Huawei announced the P10 and P10 Plus in Barcelona at MWC 2017 just a couple of days ago. Like many of its other phones, Huawei is largely focusing on the European market for these two devices. But, in a surprising move, Huawei is also bringing the two devices to Canada — but not the US.
Consumers in Canada in the coming weeks will be able to find the Huawei P10 on Rogers, Bell, Fido and Videotron. The larger P10 Plus, on the other hand, will be an exclusive to Rogers. Pricing and availability for these phones haven’t been revealed yet, but we’ll know more in the coming weeks.
A big reason for focusing on Canada right now is because of brand recognition. In MobileSyrup’s interview with Scott Bradley — Huawei’s VP of corporate affairs — it was revealed that the Chinese company has been trying to break into Canada’s premium/high-end phone market for a few years now. The Nexus 6P performed extremely well in Canada — in fact, it was the third best country in terms of sales performance. That said, this helped Huawei’s brand recognition quite a bit, which obviously makes the country a better candidate to launch Huawei’s phones in.
As for the lack of availability in the US, there’s a myriad of reasons. A big hurdle for bringing many of Huawei’s phones into the US — and Canada — was the Enhanced 911 Certification. This certification is required by both Canada’s regulators and the FCC in the US, basically allowing 911 operators to pinpoint a device’s location. Huawei wasn’t able to achieve this certification until mid-2016 with the Honor 8. With getting that so late on top of disappointing Honor 8 sales, a delay for premium Huawei handsets in the US may have been the company’s best decision for now.
Brand recognition in the US still isn’t that great. Many will buy through Unlocked channels, but carrier support is what’s really needed, and that’s something Huawei has none of right now. Not only that, but we’ve never really seen a high-end Huawei device in the US yet. The Mate 9 is pretty much the first of that, which hasn’t been out for long.
Another hurdle — there is a lot of competition in the US. Apple, Samsung, LG and so many other manufacturers are fiercely fighting to be #1. With little carrier support, that’s just not a place Huawei can compete in right now.
But, hopefully that changes and we start to see what Huawei can really start doing in the next year or so for the US market.