Huawei isn’t just unboxing whopping Android phones at CES. Oh no. The Chinese mobile maker is flirting with Microsoft by sticking its toe in the Windows Phone 8 waters. The Ascend W1, its first WP8 device, appears to be a distinctly mid-range smartphone that will be jazzed up with an affordable price tag. Huawei said the W1 will be available in China and Russia initially — “from January 2013” — with Western Europe, the Middle East, U.S., and other “selected countries” to follow.

While the phone’s specs have the ring of a mid-range device, Huawei is describing the handset as an “entry-level smartphone” — and talks about bringing WP8 to a “much broader audience” (it hasn’t confirmed exact pricing yet). In the budget Android space, the company has used a strategy of offering excellent value for money — via devices such as the Huawei Ascend G300 — to carve out a niche…

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