace – a device that is competitively priced with an unlimited *30-day no-contract plan," said Michael Chuang, Executive Vice President at Huawei Device USA. "The addition of the W1 to our smartphone portfolio in the United States gives consumers access to a wider range of Huawei smartphones at a competitive price that makes sense to consumers."
The Huawei W1 features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 4” IPS LCD touch screen made of Gorilla® glass, a 5MP camera with 0.3MP front-facing camera, and an LED flash and special battery optimizations.
The Ascend W1 will be joining the Nokia Lumia 520, which arrived on Walmart.com last week and promptly sold out.
"We are proud to deliver a premium smartphone experience to customers at a competitive price point," said Todd Greenberg, General Manager, US Windows Phone Sales at Microsoft. "The new Huawei W1 is a great addition to the Windows Phone 8 portfolio of devices in the U.S. with its impressive battery life and availability in Walmart stores."
Huawei will be promoting the handset on the May 15 with the "Huawei W1 ‘Make it Yours’ Music & Mobile Sweepstakes." Fans of the Huawei W1 and Jonas Brothers will be able to enter to win the smartphone, tickets to attend Jonas Brothers Tour concerts across the country, and a chance to meet the band in person.
For more information about Huawei’s sponsorship or about the Huawei W1, please visit www.HuaweiDeviceUSA.com/HuaweiW1.
The Huawei Ascend W1 is rolling out around the world and Huawei has decided to promote the handset with their Dream Record campaign, documented on YouTube.
In the campaign they sponsor four young artists and entrepreneurs and record how their Huawei Ascend W1 help them achieve their dreams.
See all the videos on their YouTube channel here.
Thanks Arun for the tip.
Microsoft claims 10% Windows Phone market share in South Africa as Huawei Ascend W1 goes on sale in Kenya
South Africa is one of the 7 markets in which Windows Phone outsells the iPhone, and now Gustavo Fuchs, Windows Phone head for the Middle East and Africa has revealed exactly what this meant for its market share there.
Windows Phone only had 2% market share in 2011, but now boasted a 10% share, helped by the introduction of the new Windows Phone 8 software in November, Fuchs said.
The progress has left Microsoft pretty confident there also, with Microsoft aiming to be the No 1. OS in the region by 2016, helped by handsets at a range of prices and a variety of OEMs.
“With a low-smartphone-penetration market, Windows Phone has a bigger chance to be the first smartphone for users,” Fuchs said. “The smartphone snowball effect has started.”
Fuchs expected Blackberry, which is the dominant platform in South Africa, to continue to lose market share due to its Blackberry 10 transition and the growth of over the top messaging applications like WhatsApp. In 2012 Blackberry had 51% market share and Android 32%.
Microsoft is also planning to target other markets in Africa like Kenya and Nigeria.
He notes Nokia’s Lumia phones sold out when it went on sale in Kenya in February.
“Kenya is important as a hub, not a single market,” he said. “We might have some challenges in terms of GDP, price point of devices, but it could be the cultural driver of East Africa. Everything that happens in Kenya gets expanded into Tanzania or Uganda.”
Microsoft has an initiative with Huawei to release the Huawei 4 Africa, a version of the Huawei Ascend W1, in Kenya, and the device has just been announced for sale on the 8th for KES 15,999 ($190) on Safaricom there, with 500 MB of data included. The device is coming to Nigeria also.
“It’s not about us competing with other smartphones,” Fuchs said. “It’s about us showing to people that smartphones are a better choice than feature phones.”
Read more at Bloomberg here.
Thanks Arun for the tip.
WPDang reports on two unique Windows Phones that are showing up for sale in China.
Above is the TCL S606 3G, the only Windows Phone without a shutter button. The device is being sold in Russia and elsewhere under the Alcatel OneTouch brand, and is being sold at the Jingdong Mall for 799 Yuan ($129), which is of course pretty cheap. That will buy you a 1 Ghz handset running Windows Phone 7.8, with a 4 inch WVGA screen, 5 megapixel camera and VGA front camera, 4 GB storage and 512 MB RAM.
One of the major Windows Phone 8 features was DataSense, which allows users to monitor and control their data usage.
When Microsoft announced the feature they neglected to mention it needs the carrier to sign up to it, and unfortunately it seems Verizon is the only one who has implemented it so far.
Huawei did not however wait on carriers to implement this feature, and according to their manual added their own Traffic Manager to their Windows Phone, which allows users to set data limits and judge the traffic used by each app.
This is particularly important for the market the Huawei Ascend W1 will be selling in – Pay as you go users who have small data packages who want to stretch their credit as fast as possible.
