Earlier this year Chinese mobile phone vendor and infrastructure equipment provider Huawei said that they plan on shipping between 12 and 15 million smartphones in 2011. That’s an ambitious goal since in 2010 they shipped just 3 million. According to Reuters however, Victor Xu, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Huawei told reporters attending a company event today that the goal has now been raised to 20 million. Compared to 2010 figures, that’s an increase of over 660%. With devices like the IDEOS X3 (pictured above) and X5, which run Google’s Android operating system and are often priced significantly lower than what the competition is able to deliver, we’ve got no doubt in our minds that they’ll be able to achieve their goal. That being said, they should be careful of ZTE, who also has wild ambitions to take over the smartphone market and who has recently announced that they’ve sold over 2 million of their ZTE Blade smartphone and that Orange UK will sell their ZTE Skate as the Monte Carlo later this year.
To put that 20 million number into some perspective, Nokia sold 31 million smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2010 alone, and in that same quarter Apple shipped over 16 million iPhones. Still, you’ve got to start somewhere, and we commend both Huawei and ZTE for entering the market and causing price erosion. The more people that get smartphones, the better, despite the notion that operator networks are getting clobbered and giants like Nokia are seeing their margins diminish, at the end of the day it’s all about “connecting people”, to steal a popular phrase.
What’s going to be more interesting to watch will be what Huawei and ZTE do in the tablet space. We’re actually a tad excited to get our hands on the Huawei MediaPad, which is the world’s first 7 inch tablet to run the as yet to be released version 3.2 of Google’s Android Honeycomb OS.