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It looks like Huawei is about to open a new front in its ongoing battle with Samsung for consumer electronics supremacy. The Chinese brand is rumored to be working on a TV with an 8K display and built-in 5G connectivity -- the first such TV in the world, and one that eliminates the need for a cable box or home Internet connection.
The TV would reportedly be introduced as soon as this year, according to a piece today from Nikkei.
More than one thing is going on with Huawei's ambition here. The idea would be to continue building out its line of consumer products Samsung-style, with the later responsible for an ecosystem that includes everything from smartphones to home appliances. Speaking of Samsung, this also helps Huawei continue chipping away at the South Korea-based electronics giant, which Huawei has made no secret about wanting to displace as the top smartphone maker in the world.
Indeed, word of Huawei prepping a high-end TV comes as the company's smartphone business remains on an upswing -- remarkably, in spite of aggressive pushback it's garnered from Western companies, led by the US. IDC and Strategy Analytics released their latest smartphone shipment numbers today, and they show Huawei continuing to gain ground while Samsung's and Apple's phone shipment numbers slip.
Incidentally, Nikkei's report today offers the additional reminder that Samsung, in addition to its status as the leading shipper globally of smartphones, is also the biggest TV manufacturer in the world. And it just started shipping an 8K TV of its own -- minus the 5G capability that Huawei is eyeing -- that starts at $4,999.
Along these same lines, research company IHS Markit is predicting that the number of 8K TV shipments will grow from 430,000 this year to 2 million in 2020. The caveat here, though, is that as much as Huawei has its work cut out for it in terms of continuing to grow its smartphone business, the TV market is an even tougher nut to crack.
The boxes are famously low-margin products, and for the average consumer the upgrade cycle for a TV is much longer than it is for a smartphone. Additionally, it's still early days for both the 8K and 5G technologies Huawei is looking to include in its TV, though this is certainly one more indication that Huawei's competitive ambitions continue to get stronger and stronger. And that Samsung remains firmly in its crosshairs.