LeEco wins Alphr's Most Innovative Company Award at MWC 2016

Almost all the awards we make at Mobile World Congress are for products, which is as you’d expect. MWC, after all, sees the launch of a lot of new and exciting devices.

However, there’s one exception: our Most Innovative Company award. This is given not for a single product, but for the company that we think is pushing the boundaries a little, either through their products, business model or even their marketing.

This time, there was a clear winner. LeEco (Formerly LeTV) is a Chinese brand that, if you’re in the UK, you’ve probably never heard of. However, what we’ve seen from them at MWC 2016 suggests they’re ready to break into Western markets at pace.

Take their approach to smartphones, for example. The Le 1S and Le Max Pro are beautiful products, with the kind of design and specifications that will turn heads. The Le Max Pro was the first smartphone announced that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, and its edge-to-edge screen is genuinely stunning.

But what makes LeEco’s approach genuinely innovative isn’t the hardware on its own, but the way it has been designed to integrate with and promote a whole LeEco ecosystem. Unlike some of its competitors, LeEco has built the ecosystem first and then created hardware to match.

Why is this important and innovative? Because the Android smartphone market has actually been a fairly level playing field for some time. Each manufacturer is struggling to find a significant point of difference regarding hardware, as specs and chipsets are available for all manufacturers to pick and choose. In short, assembling a high-end Android smartphone is relatively easy.

LeEco recognises this and focuses its efforts on creating ecosystem individuality, with mobile media available in China – spanning TV, sport, entertainment and transportation – that could disrupt the Western market if, or rather when, it arrives.

Add in its automotive tech partnership with Aston Martin and the beautifully tech-rich LeEco Super Bike, and perhaps awarding the Most Innovative Company Award at MWC 2016 wasn’t a difficult decision after all.

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