By Steve Costello

Huawei unfolds new
smartphone vision

Huawei took the wraps off its Mate X foldable 5G smartphone, promising availability in the middle of 2019 – with a €2,299 price tag.

At the event, Richard Yu, CEO of the company’s consumer unit, addressed the price issue head-on, stating: “There is so much new technology integrated here, to make it possible is very expensive. Our engineers are trying to bring the cost down.”

The approach Huawei has taken with the dual screens is to have 6.6-inch front and 6.4-inch rear screens which fold out to give an 8-inch display. Yu said engineers have worked for three years on the patented hinge design.

The Huawei exec took aim at Samsung’s Galaxy Fold – announced in the run-up to MWC19 Barcelona – by stating that the 4.6-inch display it offers when closed is “too small, it’s difficult to use”. Mate X also offers a larger display when unfolded, and does not have a cut out in the top part of the screen to house cameras.

Yu also said that the folded device, which is 11mm thick, is 6mm thinner than “other foldable phones”, while the 5.4mm thickness when open is thinner than an iPad Pro.

Mate X is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 980 processor, paired with its Balong 5000 5G modem. This supports both non-standalone and standalone 5G, which Yu said means it is “not only for today’s 5G, but for the future 5G”.

The device has 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, with a 4,500mAh battery split into two cells either side of the fold.

Other products

Yu kicked off the event by talking about the company’s work beyond the smartphone. He trumpeted sales of more than 100 million units for devices such as tablets, PCs and wearables as an indicator that Huawei has a solid business in computing and consumer IoT products.

The company took the wraps off a new incarnation of its high-end MateBook X Pro laptop, which is said to offer a “borderless experience” with screen-to-body ratio of 91 per cent. The slimline device is also thinner than Apple’s MacBook Pro, measuring 14.6mm at its thickest point, compared with 14.9mm.

The device has also been upgraded internally, with a new high-end Intel Core i7 processor and improved Wi-Fi performance among the highlights. MateBook Pro X owners with Huawei smartphones will also be able to take advantage of a new feature called OneHop: tapping an NFC sticker on the computer enables fast file transfer of photos, videos and documents, or to trigger features such as screen recording for short clips.

Also joining the high-end device was a touch-screen version of MateBook 13, and a slightly larger sibling – MateBook 14. The devices also support the OneHop technology.