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Huawei reiterates the importance of India’s emerging market for the company

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Huawei and India have had a strong business relationship for quite a while now, and the Chinese tech giant has reaffirmed that by indicating India is a promising market that’s very important for Huawei.

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Huawei launches Honor 8 in India, along with Honor 8 Smart

October 12, 2016

Back in September, Huawei officially unveiled its plans to manufacture smartphones in India, confirming once again its commitment to the “Make in India” initiative. Indeed, the Chinese electronics company has maintained strong presence in the country partially due to its partnerships with local carriers and its proactive engagement in local economic activities.

Now, Ken Hu, one of the company’s three rotating CEOs, has reaffirmed that India would remain a valuable market for the company for the foreseeable future:

India is a promising market from the mobile broadband point of view… India has large population and there’s a large network of young generation from a demographic point of view, therefore we need to provide support from our terminal business.

Hu’s comment shouldn’t come as a surprise, for Huawei isn’t the only one who sees the value in the fast-growing smartphone market in India. LeEco, another Chinese tech startup which recently made its debut in the US, has an ambitious plan to be among the top three players in India by the end of this year. And it is no secret that big corporations like Samsung and Apple are vying to stay relevant in the market there.

After all, with a population of over 1.2 billion people, India is set to become the world’s second largest smartphone market in the future. While currently, the percentage of smartphone ownership in India is relatively low – when compared to the sheer population size – electronics makers are aware that this is where the next big growth is most likely to happen.

Huawei has already invested a significant sum in its Bengaluru-based R&D campus, and plans to expand that further early next year. With its brand image sufficiently established, the next two important strategic steps for the company would be to develop the necessary digital ecosystem and to attract the younger generations with affordable devices.

With its brand image sufficiently established, the next two important strategic steps for the company would be to develop the necessary digital ecosystem and to attract the younger generations with affordable devices.

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Update, November 22: The second and final Android 7.1 developer preview has now rolled out for supported Nexus devices, which this time includes the Nexus 9. Meanwhile, multiple Nougat betas have been announced while some lucky device owners have already received the official Nougat update.

Google gave itself a couple of months head start on getting Nougat ready by releasing the first beta release on March 9. But it also gave app developers and manufacturers an even earlier look at what to expect from Android 7.0 Nougat and additional time to get the update ball rolling.

When Android 7.0 landed in its final form on August 22, it was actually slightly ahead of schedule. But that now leaves us with the question: when will Nougat hit our devices? The answer to this varies wildly depending on the OEM in question, so head to your OEM section below for our estimated arrival date.

Latest Android Nougat news

On November 22, the second and final Android 7.1 Nougat developer preview rolled out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C and Nexus 9. There was nothing really new in the builds other than “near-final system behaviors and UI”. The public release of Android 7.1 Nougat is due in early December.

As always, you can find factory images and over-the-air (OTA) images on the Android Developers blog:

If you’ve never flashed a factory image, you can follow our guide here.

See also:

Android Nougat: all the features you need to know

October 21, 2016

On November 20, the Sprint LG G5 became the first major flagship to receive the official update to Android 7.0 Nougat.

On October 19, the first developer preview of Android 7.1 Nougat went out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Pixel C, after being teased on the Android Developer’s blog in early October.

Android 7.0 Nougat formally arrived on August 22nd. The first official version of Nougat didn’t bring anything notably different from the final Android 7.0 developer preview, although a ton of bugs were squashed in order to bring the most stable experience possible.

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Nexus Nougat update situation

While the new Google Pixel phones ran Android 7.1 out of the box – along with several Pixel-only features – Android 7.1 will be coming to supported devices in its final version in “early December”.

The phones getting the Android 7.1 update at that time include the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and supported Android One devices. Developer preview builds of Android 7.1 began rolling out on October 19 with the final preview arriving on November 22.

As always, the beta program is the easiest method for getting the latest and greatest Android version as quickly as possible via OTA, but you can also flash the factory images if you’re not in the beta program (see links above).

