Huawei Should Respond To US Sanctions by Focusing on the P30 Pro
Huawei has been affected by the US sanctions. Any new phone they release can’t have Google apps or the Play Store. US companies can’t list their app on Huawei’s app store, either.
How should Huawei respond? By focusing on the P30 Pro, the last flagship phone they released that’s not crippled by the US.
Huawei is allowed to update existing devices, and sell new units of existing models. So, Huawei should focus on the P30 Pro, outside China. Huawei’s goal should be for everyone in the world who doesn’t use a Huawei phone, or uses a Huawei phone older than the P30 Pro, to upgrade to the P30 Pro.
Being unable to ship new phones shouldn’t have to cripple Huawei outside China. Hurt it, yes, cripple it, no. Smartphones have stagnated, and there’s no need for a flagship phone every six months, as Huawei brings out. Or even every year, as Apple does. People don’t upgrade that often. And as companies increase prices to boost revenue, people are upgrading even less often. This is a vicious cycle.
Instead, Huawei should keep the price of the P30 Pro competitive. It should always be the best phone for its price. If you have unlimited money, and are willing to spend 80% more than the cost of the P30 Pro, you may be able to get a phone like the iPhone Pro Max that’s only slightly better — at best. But most people don’t have an unlimited budget. The world runs on bang for the buck.
What can Huawei do to boost the P30 Pro?
First, provide a 3-year warranty, rather than the 1–2 years that other OEMs provide. A long warranty removes risk, and signals that the OEM is confident enough that they’re willing to put their money behind it. Empty words don’t matter; people no longer trust companies. Even if I don’t use the 3-year warranty, it makes me feel comfortable about buying it, and that will get Huawei some buyers who wouldn’t otherwise have bought it.
Second, another problem with Android is that phones aren’t updated for long. By contrast, iPhones are updated for many years. For example, the 4-year-old iPhone SE runs the latest iOS 13. Huawei should guarantee OS updates for 5 years from the date the P30 Pro went on sale, to beat Apple’s 4. And not empty words, but a promise to pay back users a prorated amount if the phone stops being updated before 5 years. For example, if the phone stops being updated in only 3 years, 2 years’ worth of money (40%) should be refunded to them .
Third, in addition to the availability of updates, the speed of updates is another issue. Again, Huawei should focus on bringing Android updates out to the P30 Pro as far as Apple, Google or any other OEM. If they can do it, so can Huawei.
Fourth, Huawei should keep updating the P30 via software. Huawei product managers and engineers should read all reviews of the P30 Pro, and whatever problems can be fixed by software without knock-on effects, should be fixed. For example, photos shot by the camera have an odd look (too much contrast) because of bad processing. This can be fixed by software. Huawei should think about how to evolve the phone via software rather than hardware improvements. All Huawei employees should get a P30 Pro. There should be a forum where they can post and vote on issues, and all issues that affect 1% or more of users should be fixed. For that matter, the forum can be opened up to all users. Instead of the traditional OEM model where software is viewed as an add-on to a phone, look at it as a software project, like Google looks at Chrome.
Fifth, the price of the P30 Pro should constantly be adjusted downward to remain competitive. People should always consider it be the best phone for the price, today, a year from now, and two years from now. This varies from country to country, depending on what other phones are available. As Huawei keeps adjusting the price of the P30 Pro downward from the ₹56K it’s currently priced at, it will eventually become a midrange phone, and then a budget phone. And as more and more people will be able to afford it, sales will increase over the years, not decrease .
Sixth, marketing should continue to promote the P30 Pro heavily.
Seventh, Huawei should invest in making and sellign top-notch accessories for the P30 Pro, accessories that are so good they’re excellent products in their own right:
- Make noise-canceling headphones that plug into the USB-C port, and so don’t require charging. These should be the most comfortable, so you don’t notice that you’re wearing them. They should have the best noise-canceling. Aim for a price of $100. Getting rid of Bluetooth lets us spend the price budget on better audio quality. And eliminates the problems of having yet another device to charge, Bluetooth pairing issues, multi-device use cases, etc.
- Provide cloud storage, like OneDrive.
- Make a longer USB-C charge cable, like 2 meters, which Apple provides, and is much more convenient.
- Make a charger with three USB-C ports, one of which charges the P30 Pro at full speed.
- Make a power bank that charges the phone at full speed, and provides one full charge.
These can all be paid. Huawei can discontinue the okay accessories that come with the P30 Pro, and reduce the price of the phone correspondingly. It’s better to have great accessories that need to be paid for than medium-quality ones that come free.
In conclusion, there’s a lot the Huawei can do to be more successful as a smartphone OEM, despite the US sanctions.
 Perhaps in the form of a credit against the purchase of any Huawei product or service. And without customer-hostile restrictions like needing to buy a $200 device to avail of a $100 credit.
 This is a better strategy than the one Huawei, and most OEMs, use today, which is releasing new midrange phones. Having more models fragments potential customers’ attention, so none of the devices gets mindshare. Or marketshare, which is the consequence of mindshare. When OEMs spam customers with tons of undifferentiated models, they stop bothering, which is bad for Huawei. The process of choosing which Huawei phone to buy also becomes too complex, and some will buy from another OEM.