Apple and its iPhone X may have a new competitor in the US early next year, one it didn't expect in its home territory: the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
It's officially coming to America and, surprise, it'll be sold via carriers, according to Huawei President Richard Yu in an AP story just ahead of CES 2018.
There was no Huawei Mate 10 Pro US release date or price announced, so we'll have to wait until January's Las Vegas convention for those official details.
The Mate 10 Pro is on sale in the UK and Australia, and retails for €799 / £699 / AU$1,099. The 'International Version' has appeared on Amazon US for $879.
Why this is a really big deal for you (and Apple)
The US launch of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a big deal for two reasons. First, carriers are how people buy smartphones in the US. Carriers break down the price of a phone into monthly payments and the contracts are often purposely confusing. This lures people to physically go to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile stores. "While you're here, how about a case for your new phone?"
In fact, AT&T and Verizon are rumored to be among the first carriers that will support the Mate 10 Pro. They're the two biggest networks in the country.
Huawei is finally able to play in the carrier game that Apple, Samsung, and LG have long enjoyed. The Chinese company kind-of-sort-of launched its Huawei Mate 9 in the US last year – at full price. Full price intimidates US consumers and requires buying phones online (this just isn't done among mainstream users). Being in the carrier stores, however, changes everything.
Second, Huawei is already the No. 3 smartphone brand in the world, behind Apple (No. 2) and Samsung (No. 1). It's a very close third, according to Yu, and entering into Apple's home territory could lead to an upset. Huawei's phones are cheaper and will suddenly be in the same store where iPhones are sold.
2018 could bring good fortune to Huawei. Its years of battling Congress (along with ZTE) has limited its ability to fully enter the US market. It's why American phone buyers have only had access to the company's Honor subbrand, like the new Honor 7X, and dirt cheap Huawei feature phones in stores.
The choice between paying full price – upfront – for a Huawei flagship phone or buying what's barely a smartphone that Huawei previously sold through carrier stores looks as if it'll come to an end next year. That's good news for consumers, and a new threat to Apple and Samsung's US and worldwide market share.
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