The Huawei Ascend W1 has been available overseas for a few months now, but today Huawei announced its plans to bring the handset to America. It’ll drop the ‘Ascend’ tag, but the rest of the company’s first Windows Phone device looks like it’ll stay the same when it launches exclusively at Walmart stores later this month.
That is to say, the W1 will be an entry-level machine. The Windows Phone 8 handset comes with a 4-inch IPS LCD display, a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 1.7 GB of usable storage that is expandable up to 32 GB through a microSD card. It’ll be powered by a 1950 mAh battery, feature Bluetooth 2.1 and sport 5- and 0.3-megapixel cameras too.
There’s still no word on exactly how much the W1 will cost, beyond Huawei’s promise that it’ll be no-contract and “competitively priced.” But given its lesser specs, the fact that it’s selling at Walmart and Huawei’s tendency to release budget handsets in the U.S., one can still assume that the W1 won’t break the bank whenever it arrives. There’s no mention of carrier availability yet either, which is something the U.S. government will likely be happy to hear for the time being.
Huawei tells TechnologyGuide it thinks the W1’s low price will give it appeal to all consumers, but specifically noted that the phone is targeted towards “young women and young moms.” That sounded oddly specific at first blush, but a company spokesperson pointed to Windows Phone 8 features like the child-monitoring “Kid’s Corner” and the content-sharing “People Hub” after TG asked for further clarification.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is positing the W1 as a way for users of cheaper Android phones to switch over to its mobile OS without paying any extra premium. Windows Phone remains mired well below Android and iOS in terms of market share, so it’s hoping that adding another affordable option will sway more budget users its way.