At the Mobile World Congress this week, Huawei announced a number of new products, ranging from notebook PCs to a leading-edge foldable smartphone.
"To support the hyperconnected 5G period, Huawei Consumer BG remains committed to the all-scenario smart ecosystem strategy," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG. "We will spare no effort to drive pervasive connectivity to individuals, office and homes, and create a world-leading 5G all-scenario smart living experience that is unlike anything that has come before."
Welcome to the Fold
The Huawei Mate X is termed "a voyage into uncharted territory." It features a foldable FullView OLED screen and Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge. It's based on the Balong 5000, termed "the world's first 7nm 5G multi-mode modem chipset," and incorporates a 4,500mAh battery supporting Huawei's SuperCharge technology.
The foldable design is said to allow the camera system "to play the role of both front and rear cameras, resulting in a revolutionary photography experience."
Huawei's Mate X announcement follows just a week after Samsung's preview of its own foldable Galaxy Fold. This seems to indicate a trend, but it's hard to cmopare these announcements while details remain scanty and hands-on contact practically nonexistent. However, there is one obvious difference between these two devices. The Huawei Mate X has a single screen that wraps around the outside of the phone in folded mode, and flattens when opened out. The Galaxy Fold has a traditional ‘smartphone' screen on the outside, and unfolds to reveal a second, larger screen that's ehtirely hidden when the devices is in folded configuration.
Nor are these the only two entrants in the folding-phone race. In the past few weeks, Xiaomi has also shown a foldable device, though prevailing opinion seems to be that it's still only in a prototype stage. Royole Technology has also shown a foldable of some sort, the FlexiPal. Again, little can be deduced so far, but it is interesting that the FlexiPal also comes in at around the 8-inch unfolded size that's being offered by both Samsung and Huawei.
Clearly, 2019 will be the year of the foldable - though not necessarily the affordable foldable. Huawei is apparently pricing its Mate X at around $3,400 CAD (or US$2,600), considerably higher than Samsung's already eye-popping US$1,980 Galaxy Fold.
Huawei announced several other mobile products, At least one is also aimed at the emerging 5G market. The new Huawei 5G CPE Pro router is based on the same Balong 5000 chipset used by the Mate x. It supports both 4G and 5G wireless connections, and is said to allow a 1GB video clip to be downloaded within 3 seconds, or 8K video to be streamed smoothly without lag. The device is said to be suitable both for homes and for small and medium-size enterprises.
Huawei has also updated its line of notebook PCs. Its latest flagship model will be the updated MateBook X Pro. It offers a premium 13.9-inch 3K Ultra FullView display with a 91% screen-to-body ratio, and 10-point multi-touch. It's packaged in a machined metallic unibody with sandblasted finish, available in Mystic Silver or Space Gray. Processing options include up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce MX250.
In addition to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and Thunderbolt 3, the MateBook X Pro includes Dolby Atmos Sound, plus several unique Huawei features. Huawei Share 3.0 OneHop simplifies image, video and document transfers between the MateBook X Pro and Android phones.
The new MateBook 13 and MateBook 14 are mainstream models, combining FullView displays with 3:2 aspect ratio and minimal bezel, with 10-point multi-touch. Processor options range up to Intel 8th Generaion Core i7 and GeForce MX250 GPU. Huawei Share 3.0 OneHop is included.
Two models of the Huawei MateBook 13 will be available in Canada: one using an Intel Core i5 processor, with an MSRP of $1,449.99, and one using an Intel Core i7 processor, at an MSRP of $1,759.99. Availability and retail outlets to be announced.