On August 22nd, Android 7.0 OTAs began for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One). The Nexus 5 did not join in on the fun, though that’s of little surprise considering Google’s usual device update support patterns. The factory images can be found here.

Android 7.0 update: when will I get it?

Samsung Android 7.0 update

Even though Samsung isn’t exactly speedy when it comes to rolling out Android updates, there’s at least some good news where the Samsung Android 7.0 update is concerned.

The first Galaxy beta Nougat firmware arrived for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge on November 9 for U.S., UK and South Korean participants, with a second build coming soon. When the final release will arrive we can’t yet say but Samsung has said the program will run until mid-December.

For reference, there was a five-month timeframe between the Android 6.0 launch on September 29, 2015 and the first U.S. update to Marshmallow with the Verizon Galaxy Note 5 on March 3, 2016. Using that as a benchmark, Galaxy owners could easily be waiting until some time in January 2017 for the first Samsung Android 7.0 update.

Following the Note 7 recall, however, Samsung might try to get Nougat out for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge before the end of the year with the Note 5, Galaxy Tab S2, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+ after them. The Note 5 and Tab S2 update is currently underway and an S6 running Nougat appeared on GFXBench recently.

The Galaxy S8 will arrive in early 2017 running at least Android 7.0 and maybe even Android 7.1 out of the box.

Best case scenario: 5 months after Android 7.0 launch (January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

LG Android 7.0 update

With Android Nougat, LG took just 78 days to update its first device to Android 7.0 (the South Korean LG G5 on November 8) – the fastest of all OEMs. In the U.S., the Sprint LG G5 got Nougat on November 20, making the LG G5 the first major U.S. flagship to receive the official Android Nougat update as well.

LG was pretty good with its update speed for Marshmallow too, with less than two months separating the release of Android 6.0 and the first LG handset to receive it (the Sprint LG G4 on December 21, 2015).

In fact, LG was the first OEM to get a carrier-based Marshmallow update out after Google. The LG V10 eventually got the update internationally in early March 2016, after the LG G3 and LG G Stylo already had Marshmallow in the U.S..

Of course, the LG V20 had the honor of being the first phone to arrive with Android 7.0 out of the box, beating even the Nexus range to the punch (much to the irritation of Nexus owners everywhere).

Best case scenario: 2 months after Android 7.0 release (November 2016) – CONFIRMED

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Sony Android 7.0 update

This year, certain Sony Xperia owners were treated to an Android N preview build just as they were last year with Android M. Sony’s Nougat Concept rolled out on November 1 for the Xperia X Performance. Then, on November 21, the Xperia X assumed the top spot for future Sony Concept builds, and received the latest beta from Sony on that date.

However, for those of you not interested in installing a non-final developer version, the official Sony Android 7.0 update has already been confirmed for the Xperia X, XA, XA Ultra, X Performance, XZ, X Compact, Z5, Z5 Compact, Z5 Premium, Z3+ and Z4 Tablet.

The exact date for the first Sony Nougat update is less certain though. If we look at Sony’s efforts with Marshmallow last year, our predictions aren’t very optimistic.

Based on the Xperia Z5 series, Z4 Tablet and Xperia Z3+ all getting the Marshmallow update five months after Google first pushed it out, we wouldn’t expect any Xperias to see Nougat until mid-January 2017. Sony has undergone some pretty serious changes internally in the last year though, so let’s just hope Sony is aiming to up its game with the Nougat rollout.

Best case scenario: 5 months after Android 7.0 release (January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Motorola Android 7.0 update

For a little while it looked like Motorola had toppled LG as the first OEM to get a new Android version out, but reports of an October 21 release for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus in India turned out not to be the case.

Moto owners had to wait almost another whole month to see the first official Nougat update, with the Verizon Moto Z and Moto Z Force getting the update on November 18. Motorola ultimately took 88 days to get Nougat out for its first devices.

