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Understanding the New Era of Smartphones

An Interview with Yanmin Wang, President of Huawei

— April 12, 2019 — Business
Mr. Yanmin Wang is the current President of CEE, Nordic, and Canadian Region of Huawei Consumer Business Group. He oversees, manages, and directs the company's terminal products and has over a decade of experience conducting these tasks. Mr. Wang also directs and leads the current portfolio, product planning, and product management of Huawei's devices, overseeing all fields of the day-to-day business management.

Before his current role, Mr. Wang worked in a variety of departments within Huawei. This includes 'Director of CDMA Handsets Department,' 'Director of Product Management Department,' and 'Vice President of Handset Product Line.' This foundation, along with his education of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, gives him a strong understanding of the direction and supervision of Huawei's portfolio.

We chatted with Mr. Wang to learn more about Huawei's product development process, the importance of both hardware and software features, and the ongoing growth of the smartphone industry.

Can you explain Huawei’s product development process?

Actually, I worked for r&d for many years and this year marks my 20th year with Huawei. The first 15 years, I worked in the r&d department, so I know the whole process. About 20 years ago, we did an integrated development process with IBM to the whole Huawei company because we believed IBM could offer us a more predictable research development process compared to other companies. So, the whole product development process starts with the planning phase, then the research and development phase, followed by the testing and pre-manufacturing.

How would you describe your approach to UX/UI design?

Basically, the Android platform is more complicated than those of its competitors, the user interface might not be considered as friendly because it's more of an engineered style. A lot of functions are easy to access, but it also gives us the space to improve based on our consumer research we're able to collect once they use the smartphone. So based on the Android platform, we can develop a lot to improve a more friendly user interface. In the future, I can give you more examples of how this has been executed.

With the P30 Pro phone, how did the team determine what features to include? Was it due to customer demand?

Right now, we believe that it is a new era for smartphones, and it has been since the year 2007. It’s thanks to Apple, as it's introduced a totally new direction. Before that, it was Blackberry’s keypad that was so popular, and before that, it was Nokia. After Apple created the updated version of its user interface, the industry grew bigger and bigger. People are using smartphones instead of actual cameras or MP3 players. There are many things people can use smartphones for, which gives us huge potential to develop more user-friendly hardware.

What value do you believe photography-centric phones bring to consumers?

We believe that photography is very popular because users are likely to take pictures everywhere, at any time. So, how do we improve mobile photography? Quality is the most challenging for all the phone makers in the market. That is the number one feature we believe has the most benefit for any user.

Secondly, I think performance means a lot. It means that the processor needs to have a fast response, it also means a high speed of connectivity based on wireless technology. How fast you can connect to a network is very important.

The third most important feature is battery life – a lot of consumers who use the products of our competitors suffer from short battery life. Many have to carry power banks around with them.

So, performance means the capability of processors, the connectivity of technology, and battery life. Of course, people consider smartphones to be more personal devices, so the design is extremely important to them. We are always working to deliver the best design possible.

What advances is Huawei taking within the technological ecosystem?

As we know, the Apple ecosystem is quite strong, and that is one of its advantages. That said, I think people need more variety in choice. Right now, Huawei is developing an ecosystem based on PC laptops and smartphones. We call it the OneHop – with one touch, users can transfer files from smartphones to laptops, or vice versa. When we introduce this product to the Canadian market, new software platforms will support this function as well.

What helps to set Huawei apart from its competitors?

Huawei as a company is always product-oriented, we are always heavily invested in research and development. Even for very essential parts, like the chipset. We are one of the very few companies that can develop chipsets by ourselves.

Secondly, we have a large number of engineers, and with so much experience and talent on our team, we're leaders in the research space and are able to advance our products at a faster rate. For example, for photograph technology, we have hundreds of engineers that work on improving this element alone.

Thirdly are partnerships, we partner with Google, with Leica, and many other companies and third parties. We're always collaborating to improve our products and key features to stay on top.