Watch out, Apple: Huawei has become the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor

google huawei pixel branding logo
China-based electronics maker Huawei, not so long ago considered the red-headed stepchild of the smartphone industry, is on the rise. It’s rumored to launch a Nexus smartphone later this year, managed to top revenue of $46.5 billion last year, and has now displaced Microsoft’s Nokia division to become the world’s third-largest mobile phone vendor.

And that gap isn’t even close. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Huawei shipped about 3 million more phones than Microsoft, or 30.6 million versus the Redmond company’s 27.8 million. That’s a 50 percent uptick from last year for the Chinese company, and the resulting market share — 7 percent — encroaches on Apple (10 percent) territory. (For point of reference, Samsung sits comfortably in the lead with a 20.5 percent share.) Impressively, Huawei managed to fend of Chinese competitor Xiaomi, which saw shipments and marketshare grow to 4.6 percent (from 3.5 percent) and 19.8 million (up from 15.1 million) respectively.

Huawei’s performance is all the more impressive given the weak demand the industry faces. Samsung in particular has struggled — the South Korean giant’s smartphone shipments plummeted from 95.3 million to 89 million, a decline reflected in a seventh straight drop in the company’s quarterly earnings. “Global mobile phone shipments grew a lackluster 2 percent annually from 428 million units in [Q2 3014] to 434.6 million in [Q2 2015],” said Strategy Analytics director Woody Oh, which he attributed to “slowing demand” for handsets in Europe, China, and the U.S. “[It’s] the industry’s weakest performance for two years.”

Huawei has blockbuster devices to thank for its second-quarter success — its smartphones are especially popular in China, Strategy Analytics director Ken Hyers said in a statement — but the gains are mostly at Microsoft’s expense. Lukewarm reception of the Redmond company’s Lumia devices, a lineup it inherited in its 2014 purchase of Finnish company Nokia, led to a 5.5 percent slide in market share to 6.4 percent and a global place in fourth. It still managed handset shipments of 27.8 million, but that’s a far cry from the 50.3 million it sold a year earlier.

As Microsoft winds down its phone business in response (the company slashed 7,800 jobs from its Nokia division and wrote off $7.6 billion in costs related to the acquisition), Huawei is gearing up for a stateside push. Zhiqiang Xu, president of Huawei’s U.S. division, said the company would continue to add unlocked, unsubsidized devices to its online store throughout the year and offer benefits like a two-year warranty, free shipping for replacement devices, and U.S.-based call centers. “[The U.S. is] critical for Huawei,” Zhiqiang said in a recent interview.

Computing

So there’s a chance Microsoft may not remove MS Paint after all

A screenshot showing a missing product alert from a preview of the newest Windows 10 build may indicate that Microsoft might not get rid of MS Paint after all. There's a chance that the beloved image editor may avoid a Microsoft Store…
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Mobile

The Moto G4 Plus is finally getting the update to Android Oreo

We've reached out to every major Android hardware manufacturer and asked them when they will update their devices to the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 8.0 Oreo.
Mobile

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.
Mobile

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Wearables

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…