Windows Phone once again finds itself in a transitional state, as Nokia prepares to see its smartphone business swallowed up by Microsoft. That threatens to really change the Windows Phone landscape, cementing Nokia’s existing dominance and scaring off any lingering competition. Sure, Nokia’s had some of the best WP8 models out there, but competition is still generally seen as a good thing; that’s what we’re pleased today to see at least one non-Nokia WP8 model looking to tackle some new markets, as Huawei’s Ascend W2 sets its sights on Europe.
The Ascend W2’s story is a long one, and this device has been lingering in the shadows since late last year. We first expected it to launch around MWC time, but the phone remained dormant, only popping up in the stray press render every now and then. It finally did launch this summer, but as a China-exclusive, it didn’t get much attention. Now Huawei’s ready to follow that model up with a UMTS version of the Ascend W2, aiming to bring the phone to the Netherlands and Russia this month, followed by additional European nations.
Hopefully we’ll see this guy go for a pretty affordable price; certainly, with specs like a 4.3-inch WVGA display, no front-facer (5MP rear), 512MB of RAM, and 8GB storage, it’s not going to compete at the top of the WP8 pack. We’re given hope by its Chinese price, which works out to about $165 off-contract – now to just see if that carries over across borders.