Another analyst, Linda Sui of Strategy Analytics, told eWEEK
that her first-quarter data shows Huawei increasing its U.S. smartphone shipments, but not at the expense of Samsung or Apple. Instead, Huawei is gaining U.S. market share at the expense of Tier 2 vendors, including BlackBerry and Microsoft, she said.
In the U.S. smartphone market, Huawei is in the ninth spot, compared to No. 1 for Apple and No. 2 for Samsung. Apple had 32 percent of first-quarter shipments, compared to Samsung at 28 percent. LG was third with 17 percent, followed by ZTE with 7 percent and Chinese vendor Blu with 4 percent.
While Huawei is threatening Samsung and Apple for market share in other countries, the company faces longer odds to try to replicate that feat in the U.S. market, Sui said.
"It will not happen in the short term," she said. "It is difficult" due to the politics between the two nations and because of resistance from some U.S. carriers toward unlocked phones, which prevent long-term lock-in for customers.
Interestingly, Zhiqiang Xu, president of Huawei Device USA, made a bold prediction back in June 2015 at a Huawei press event in New York City. At the meeting, he said that in the next five years his company would "reach the position as a top-three player in the U.S. smartphone market," according to an earlier eWEEK
story. The world is still waiting to see how this prediction will turn out.
In April, Huawei launched its latest flagship phones, the P9 and the larger P9 Plus, in markets around the globe, but not yet in the United States. The handsets feature new dual-lens cameras, long battery life, and biometric fingerprint readers for security and privacy.
The P9 and P9 Plus handsets are built using aerospace-quality aluminum bodies with rounded, diamond-cut edges for high style. The P9 has a 5.2-inch Full HD 1080p touch-screen display and is powered by a Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM-based processor, while the P9 Plus has a 5.5-inch Full HD touch-screen display and the same Kirin CPU. The P9 is fitted with a 3,000mAh high-density battery, while the P9 Plus uses a larger 3,400mAh battery.