One of the many intricacies of China and the Chinese manufacturing industry is its ability to copy. Countless reports (and lawsuits) revolve around trademark infringement of the biggest consumer product companies in the West being copied in the East. This not only includes product design, but copying the status and even logos as well as brand name deviations. Leveraging the famous brand recognition from the US and Europe, despite corporate protests, is seen as a way to confuse the public into what brand they are buying, especially if the Latin alphabet is not your first. 

Part of this was borne from the lack of large Chinese companies producing high-quality consumer goods that are well known in the rest of the world. I won't delve too much into the history of China, but over time there are now several big names succeeding in the western markets in this decade, and getting significant headlines in the press. Huawei now stands as the third biggest smartphone manufacturer worldwide, behind Samsung and Apple, selling 153m units in 2017. Charting Huawei's growth trajectory of its consumer business group has shown a tremendous ability to forge significant partnerships with recognised brands such as Leica and Pantone, and focus on creating premium products. As a result, Huawei stands toe-to-toe with Samsung in most European markets.

So I guess it was natural that at some point a company would attempt to carbon copy and piggyback on Huawei's success. Enter Huawo. 

To be clear, 'Hua' is often interpreted in Chinese as 'China', so it is found in a lot of business names. If we take the name off the table, then the visual they were showing at their booth at Mobile World Congress should be a dead giveaway. 

If we put this side by side with the Mate 10 Pro, you might see some similarities. It's all in that signature stripe.

Mate 10 Pro (Huawei) vs Huawo

The funny thing? Despite having that product as the forefront of the booth, they didn't actually have one to look at. The image, I was told, was a render and it was still to be manufactured. They did have an equivalent device with a single rear camera, that was as unimpressive as these copies can get. Whenever an unknown vendor is promoting their big product as something not available for a hands-on, it throws up red flags.

For the hardware, the 'Huawo 6081' uses a Mediatek MT6750T SoC, which is an octacore A53 design at 1.5 GHz with Mali T860MP2 graphics. This is a world away from the Kirin 970. The 6-inch 2160x1080 display is perhaps a higher resolution than I expected, and the 3200 mAh battery is as sizeable as a flagship usually is. We were not told what price point this was aiming at, but items like this are usually built down to a price to maximise the return.

Buying a knock-off like this may make you look the part, as some companies at MWC stated with their new smartphones with notches, but the multi-generational additions that companies like Samsung and Huawei provide are lost when getting one of these faked replicas. This includes better camera software, OS optimizations, security, and hopefully the attention to detail that a mass-produced premium product gets. All are all lost with a Huawo, or a Samsnug, or an iPhoney. At best you get stock OS, if you are lucky, perhaps a recent version, and at worst it could be a misconfigured pile used for nefarious purposes. 

So it's time to rock up on your Hongda motorcycle, wearing a pair of Oakeys, the latest Tucci jacket, carrying a venti Sunbucks, all while speaking on your Huawo. 

Just to clarify, Huawo has no relationship with Huawei.

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  • peterson1 - Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - link

    oh no. chinese products? there are hacking devices or firmware built in the kernel
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - link

    It is more likely than it is not likely.
  • Sttm - Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - link

    If the Chinese Government tells them to put in a backdoor, they put in a backdoor. This is not like in the west where the US can tell Microsoft to give them data, and they can be like "No, see you in court."

    Chinese companies are allowed to exist at the whim of the Chinese government. Their embrace of Capitalism only goes as far as their Communist Party has control.
  • andychow - Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - link

    Hahaha. In the US, the government can tell Microsoft to give them data, and issue a gag order that the company never reveal that the data was given to the government. It's been a US law since 1986 (Electronic Communications Privacy Act).

    Microsoft is just suing (if you're referring to the Microsoft vs ECPA lawsuit) to be able to tell their customers a few years later that they've given the data to the government, but they give the data to the government every time it's asked, and that's not being challenged.
  • Sttm - Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - link

    Microsoft is currently before the Supreme Court arguing to be able to keep their customer data from the Government. They moved the data off shore to protect it, and the Government came for it anyway, and they went to court, and the Government lost and had to appeal to the Supreme Court.

    What happens in China if they ask? They give it or their leaders end up in Jail or worse.
  • Ananke - Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - link

    From my personal life experience, corporate "managers" in communist country are usually appointed, unofficially of course, by the Party. The "initial capital" to start a business is also given to them by the party. It is expected, naturally, that the outcomes of that business initiatives, are to be delivered to the Party - being profits, market share, strategic technology, military information, etc. The so called "managers" or "owners" can pretty much enjoy spending some significant amount for their lifestyles, and mostly to funnel /i.e. steal/ money from this business initiatives to finance their children education, obtaining citizenship, and purchasing multi-million dollar properties in US or Europe - that's pretty much the only way to extract some of the Party's money for themselves. And, they very likely will end up shot for graft on some stadium, but if lucky - their children will be US millionaires...
    This is how the Communism works guys, been through that.
  • Strunf - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - link

    That's not Communism that's "Chinese Communism"... let's be honest Communism as idealized never existed, for it to exist everyone would need to understand we are all equal, think of a extremely advanced civilization where all needs are met without any effort, we'll never reach this point as such it will never be possible to have Communism.
  • Hurr Durr - Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - link

    You're one gullible goy.
  • Samus - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - link

    Literally the only data Microsoft turns over to the government is that collected from their PhotoDNA project. If you have a OneDrive or Azure account with photos in it, they have all been analyzed by PhotoDNA AI and if suspicious photos are found, those photos are reviewed anonymously by a technician and if they are thought to be illegal in nature, they are investigated not so anonymously (think TSA body scans.)

    That's about the extend of what you need to worry about when sharing information on Microsoft servers.

    Google is an entirely different story since their business model is dependent on taking your privacy apart and making money on your data anyway they can.
  • frenchy_2001 - Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - link

    All companies have to respect the law of the land, whether it is in the US or in China.
    He was refering to this case:
    The dept. of Justice asked Microsoft to give them access to emails located in Ireland. Microsoft refused (as Ireland is *not* under the US DoJ jurisdiction and doing so would place them at odds with the European Laws). The case has now reached the Supreme Court and is being argued.

    In the US, some requests are legal and can be covered by a temporary gag order. As stated, if you want to do business in a country, you need to respect its laws...
    Although there has been a lot of noise about possible backdoors in Chinese made smartphones, it is unproven so far...

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