Why the AT&T fallout shouldn’t hurt Huawei’s big 2018

Huawei made a big splash at CES 2018 by announcing that the Huawei Mate 10 Pro would being coming to the US. But, of course, Huawei’s other major spot in the news wasn’t so positive.

In case you missed it, AT&T dropped its plans to launch the Huawei Mate 10 Pro at the last possible minute, right before CES kicked off. And while neither Huawei nor AT&T are talking about what exactly happened, it's undoubtedly a major blow to the phone maker, which brought a lot of energy and excitement to the show. But it doesn't have to mean defeat. In fact, I think there’s good news to come for Huawei in all of this.

First off, Huawei’s latest flagship is still coming to the US, albeit through several other popular retail channels, namely Amazon, Best Buy, Microsoft Store, Newegg, and B&H, with an excellent $150 gift card for consumers to snag during the pre-order period that begins on February 4. 

That’s a pretty extensive list of retailers, and from a consumer’s perspective, the more options, the better – especially once the holiday deals come rolling in. Plus, that’s more than enough availability for word of mouth to spread, which should happen rather quickly given how well-rounded the Mate 10 Pro is. Android Oreo, an 18:9 display and dual f/1.6 aperture lenses make for a truly potent combo.

Compare this roll-out plan to, say, OnePlus’ invite-only business model for its first few phones, and it’s possible that Huawei’s reach for the Mate 10 Pro could eventually be far wider than even a partnership with AT&T could provide.

A manufacturer with more to prove

Every hardware maker has something to prove, but if this week’s happenings are any indication, Huawei has more to prove than most.

As Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer division, explained during a CES 2018 keynote address, the company is no stranger to the challenges of making flagship hardware with stellar design, complete with end-to-end security that meets all regulations. In those ways, it’s no different than the Samsungs or Apples of the world.

This change in plans, although certainly a disappointing development for Huawei, made me more curious than ever to see where the company goes from here.

Maybe this will push the company to be among the first to implement under-the-screen fingerprint readers, or, as rumors indicate, maybe its next phone will actually pack an unprecedented three rear-facing cameras.

Needless to say, the next year for Huawei will be huge, as it has even more to prove than it probably expected. Getting picked up by a major carrier in that time frame would undoubtedly be a good thing. But until that happens, it has the upper-hand in striving to beat expectations to a pulp until US carriers feel stupid for sleeping on them for so long.

So, what’s your next move, Huawei?

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.