Huawei Dubs Ascend P6 'World's Slimmest Smartphone'

The Huawei Ascend P6 is shockingly thin, well-designed and feature-rich. Any chance it'll come to the U.S.?

Huawei Ascend P6

Huawei has introduced what it's calling the "world's slimmest" smartphone, the Ascend P6. It's a follow-up to the Ascend P2, which the company dubbed the "world's fastest" smartphone.

At just 6.18mm wide, the P6 is indeed lithe and lean. (To compare, the Apple iPhone 5 is 7.6mm wide and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is 7.9mm.)

Introduced during a June 18 event in London, the Ascend P6 features a 4.7-inch high-definition in-cell LCD screen with "MagicTouch"—the ability to respond even when a user is wearing gloves.

It runs a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, the Android 2.2 operating system and Huawei's Emotion user interface (UI), which—quite the opposite of Samsung's "inspired by nature" marketing—Huawei says was "inspired by people." The company gathered input from more than 5 million consumers to update the UI, and the results include panoramic shoot and facial-recognition photography features, a Me Widget, the MagicTouch capabilities and SmartReading, which offers instant keyword translation, among other features.

The phone's cameras are a major focus. There's an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with an aperture of F2.0 and a 4cm macro view said to enable 1080p full-high-definition video recording and playback. And for fans of the selfie, the front-facing camera is 5 megapixels and has automatic "facial-enhancing capabilities" to help create "model-gorgeous shots."

Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) and Quick Power Control (QPC) features optimize the battery and can add 30 percent more use time, according to Hauwei.

The Ascent P6 has a metallic body; will come in white, light pink and black; and, most people will agree, is rather lovely.

Huawei announced availability in China beginning in June and Western Europe in July, with other markets to follow. Will it come to the United States? If it did, it would have to do battle with not just iPhones from Apple and Galaxy devices from Samsung, but a branding debacle.

U.S. government warnings in 2012 about the use of telecom equipment from Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese manufacturer of telecom equipment as well as smartphones, in critical infrastructure has pretty well aligned the brand name with the potentially snooping Chinese government.

The pending merger between carriers Sprint and Softbank had put fears about Huawei equipment back in the news, when as part of an effort to placate regulators and speed the merger approvals process, the carriers agreed to tear out any network equipment from Huawei, at a cost of likely $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal estimated.

"Considering the amount of articles that mentioned spying, I would say it would be hard for Huawei to shake that off," Gartner Research Vice President Carolina Milanesi told eWEEK.

"It would be a good phone for carriers to use to win over feature-phone users who have been sitting and waiting for more affordable prices without feature compromises," Milanesi added. "The overall device has a good set of features and an appealing design. Quality has been improving over the past year, too, but all of this can be easily dismissed over the concerns of dealing with a Chinese vendor—irrational though the concern might be."

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