Huawei's folding 5G Mate X smartphone wants to be your tablet, too

Huawei's folding 5G Mate X smartphone wants to be your tablet, too

Huawei has entered the 'folding phone fray' in an attempt to show that Samsung hasn't cornered the market on innovation, at least when it comes to the gadget de jour.

At first glance the 5G Mate X smartphone is a super-sized Android smartphone with a 6.6-inch display, which is just slightly bigger than Apple’s iPhone XS Max but noticeably larger than the 4.6 inches of Samsung's Galaxy Fold.

But when opened out, the Mate X becomes an 8-inch tablet – a trait which the Chinese communications conglomerate hopes will render obsolete the need to carry two separate devices.

“We’ve been working on this folding screen hinge for three years,” Huawei Consumer Group Chief Executive Officer Richard Yu said when launching the device at Barcelona's annual Mobile World Congress. “It’s very expensive, but there’s lots of new technology here.”

'Very expensive' is an honest observation: the Mate X, which also works with next-generation 5G networks, will cost €2,299 (A$3,660) when released mid-year.

The market for smartphones is slowing, and manufacturers are scrambling to find new ways to convince consumers they should upgrade their devices. Next-generation high-speed networks are still a far away from mainstream availability, so device makers are looking at new device form factors to conjure up excitement.

While Huawei has been battling global scrutiny over its telecom equipment, the company's rapid growth as a smartphone manufacturer is often overlooked. Last year it surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones, according to data from market research firm IDC.

Thomas Husson, an analyst at Forrester, said the Mate X “shows Huawei is a leader in tech innovation.” But it will be “a few years” before a significant mass of customers get their hands on 5G functionalities and foldable screens, he said.

 

9 comments

  • brettepi

    brettepi

    25 Feb, 2019 01:01 pm

    $3660 for a phone? can buy a high end laptop for less
    No member give thanks

  • downdata

    downdata

    25 Feb, 2019 04:58 pm

    Last time i looked no one on the street is holding up their 5g laptop to their ear to make a call?
    No member give thanks

  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    25 Feb, 2019 05:56 pm

    But now you can fold it.... Duh
    No member give thanks

  • James Shin

    Jimmie

    25 Feb, 2019 01:42 pm

    Correct me if i'm wrong, I think samsung folder phone is less than $3660?
    No member give thanks

  • Nicho Kiu

    Nichokiu

    25 Feb, 2019 02:12 pm

    Wtf $3660 for a phone.. I shudder to think what Apple's version going to be.. $6k?
    No member give thanks

  • Chun Wah Dou

    Pallydou

    25 Feb, 2019 03:24 pm

    $3,660 and Huawei...thanks and no thanks.
    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    25 Feb, 2019 09:14 pm

    Whoever pays $3660 for a Huawei pretty much deserves to be spied on by the chinese government as punishment
    Member who gave thanks

    ryanpst

  • Blake

    Blake

    26 Feb, 2019 02:26 pm

    people paid over $10,000 for the first PC's 30+ years ago. New technology always cost so much more.
    No member give thanks

  • Donald Rowling

    DAREng

    27 Feb, 2019 03:46 pm

    Completely agree with elchriss0, with H's management members of the Big Party all your details will be collected. Scary
    No member give thanks

Guest

21 Mar, 2019 05:27 pm

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