Huawei has unveiled its Ascend Mate Android smartphone in Australia, with the 6.1in-screen device set to go on sale from Saturday 20 April.
The company officially lifted the lid on the Australian model of the Ascend Mate at a media launch event in Sydney today. The phone features a 6.1in display, making it larger than Samsung's popular, oversized Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note II devices.
The Australian variant of the Huawei Ascend Mate is almost identical to European and Asian models, but includes NFC connectivity and has 1GB of RAM rather than 2GB.
However, the Ascend Mate is not compatible with Australian 4G networks used by Telstra and Optus and will not be sold through traditional carriers Down Under.
Instead, the device will initially sell through Harvey Norman retail stores across the country before being available through other mass retailers at a later date.
Huawei's Australian sales manager for retail, Minh Phan, told PC World Australia that while the company is technically capable of producing a 4G-compatible device for the Australian market, the Ascend Mate is accessible to everyone.
"Australia is the most challenging network market in the world, especially when you look at the land mass and then you add LTE on top of that. You're in a situation where you want to try and support everybody."
"We looked at the capabilities of our business and we are absolutely capable of launching a 4G product. That's not to say we're not going to launch one soon, but at this point in time we wanted to bring this device out into the market."
Phan said the fact that the Ascend Mate is "accessible to everyone" is key for building the Huawei brand in Australia.
"We believe mass retail was the right choice as we are offering it to everybody. You can still put your Telstra SIM card, your Optus SIM card, your Vodafone SIM card into this device and you'll be able to access all those networks on a device that can support whatever the carrier requirements are based on 3G."
The Huawei Ascend Mate has an IPS+ LCD screen which is similar display technology to the one used by Apple on its iPhone 5.
The 6.1in screen doesn't have a full HD resolution, instead making use of the more common 1280x720 resolution found on most of last year's flagship devices.
Huawei says the Ascend Mate is "designed to fit comfortably in a single hand". The phone is 6.5mm thin at its narrowest part, but 9.9mm thick overall. It weighs almost 200g so it will immediately become one of the heaviest smartphones on the Australian market.
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