CHINESE telecom giant Huawei on Sunday unveiled a phone with a folding screen, just four days after rival Samsung became the first major handset maker to offer the feature.
The phone, Mate X, will be compatible with the new fifth-generation wireless networks which are starting to be installed around the world, said Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group.
“Our engineers worked on this screen for over three years,” he said at an event to present the new phone in Barcelona ahead of the start of the four-day Mobile World Congress trade fair in the Spanish city yesterday.
The phone will be available in mid-2019 and has a price tag of 2,299 euros ($2,600, Bt81,360)
Yu acknowledged the price was “very expensive” but said the company was working to lower it.
The Mate X’s display can fold back on itself to become a 6.6-inch display, slightly bigger than the screen on the foldable phone which Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone seller, unveiled on Wednesday in San Francisco.
Several other smaller companies are rumoured to present their first foldable phones at the trade fair in Barcelona this week.
Handset makers are looking to folding screens to reverse falling smartphone sales as consumers hold on to their devices longer due to a lack of innovations, but analysts predict the market for the feature will be limited, at least in the early days.
Huawei, the world’s second biggest smartphone maker ahead of Apple, sold 206 million smartphones in 2018, compared to just over 150 million in the previous year, Yu said
LG’s 5G smartphone
Ahead of the same event on Sunday, South Korea’s LG Electronics unveiled its newly developed 5G-powered smartphone with dual screens—something similar to Samsung’s recently unveiled foldable phone but with a different user interface.
The country’s tech giant introduced the V50 ThinQ 5G with dual screen functionality. The feature allows users to watch two different screens installed on a single handset.
The technology allows users to enjoy separate images or videos on parallel screens without technical delays, the firm said. For example, users can hold the phone in a horizontal position and play mobile games on one screen, with virtual joysticks below.
“Instead of one big screen (spread out) on foldable phones, we came up with the idea for multi-tasking,” Rafael Kim, who manages product planning from LG Electronics. “Not only can we offer faster connectivity, but we are seeking to give faster interface to the users.”
The company had said it would not release a foldable phone after Samsung grabbed global attention with its first foldable gadget, the Galaxy Fold. The phone was introduced in San Francisco, the US, last week.
Earlier, Kwon Bong-seok, president of LG’s home entertainment and mobile communications businesses, had said it was “too early” to bring to a smartphone the same concept of its iconic rollable OLED TV that had wowed the world during January’s Consumer Electronics Show.
LG, meanwhile, also unveiled another flagship smartphone, the G8 ThinQ, based on the current 4G network. The phone will be out on the market before standalone 5G services are available, the company said.
“From premium products to practical ones, we will continue to cater to our customers’ needs by releasing phones that go beyond expectations,” said Kwon Bong-seok, president of LG’s home entertainment and mobile communications businesses.
LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G, with its dual screen weighing about 131 grams and mobile phone weighing 183 grams, features the 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED FullVision Display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The audio has been upgraded to produce a superb stereo performance, LG said.
The phone also supports Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD audio technology for premium Bluetooth audio quality and low latency ideal for immersive listening experiences over headphones or earbuds, according to the company. – Agence France-Presse, The Nation