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.
Phan said the fact that the Ascend Mate is "accessible to everyone" is key for building the Huawei brand in Australia.
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.
The Huawei Ascend Mate is powered by Huawei's own 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory. The company says the 4050mAh, non-removable can last up to two days of "ordinary usage" on a single charge.
Other features of the Huawei Ascend Mate include a microSD card slot, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with HDR and a 1-megapixel HD front-facing camera for video calls.
The Australian model of the Ascend Mate will come with Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system but includes Huawei's Emotion UI overlay. The latter includes features such as sound and user profiles, a range of home screen widgets and a home screen that abolishes Android's traditional app drawer.
Phan said the Ascend Mate may be upgraded to the latest version of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean, but only if the upgrade immediately benefits the consumer.
The Huawei Ascend Mate will be available in crystal black through Harvey Norman stores from Saturday April 20 for $429. A Boost Mobile $40 prepaid starter kit will be included with all sales.
Are you interested in the Huawei Ascend Mate? Is the trend of smartphones with huge screens blurring the line between smartphone and tablet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!