Huawei turns tables on Samsung with a foldable 5G Mate X phone
Chinese tech and telecoms giant Huawei may have just eclipsed the Samsung Galaxy Fold with a 5G foldable phone that appears to boast superior specs and mechanical engineering.
Ahead of Mobile World Congress 2019, the CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group Richard Yu today in Barcelona (24 February) revealed the new Mate X smartphone which comes with a bigger display and is yet thinner than the Samsung Fold, which was unboxed in San Francisco earlier this week.
‘Foldable phones create a new slot in the market. This is the start of a new era’
– KEVIN HO
The Mate X has an 6-inch OLED frontal display, is 11m think when folded, is a fully-fledged 5G smartphone, and the Kirin 980-powered device comes with a beast of a 4,500mAh batter.
When folded it is a dual-screen smartphone that allows you to shoot selfies with the rear main camera that boasts a three-camera cluster co-engineered with Leica.
Opened up it turns into an 8-inch tablet with virtually no bezels.
This compares with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold which has a 4.6-inch front screen and opens up into a 7.2-inch tablet.
Heralding the device as the world’s first 5G foldable phone, Yu said that the Mate X will be capable of broadband speeds of 7.5Gbps, “double the speed of the 5G industry standard.”
He added: “The Mate X will be the first phone to support future standalone architecture that is coming.”
The device, which will also have dual-SIM support, will achieve the 4,500mAh power level because it will have two batteries. The device will take 30 minutes to supercharge to 85pc and will use the same supercharger to power up Huawei’s Mate X Pro PC, which was also unveiled in Barcelona today.
“The Samsung device with its 4.6-inch display is too small,” Yu told media.
However, consumers are likely to balk at the $2,299 price tag envisaged for the Mate X, pricier than the $2,000 is reckoned to cost Galaxy Fold.
The Mate X is tipped to be released in the middle of this year and will come with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
What success hinges on
Where Yu also said the Mate X will triumph over the Galaxy Fold is in terms of mechanical design.
The new foldable phone from Huawei comes with a ‘Falcon Wing’ design.
This is Huawei’s own patented technology and a side-view of the technology showed a design not too dissimilar from a bicycle chain. The feat of mechanical engineering has more than 100 micro components.
Yu was able to show of a slew of multi-tasking and split screen applications that the device will be capable of, including more immersive web, video and reading experiences.
“This is a very sophisticated hinge and enables true back-to-back fold,” said Yu, unlike the Galaxy Fold which he said leaves a gap when folded.
Crucially, he said, it signals a new beginning with 5G. “The future is here and the future is now.”
5G smartphones in Europe
Speaking with journalists, Huawei’s Handset president Kevin Ho said that the company is working with operators in Europe to bring out a range of 5G devices. “We have already received POs from our partners.”
In terms of the foldable design, Ho said: “This is really just the beginning of foldable products and there may be lower priced products at the end of this year.”
He said that Huawei has no confirmed plans to sell the foldable device in the US.
Ho said engineering challenges remain in terms of making sure the glass on the screen can be protected and he envisaged that on average the device should have a two-year lifetime. As well as this Ho said that the Mate X will be capable of a whole day of operations on a single charge.
The evolution of the design is to meet the challenge of what is a pain point for consumers in terms of consuming content like video without being confined by a smaller screen.
“Traditional phone designs will still dominate the market, but the foldable phones create a new slot in the market. This is the start of a new era,” Ho said.
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