Looking at Moto’s past efforts, the Moto X Style got Marshmallow first, on November 12, 2015 and the Moto X Pure Edition got the first U.S. Moto update to Marshmallow on December 7, 2015. Marshmallow arrived from Google on October 5, 2015, but most Moto devices had to wait at least two months to get Marshmallow.

Lenovo has confirmed a list of devices confirmed to get Android Nougat and we know the new near-stock Moto devices will receive both the Android N and Android O releases.

Best case scenario: 2 months after Android 7.0 arrives (October 2016) – DELAYED

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

HTC Android 7.0 update

HTC developer @LlabTooFeR has claimed the HTC Nougat update is scheduled for late-November for the HTC 10. The developer later posted screenshots of Nougat on the HTC 10, claiming it was stable and almost ready.

As you may recall, HTC did pretty well with its first update to Marshmallow. The unlocked Developer Edition HTC One M9 and all variants of the HTC One A9 got the Marshmallow update in December 2015. The HTC 10 arrived in April running Android Marshmallow out of the box and will be the first HTC device to receive Nougat.

HTC’s next flagship, presumably the HTC 11, should arrive with Android 7.0 at launch (if not Android 7.1). HTC has already confirmed several devices (10, M9, A9) to be on the update train and T-Mobile has the HTC 10 and HTC One M9 on its own update list.

Best case scenario: 3 months after Android 7.0 unveiling (November 2016)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Huawei Android 7.0 update

The Huawei Mate 9 arrived recently running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Huawei pulled the same “latest version” rabbit out of its hat with the Mate 8 in November 2015, which ran Marshmallow out of the box just weeks after Google released it.

Meanwhile, a beta preview of Nougat for the Huawei P9 appeared as far back as July, a whole month before Google officially released it for Nexus devices. Update news for the P9 has been suspiciously quiet ever since though, even if the P9 series along with the Nova and Nova Plus are likely to be the first Huawei phones to get updated (as opposed to arriving with Nougat).

As far as honor devices are concerned, last year, the honor 7 Enhanced Edition arrived on December 14, 2015 with Android Marshmallow on board and the honor 5X and honor 7 followed with the Marshmallow update at the end of February. The honor 8 has a Nougat beta available, but we’ve no information on when the official update will arrive.

Best case scenario: Mate 9 running Android 7.0 at launch (November 2016), honor updates in January 2017

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

OnePlus Android 7.0 update

OnePlus has promised to have a Nougat “community build” for the OnePlus 3 out by the end of November. Both the OnePlus 3 and newer OnePlus 3T are due for the official OnePlus Nougat update in December. Furthermore, OnePlus has confirmed that the OnePlus 3 will get every Android update the OnePlus 3T gets, effectively adding an extra six months to its support shelf life.

OnePlus isn’t exactly renowned for its software updates, seriously dropping the ball on the OnePlus 2 and taking forever to deliver Marshmallow to the OnePlus X. With those updates coming June 5 and September 28 respectively, that equates to a full 245 days and 360 days after Google first made Marshmallow available on October 5, 2015.

Nevertheless, OnePlus has promised to get its update game in shape and has combined its software teams to streamline Android updates from here on out. Even if the Nougat update arrives on the last day of 2016, OnePlus will have shaved more than 100 days off its Marshmallow effort.

Best case scenario: 4 months after Google (December 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Xiaomi Android 7.0 update

Xiaomi had a pretty bad case of the hiccups when it came to the Marshmallow update, so it may not be entirely representative to base assumptions about the Xiaomi Android 7.0 update based on its most recent update performance.

As you may remember, despite announcing Marshmallow was in the final stages of testing back in December 2015, it wasn’t until early April that the Mi 4, Mi 3 and Mi Note finally got Android 6.0.

Perhaps learning from this mistake, Xiaomi hasn’t made any Nougat promises this time around, but began looking for Mi 5 Nougat beta testers on November 18. With a Nougat beta starting just now, it will likely be a few months before we see the Xiaomi Nougat update rolling out.

