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Huawei unveils new foldable 5G smartphone - it'll cost you €2,300

Huawei revealed its Mate X phone on the eve of MWC Barcelona.

Huawei CEO Richard Yu displays the new Huawei Mate X foldable 5G smartphone at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain,
Huawei CEO Richard Yu displays the new Huawei Mate X foldable 5G smartphone at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain,
Image: Manu Fernandez via PA

CHINA’S HUAWEI UNVEILED its new folding-screen phone today days after Samsung did the same.

Huawei revealed its Mate X phone on the eve of MWC Barcelona, a four-day showcase of mobile devices, as the company battles allegations it is a cybersecurity risk.

The device can be used on superfast next-generation mobile networks that are due to come online in the coming years.

Device makers are looking to folding screens as the industry’s next big thing to help them break out of an innovation malaise, although most analysts think the market is limited, at least in the early days.

The Mate X is the answer to a question Huawei faced as it sought to satisfy smartphone users’ demands for bigger screens and longer battery life, said Richard Yu, CEO of its consumer business group.

“How can we bring the more big innovation to this smartphone industry?” Yu said at a glitzy media launch.

The Mate X will sell for €2,300 when it goes on sale by midyear. That’s even more than Samsung’s recently revealed Galaxy Fold, priced at over €1,700.

The Mate X’s screen wraps around the outside so users can still view it when it’s closed, unlike the Galaxy Fold, which has a screen that folds shut. Unfolded, the Mate X’s screen is 8 inches diagonally, making it the size of a small tablet.

Yu said Huawei engineers spent three years working on the device’s hinge, which doesn’t leave a gap when shut.

“No matter how innovative and technology-advanced the new device is, it will take a lot more time for a critical mass of consumers to experience the benefits of foldable phones and 5G technology,” Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said. Huawei still “has to find its own brand voice to differentiate from Samsung and Apple and stop acting as a technology challenger.”

Huawei Technologies is trying to raise its profile in the fiercely competitive smartphone market. Almost everyone with a smartphone has heard of Apple and Samsung, the top device makers, and Google, the power behind Android’s software.

Huawei, a Chinese company with a name many people in the West don’t know how to pronounce (it’s “HWA-way”), wants to join the market’s upper echelon.

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Associated Press

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