An example of the camera quality of the Huawei Ascend W1
Pocket-lint have published a very thorough 12 page review of the new Huawei Ascend W1 Windows Phone 8 handset.
The handset is available from £119.99 on PAYG on O2, or £13.50 per month on contract, and is competing against low-end Android handsets such as Ascend G330, Orange San Diego and ZTE Blade 3 and Windows Phones such as the Nokia Lumia 520.
At that price you can expect some compromises, and Pocket-lint notes for example that the picture quality left a lot to be desired, and found that the device slowed down at times, especially when they tried to jump between content-heavy apps too quickly.
They also lamented that no GPS Navigation app was pre-installed, but was fortunately able to install Nokia Drive, which is now available for all Windows Phones in some areas.
They were however very happy with the battery life, which easily made it two days between charges, and found the removable battery, microSD card slot and sturdy build quality welcome.
They also found Windows Phone 8’s ease of use a plus.
When you consider the Huawei Ascend W1 will set you back just £120 it’s difficult to fault, as you’re getting a pretty good deal.
The Ascend W1 comes with a strong set of features allowing you to fully use the handset as a mobile phone, internet portal, handheld gaming device and multimedia station.
It may not excel at any of these things, but that’s OK. You’re not going to buy the Huawei Ascend W1 for power, you’re going to buy it for practicality and value for money – and those are the criteria it absolutely wins out on.
Read their full review here.
Huawei promises to be an important Windows Phone OEM, especially in China, Russia, Africa and eventually even Europe.
Speaking to Business Insider Wan Biao, CEO of the company explained why they were supporting the OS.
“For us all the focus is on Android, but we will also try Windows. Right now, the sales are good, but it’s pretty hard to predict Windows Phone. For one OS [operating system] – Android – the consumers have spent time and their money to like it. We developed Windows 8 because we do believe some consumers will like it.”
Huawei’s first Windows Phone, the Ascend W1, has just one on sale in Russia. Winphonelive.ru reports that online store The Messenger is currently shipping out pre-orders for the handset, and will only serve new customers if there are any left over, with a second shipment expected in a week.
The device is on sale for only 8990 rubles, which is around $290, and is available in black, white and blue.
While we tend to devote most of our attention to high end Windows Phones, one of the OS’s strengths is providing a premium experience even at the low-end, and that is where sales have also been concentrated. It could very well be that handsets like the Huawei Ascend W1 could be one of the keys to Windows Phone success in 2013.
Huawei announced today that its entry-level Windows Phone smartphone, the Ascend W1, will be on sale exclusively with O2 UK from March 7.
The Huawei Ascend W1 will be available in store and online for Â£119.99 on prepay and for free on contracts from Â£13.50 per month. It will be available in â€˜Electric Blueâ€™ from March 7 and in â€˜Electric Pinkâ€™ also from March 18.
The Ascend W1 has a bright 4-inch IPS LCD 480 x 800 touchscreen with a low reflective IPS LCD display with full lamination technology, providing good visibility under different lighting conditions. I also features a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor with an Adreno 305 GPU, plus a large 1950mAh battery provides the longest standby time of smartphones in its class. It also features a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, and includes 4GB on-board memory, expandable to 32GB with a micro SD card.
The Ascend W1 will be supported by a significant ATL marketing campaign across UK media, and will be competing with handsets such as the newly announced Nokia Lumia 520 at a similar price point. Unfortunately the handset may be unduly hobbled by its low 4 GB internal storage, which will likely leave only around 1 GB available for buyers to install applications.
Do our readers think this handset will improve Windows Phone market share in UK? Let us know below.
It seems Huaweiâ€™s low-end Windows Phone 8 handset is not going to be confined to Russia, China and India.
The handset has just passed through the FCC with prominent TracFone branding, and appears to be heading to its Net10 low-cost brand.
The handset will be HSDPA only there, but I suspect at the low prices it will command this will not be a problem.
While we are all excited about the Nokia Lumia 620, other low-cost Windows Phones are also trying to place their stake in the low-cost war.
The 4 inch WVGA Windows Phone 8 Huawei Ascend W1 will be hitting the Russian market soon, with Russian retailer Svyaznoy starting pre-orders for the handset.
The device will be retailing for 8,990 rubles, which is only $299 â€“ somewhat cheaper than the Nokia Lumia 620, which has been retailing for more than 250 Euro.
The device features:
- Windows Phone 8.
- Display – 4 inches (800 by 480 pixels).
- Dual-core 1.2 GHz processor.
- Camera: 5 MP main, front 0.3 MP.
- 4 GB storage with microSD card expansion.
- Battery capacity of 2000 milliamp-hours.
Read more at W7phone.ru and see a quick hands-on video of the handset after the break.