Given that Mobile World Congress was being cancelled this year, the Chinese tech giant Huawei launched its new foldable smartphone Mate Xs and updates to some of its important products at a virtual press conference on Tuesday. Earlier today Sony presented its new smartphone flagship Xperia 1 II. Here you find the comments of Forrester VP & Principal Analyst Thomas Husson on Huawei and Sony.

2020 will be a pivotal year for Huawei. The lack of Google Mobile Services – and more specifically of the Google Play Store and Google Maps, YouTube or Gmail – will become an issue for many European consumers to buy a Huawei smartphone. Huawei Mobile Services and AppGallery to be launched on new Honor devices and on forthcoming P40 Huawei smartphones will struggle to become a serious alternative in 2020. It requires several years to truly build an app ecosystem with brands, developers and publishers. The launch of the new Mate Xs will remain a niche innovation since foldable smart devices are still very expensive and do not really offer new differentiated consumer experiences.

Regarding equipment networks, several telecom operators confirmed Huawei’s technology leadership and are worried about the delay and cost of being forced to select an alternative. This is especially true in Europe where 5G is still fragmented and immature. Beyond the security issues, few are yet pushing for the only true alternative for US and European players, a merger between Nokia and Ericsson.

Despite a tough year ahead, tech players should not dismiss Huawei’s potential to innovate and accelerate, the way they dismissed its ambition to become a smartphone leader several years ago. Chinese culture looks at the long term and Huawei has still growth opportunities in Asia and many developing economies, especially in Africa.”

Forrester VP & Principal Analyst Thomas Husson on Sonys Xperia 1 II
“Despite declining sales, fierce competition, lower profile retail and brand presence, Sony prides itself in continuing in innovating with smartphones. Their new flagship just added 5G and new photography capabilities, among which a new partnership with Zeiss optics. This won’t change the game since it is too early for 5G to bring any meaningful benefits to consumers. It almost feels like Sony has no choice to continue to have a presence in smartphones to showcase its entertainment capabilities and its leadership in image sensors, without really believing it could ever come back to the old days where the company had a relatively decent market share.. Sony’s smartphone history feels like a missed opportunity.”