Quietly but confidently, Huawei has amassed serious market share, growing an astonishingly fast 89 percent in 2012 to become the world's No. 3 smartphone maker, eclipsing the likes of Nokia and BlackBerry in Q4. The company has outgunned its competition on the low end of the market both in China and to a certain extent in the U.S. In fact, MetroPCS says about half of the phones it sold last year were made by Huawei. Now Huawei is courting premium smartphone shoppers with devices like the ginormous 6.1-inch Ascend Mate phablet and the Ascend P2, which Huawei calls the fastest smartphone in the world.
Huawei deserves some credit for is its software prowess. Its Emotion UI eliminates the app menu in favor of a more streamlined iOS-like approach. There's also a Me widget on the main home screen, which includes customizable tiles. The biggest issue for Huawei isn't the stigma related to a security and espionage probe--and related 60 Minutes report--but its sheer lack of brand recognition.
Outlook: Mostly bright, but Huawei needs to find a way to break through with the big carriers in the U.S.