In the worst case scenario, Xiaomi suffers similar problems with Android 7.0 and users won’t see it until six months after Google releases it. In the best case scenario, Xiaomi has a successful public beta and has the update out in December 2016 or January 2017. But no matter when the update comes, we’ll likely see a Xiaomi device launch with Nougat out of the box first.

Best case scenario: 4-5 months after Google (December 2016/January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Android One Android 7.0 update

Android One devices occupy a particular sweet spot when it comes to Android updates. Because they run stock Android, Google handles firmware updates, meaning the Android One Android 7.0 update will always arrive at the same time as it does for Nexus devices with both OTA and flashable factory image options.

OTAs will likely take at least a few weeks or more to reach all Android One devices getting the upgrade, and as always, the factory images will be right around the corner. Note that not all Android One devices make the initial rollout alongside Nexus devices though.

When do you expect your manufacturer and carrier to get Android 7.0 into your hands?

Report: Huawei was the most profitable Android manufacturer in Q3

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Strategy Analytics has released an interesting report, showcasing the global operating profit shares for smartphone manufacturers in the third quarter of the year.

According to the report, the smartphone industry generated $9.4 billion in profits in Q3. Apple came out on top, as it took home the vast majority of it — 8.5 billion to be exact (91%). But what’s even more interesting, is that for the first time in its history, Huawei came in at second place.

Huawei is the most profitable Android manufacturer in Q3.

This means that the company now prides itself as the most profitable Android manufacturer on the market. Huawei accounted for 2.4 percent of the industry profits, which comes out at around $0.2 billion.

Neil Mawston, the executive director over at Strategy Analytics, believes that Huawei’s success in the quarter is based on their efficient supply chain, effective marketing, and a strong product lineup. The company does have quite a few great devices on offer like its flagship P9, which sold over 9 million units globally so far and the newly announced Huawei Mate 9.

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Huawei’s futuristic vision of an AI-focused ‘Superphone’ will be a “double of you”

4 days ago

Meanwhile, the third and fourth names on the list are Vivo and Oppo, which are not lagging that far behind Huawei. Each of the two companies captured 2.2 percent of the global smartphone profit share (around $0.2 billion). They were able to pull it off by releasing great-looking devices that offer an excellent price-performance ratio. Increased demand for smartphones across the Asian continent obviously helped them quite a bit as well.

It is interesting to see that the top three most profitable smartphone manufacturers are all based in China. This goes to show that consumers really are getting more price-conscious when buying a new device as these three companies are known to attract customer’s attention with their affordable prices.

Report: Huawei was the most profitable Android manufacturer in Q3

So, what do you think about this report? Did you expect Huawei to come out on top in the Android world?

Huawei’s futuristic vision of an AI-focused ‘Superphone’ will be a “double of you”

Speaking at the World Internet Conference in China recently, Huawei CEO Richard Yu delivered a futuristic keynote speech on artificial intelligence. In that speech, Yu outlined his concept of an AI-centric ‘Superphone’ that ultimately would be a “double of you”.

See also:

Google reveals RAISR: an image enhancement tech which uses machine learning

4 days ago

Not surprisingly, Yu detailed the ways in which Huawei is already heading in that direction, with investments in four key areas: device, connectivity, the cloud and chipsets. Yu then discussed the emergence of the “information civilization” which he says is “evolving in two areas: richer information and more convenient access”.

Touching on the increasing digitization and convergence of information we are now witnessing, Yu quite accurately sees the expansion of the digital world as an overwhelming and ultimately unmanageable trend.

The increasing digitization and convergence of information we are now witnessing is an overwhelming and ultimately unmanageable trend, but it is a problem that AI can solve.

According to Yu, this exponential data growth is becoming incomprehensible to humans, a problem in dire need of a solution. The solution Yu envisions is a smartphone powered by advanced AI: what he calls a Superphone.

