Huawei Ascend W1 spreads to more markets

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Huawei's first Windows Phone device, the Ascend W1, was announced at the beginning of the year, but with availability in only a handful of markets (Russia, China). However the device, which is one of the cheapest Windows Phone 8 devices available, is gradually being made available in more countries at a price point of around €200 (£171) SIM-free. The device is already is sale in Germany, and is expected to arrive in Italy, Spain, France and Belgium in March or April.

The handset is also being ranged by a number of operators. The latest addition to this list is O2 UK, who recently added the device to their "coming soon" page. The Huawei Ascend W1 is a good device for those operators wishing to broaden their Windows Phone portfolio, especially at the lower end.

And, as we noted last week, Microsoft is also partnering with Huawei to launch the device in a number of African countries:

A customised version of Huawei's first Windows Phone 8 handset, the Ascend W1, will be the point man for Microsoft's latest push into Africa. The handset will carry the 4Afrika branding as part of the Redmond based company's drive to increase connectivity and services in the continent.

Huawei 4Afrika handset

On their own none of the availability announcements would be particularly significant, but the Huawei W1 does seems to be picking up a surprising amount of momentum, lending credence to the idea that cheaper mid-tier Windows Phone devices will be critical to the growth of the platform in 2013. Mobile World Congress is likely to see the announcement of a number of devices in this category, most likely from from other Chinese manufacturers such as Lenovo, TCL, and ZTE.

One important point those considering picking up the Huawei Ascend W1 should consider is whether the 4GB of internal storage is sufficient. As we noted on the last AAWP podcast, and in our HTC 8S review, the internal memory limitations, even allowing for the microSD card slot, can be rather limiting. As such, we would not be surprised to see some 8GB variants on the Huawei W1 go on sale, making for the a better comparison with the Nokia Lumia 620, which currently holds the AAWP crown for best low cost Windows Phone device.