Aussie carriers give Huawei's Ascend P6 smartphone the slip

Huawei's new Ascend P6 won't be sold through Australian carriers

Huawei has announced the impending Australian launch of its new Ascend P6 smartphone, but the device will not be sold through traditional telco carriers.

Read our preview of the Huawei Ascend P6 here

The Chinese company revealed today that the Ascend P6, a handset it described as the "world's slimmest smartphone" at its global unveiling in London, will go on sale through retailers JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith from Monday, 15 July.

The Ascend P6 won't be sold through traditional carriers like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone and will instead retail for $499 as an outright smartphone.

Huawei's Australian sales manager for retail, Minh Phan, said the company wanted to get the Ascend P6 to market as quickly as possible and was able to do so through retail channels.

"In terms of promotion, number one we need to focus on retail. So touch and feel, experiencing our devices. The focus will be on how we drive sales through the retail channel."

"In terms of carriers, they look at a different opportunity. I can't comment exactly how they choose the devices that go on their subsidy plans, but at this stage as a business we have to look at our key partners."

"At the end of the day we want to get this product as fast to market as possible. We launched in London last month, and I think it's the first time as a business that we've launched a product globally and brought it to market so quickly."

When pressed on how many units Huawei sold to JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith, Phan refused to comment. However, he stressed that both retailers were enthusiastic about the smartphone.

"I can't disclose how many [handsets] they've bought, but their support has been great with the P6. They're very, very excited. They jumped on board very, very early, obviously before the announcement in London."

"They're very excited with Huawei and where we are going with our product. They can see the changes with our brand in the past 12 months, and what our potential is going forward. From a business point of view, JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith are very strong partners."

A lack of local carrier support for Huawei's mid-to-high end Android smartphones is not a new issue. The company's 6.1in Ascend Mate smartphone only sold through Harvey Norman back in April, while the Ascend D1 quad was sold through JB Hi-Fi last November.

In addition to claiming the Ascend P6 as the "world's slimmest smartphone," Huawei also describes its 5-megapixel front-facing camera as "industry leading". Most competing smartphones use a 2-megapixel front camera.

The Ascend P6 at Huawei's Australian launch announcement today.
The Ascend P6 at Huawei's Australian launch announcement today.

The Ascend P6 is 6.18mm thick and weighs just 120g, so its design compares very favourably against alternatives from more established competitors like Samsung, HTC and Sony.

Other features of the Huawei Ascend P6 include an auto facial-enhancing setting for the front camera, a 4cm macro view for the rear camera, and a microSD card slot that allows users to expand the 8GB of internal memory.

The device is powered by Huawei's own-developed 1.5GHz quad-core processor and has 2GB of RAM, but it does not have 4G-capabilities.

The Ascend P6 at Huawei's Australian launch announcement today.
The Ascend P6 at Huawei's Australian launch announcement today.

Last month, Huawei's CEO, Richard Yu, said the company is aiming to sell 10 million units of the Ascend P6 globally. The outspoken Huawei chief also recently claimed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a "so-so" smartphone, and criticised Google's Android operating system for being "too complicated."

Australian models of the Huawei Ascend P6 will come in black and white variants.

Are you interested in the Huawei Ascend P6? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tags smartphonesAndroidJB HiFiHuaweidick smithandroid phonesHuawei Ascend P6

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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