Get a glimpse of what's on the tech horizon with Foolish reports from the field at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. Companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms launch and showcase thousands of products at the event, which attracts visitors from around the world.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei looks to stand out in the Android crowd with reverse charging in its Ascend Mate 2. It's a solidly built 6-inch device, but do consumers really want to use one phone to charge another?
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A full transcript follows the video.
Eric Bleeker: Hey, Fools. I'm Eric Bleeker, joined here by Evan Niu, and we are on the floor of CES.
We're at Huawei's exhibit. Even if you might not know Huawei, because they don't sell a lot of phones in the United States, it's a fast-growing Android manufacturer based out of China. They have a pretty varied business, also doing a lot of telecom equipment.
But specifically we are looking at the Ascend Mate 2, which is one of their newest flagship models. It has a 6-inch screen. What's getting a lot of attention about the Ascend Mate 2, however, is that you can charge other phones with it -- specifically, we've seen people talk about charging an iPhone with it.
I want to just kick this over to you quick, Evan. Is there any innovation here? Is this something that you could see other companies charging? Is there a reason to have two smartphones?
Evan Niu: It's kind of a silly value proposition. It's a very large phone; it has a very large battery, so it has the juice to spare. Huawei does say that it will charge any other phone -- either an Android phone or an iPhone -- but yeah, that begs the real question of, they're really expecting you to have two phones. Why do you need two phones to begin with?
It's just kind of a silly feature to add, and I don't really think it's particularly innovative. They put a reverse charger so it can output power as opposed to just input, but again, why? As a consumer, who goes out and says, "You know what? I need two phones. It would be really convenient if one phone would charge the other." It's just a weird proposition.
Eric: Yeah. The build quality on the phone is actually pretty good. We compared it favorably to Samsung phones, which is the Android market leader. I think one of the things that shows is a real dearth of ideas in the smartphone space. They're essentially black or white rectangles of varying sizes, and people are having a hard time differentiating them. We've seen curved phones, a lot of gimmicks that don't really have a lot of use.
It is interesting, too, that the battery on these 6-inch phones is so large it can charge other phones. You've got about a 4,000 mAh battery on that. An iPhone's about 1,400, so it shows the size and heft you have to have, as you get bigger screens.
But at the end of the day, it's a very competitive high-end market, so I think you're going to see a lot of companies, especially the non-leaders, trying to do these gimmicks to pick up share, but there's not a lot of share left to be had.
Evan: Huawei's doing very well in China. They're doing quite well in terms of their position in China, but in the U.S. market no one really knows them. They've also had some PR problems with the government not wanting Huawei to sell the telecom gear to it. ... I don't think they're going to make much traction on the smartphone consumer side.
Eric: Well, maybe after all the U.S. NSA stuff, we'll have our own tough time selling abroad. In any case, this is our look at Huawei. For all your CES news, check back to Fool.com. Fool on!