As Yu says, “a Superphone goes far beyond making calls and browsing the internet, it’s not only your personal, go-to assistant for daily tasks, but even a double of you. The Superphone will introduce a new information-management architecture.”
Huawei’s futuristic vision of an AI-focused ‘Superphone’ will be a “double of you”This AI-focused Superphone will no longer be a passive device meant only for interactions between the user and the device, “the Superphone will be special because it will proactively interact with the physical world.” Yu sees the Superphone interacting with the real world with “abilities matching or exceeding those of a human’s eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body and mind.”

Think of it like this: The eyes are computer vision, ears are smart voice, tongues are a taste sensor, noses are an air sensor, other various robotic technologies will represent the body, and the mind is informed local decision-making – not intuitive responses, but well-reasoned decisions. All of these sensors combined with device-based AI will be able to fully replicate the human ability to comprehend the physical world.

It’s a pretty compelling vision from one of the leading figures in the mobile industry. But this isn’t just navel-gazing futurecasting, Huawei is already committed to creating the Superphone. “In order to realize our vision,” Yu concluded his keynote, “we need to continue to create innovative technologies that fuel the development of the Superphone, a goal that is rooted in our lifeblood.”

This isn't just navel-gazing futurecasting: Huawei is already committed to creating the Superphone.

As you may recall, one of the main software selling points for the recently announced Huawei Mate 9 is its ability to learn over time and be “born fast, stay fast.” The Mate 9 does this through machine learning that picks up on your behaviors and preferences and predicts what you’re likely to do and when.

Using this information, the Mate 9 might, for example, prepare an app it thinks you’ll use next, periodically defragment your storage for faster access or manage system resources according to your usage habits. This may just be the early stages of an AI-driven Superphone, but the future, at least in Huawei’s eyes, is already knocking.

How do you think AI will improve smartphones in future?

Huawei Mate 9 Lite revealed: smaller, lighter, weaker and no Leica or EMUI 5?

Remember the Mate 9? And the Porsche Design Mate 9? Oh, and don’t forget the Mate 9 Pro for China… Well, the Mate 9 now has another….mate: the Huawei Mate 9 Lite. As you might expect from the name though, don’t go expecting a similar specs sheet compared to the larger Mate 9 family. In fact, don’t go expecting pretty much anything to be the same.

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Huawei Mate 9 versus the competition

2 weeks ago

The Huawei Mate 9 Lite specs include a 5.5-inch Full HD display, so it’s smaller and lighter than the regular Mate 9. It is powered by an octa-core Kirin 655 chipset with four high performance cores clocked at 2.1 GHz and four energy-sipping cores clocked at 1.7 GHz, so it’s also weaker than the regular Mate 9.

There are two variants listed on Huawei’s website, a 3 GB of RAM with 32 GB of storage model and another with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Both of these options come with a 3,340 mAh battery and are running EMUI 4.1 on top of Android Marshmallow, giving them an older version of Huawei’s interface, an older version of Android and a smaller battery than the larger Mate 9.

Huawei Mate 9 Lite revealed: smaller, lighter, weaker and no Leica or EMUI 5?

On the camera front you’ll still get that fancy dual-camera setup we know from the other Mate 9 options, but it lacks the Leica branding. Depending on how cynical you are though, you may not think that means you’ll miss out on anything. Resolution-wise, those cameras drop to 12 MP and 2 MP each, with an 8 MP selfie camera up front.

There isn’t a price listed yet and we don’t know if the Mate 9 Lite will be restricted to a Chinese launch or if it will also come to global markets. We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we find out, but considering the very short list of similarities the Mate 9 Lite shares with its flagship namesake, this phone is a Mate 9 in little more than name.

How do you feel about ‘lite’ phones that water down flagship specs? Should they just be called something else?

Huawei MediaPad M3 tablet now available in the US for $299

The 8.4-inch Huawei MediaPad M3 tablet, which was released for other territories earlier this year, is now available to purchase in the U.S. via Amazon. You can pre-order the Android-based tablet right now from the retailer for the price of $299.

