Huawei has record-breaking year: 75M phones, over $12B revenue

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Chinese manufacturer Huawei has announced record-breaking results for 2014, with smartphone sales up 45% to 75 million and revenue up 30% to $12.2B. The numbers aren’t too great a surprise, as Reuters came pretty close to calling them in a piece posted on New Year’s Eve.

The dramatic growth in sales could see Huawei threatening the rankings of both LG and Xiaomi in the next round of market share estimates after recently being knocked down into fifth place …

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Huawei smartphone sales up 40%, revenues up almost a third, says Reuters

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Reuters has pre-empted Huawei’s financial results, due to be released next month, citing an internal memo showing a 40% year-on-year increase in smartphone sales, with divisional revenue up almost a third to $11.8B.

The division shipped about 75 million smartphones in 2014, according to the year-end memo to employees sent by Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business. Although that represented a more than 40 percent year-on-year increase, the figure lagged behind Huawei’s previously stated sales target of 80 million units.

While the company started life making low-end handsets, it later branched out into high-end smartphones, including the recently-announced Honor 6 Plus, closely modelled on Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus …  Read more

Xiaomi valued at $45bn following $1.1bn funding round, new flagship coming in January

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Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced this morning (via Weibo) that the company has completed its latest round of funding, securing another $1.1 billion for the startup to now be valued at $45 billion total. And in light of this news, the Chinese company has mentioned that it plans to announce its next flagship device at some point next month.

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China tightens blockade on Google, blocking email app access to Gmail [Update: restored for now]

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Update: The FT reports that access has been restored for now at least, with a slight pickup in Google’s stats appearing to confirm.

China has tightened its firewall blockade of Google services, reports Re/code and the WSJ, with email apps no longer able to access Gmail via IMAP, POP3 or SMTP. While web access to Gmail has been blocked since June – believed related to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre – users had remained able to access mail using email apps like Apple Mail and Outlook until Friday …  Read more

Report: Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad hides malicious backdoor on millions of Android devices

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While most malware is the result of third-party attackers trying to gain access to your device or information, security research firm Palo Alto Networks has discovered that Chinese handset maker Coolpad has deliberately installed a backdoor on two dozen of its Android handset models. The so-called “CoolReaper” backdoor presents several security risks and is believed to impact over 10 million users. Read more

Huawei launches 5.5″ Honor 6 Plus w/ dual rear-facing cameras for shooting in the dark

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Chinese handset maker Huawei took the stage in Beijing today to introduce its next-generation flagship smartphone, the familiar sounding Honor 6 Plus. The all-new device, which has an unforgivably similar name to the iPhone 6 Plus, has a sleek, metallic design and takes on HTC with dual 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras and another 8-megapixel front-facing camera for added measure. Read more

Xiaomi earned $56 million profit in 2013 despite razor-thin margins

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Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has seen explosive growth since entering the market in 2010, emerging to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker after just four years. According to a recent regulatory filing, the company is also profitable too, bringing in $56 million profit in 2013 despite having razor-thin margins on its smartphones and tablets. Read more

Patent dispute halts some (all?) Xiaomi smartphone sales in India (Update: confirmed)

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The Times of India reports that the Delhi high court has banned Xiaomi from both importing and selling smartphones in India following a patent infringement claim by Ericsson.

Hearing a case filed by Ericsson India against Xiaomi, the court on Monday passed an ex parte order forbidding the popular Chinese manufacturer from importing and selling its smartphones in India […]

It is not clear if the order will impact all Xiaomi devices sold in India or specific devices that violate the patents.

However, as the patents concerned are Standard Essential Patents – patents which are so fundamental to a particular product category that the patent owner is obliged by law to license them on reasonable terms – it appears likely that the ruling applies to all Xiaomi handsets …  Read more

There’s a new title-holder in the world’s slimmest smartphone race – and it’s just 4.75mm thick

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Just when you wondered how much slimmer smartphones could get, Chinese brand Vivo has set a new record with the X5Max at just 4.75mm thick, beating the 5mm thin iPhone 6 clone Gionee Slim 5.5. Astonishingly, it has achieved this while still managing – just – to fit in a standard 3.5mm headphone socket. It does, though, the now-standard cheat of allowing the camera to protrude by 2mm.

headphoneIt’s also no slouch in the specs department, with a 64-bit octacore Snapdragon 615 processor, 5.5-inch 1080p display, 13MP main camera, 5MP front camera, 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage – with a clever dual-SIM tray that allows you to substitute a microSD card of up to 128GB for one of the SIMs …  Read more

Xiaomi thinks it can top Samsung and Apple as world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade

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Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Samsung and Apple to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years. Read more

Google announces Play Store merchant support for developers in China

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Google, in its continued effort to support developers and users from all across the world, announced today that developers in China are now be able to list both free and paid apps on the Play Store. The company made the announcement via a post on the official Android Developer Blog, saying that the addition of China means that developers can now sign up to be merchants in more than 60 countries. Users in more than 130 countries can purchase apps those apps, as well.

As part of that continued effort, we’re excited to announce merchant support in China, enabling local developers to export and sell their apps to Google Play users in more than 130 countries. Chinese developers can now offer both free and paid applications through various monetization models, including in-app purchasing and subscriptions. For revenue generated on Google Play, developers will receive payment to their Chinese bank accounts via USD wire transfers.

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