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Best Android tablets

October 17, 2016

In our review of the MediaPad M3 from September, we noted that it had “an immersive display, great audio and long-lasting battery life”. But we also took away points for “a generic design, average cameras and a questionable interface”. However, the overall score was still an 8.4 out of 10 and we admitted that it was still one of the best Android-based tablets that you could buy.

The U.S. version of the Huawei MediaPad M3 on Amazon includes a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display, the company’s own Kirin 950 octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of on-board storage.

It also has 8 MP cameras on both the front and rear and dual speakers that have been tuned and certified by Harman Kardon. The tablet comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow installed out of the box, alongside Huawei’s own EMUI 4.1.

Shipments from Amazon for the MediaPad M3 are scheduled to begin on November 21. Will you be picking up this tablet?

Get it at Amazon

Huawei and DOCOMO conduct word’s first large scale 5G field trial

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Huawei and NTT DOCOMO, a Japanese telecommunications provider, have successfully completed the world’s first large-scale 5G field trial in the 4.5 GHz frequency band.

During the trial, conducted in Yokohama, Japan, a total user throughput of 11.29 Gbps and less than 0.5-millisecond one-way user plane latency were achieved in the “macro cell coverage of a real urban application scenario”.

The test was made up of “a base station that works in the 4.5 GHz band with 200 MHz bandwidth, 64 TRXs and 23 UEs of both static and mobile types,” explained Huawei. The 0.5-millisecond latency achieved is about one tenth of that seen on LTE.

Huawei and DOCOMO conduct word’s first large scale 5G field trial

Huawei said that this was a “leading-edge breakthrough of foundational importance” in shaping the future of the 5G network, while Mr Takehiro Nakamura, Vice President and Managing Director of NTT DOCOMO’s 5G Laboratory said the trial’s success had “brought the whole industry one step closer to 5G commercialization by 2020.”

Yesterday, US carrier AT&T urged regulators to finalize the initial 5G standards by December 2017 instead of the planned June 2018 launch, stating it wanted to “make sure the results of our trials get into the standards.” AT&T expects to release early market deployments of 5G services by 2019.

Find out everything you need to know about 5G in our dedicated article.

Huawei has just unveiled the Mate 9 Pro in China

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At a recent press event in Munich, Germany, Huawei announced two new phones — Mate 9 and Mate 9 Porsche Edition. Today, the company took the stage in China, where it has also officially released yet another addition to the Mate series.

This newer, more powerful device goes by the name of ‘Mate 9 Pro’ and is identical in terms of specs as well as design to the Mate 9 Porsche Edition. It does, however, drop the famous German car maker’s branding, which makes it a bit less prestigious in some people’s eyes.

The lack of the Porsche branding has obviously affected the price tag of the device, as the Mate 9 Pro is quite a bit cheaper than its more pretentious brother. Pricing starts at 4,699 Yuan ($686 USD) for the version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the 6GB/128GB model retails for 5,299 Yuan ($774 USD) in China.

See also:

Hands-on with the powerful new Huawei Mate 9

2 weeks ago

It could be argued that this is somewhat of a reasonable price, given the fact that the phone sports a 5.5-inch Quad HD curved AMOLED display, a Kirin 960 64-bit Octa-core processor, a dual Leica branded camera setup (20MP and 12MP), an 8MP selfie snapper and the latest version of Android, 7.0 Nougat.

If Huawei decides to bring the Mate 9 Pro to Western markets (US and EU), we can expect the price to increase thanks to VAT and other taxes (especially in Europe). But our guess is that the device, unfortunately, won’t see the light of day in markets outside China. However, if you really want to get your hands on one, you might be able to (eventually) buy it through a few third-party sellers. We’ll keep our eyes peeled, and when or if we spot a great deal, we’ll be sure to let you folks know.