Huawei Technologies unveiled a US$2,600 folding smartphone on Sunday which it said was primed for next-generation 5G mobile connections.
Huawei said it had taken the lead on developing phones for 5G, which promise super-fast internet speeds for consumers and businesses, because it was also involved in developing the networks.
Last week Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unveiled a folding smartphone, priced at US$1,980.
On Sunday, Xiaomi Corp. also unveiled its own 5G smartphone at the mobile industry’s biggest global event in Barcelona, trumpeting prices starting from 599 euros (US$680) when it hits the market in May.
LG Electronics, meanwhile, announced a 5G smartphone with a dual screen. The two screens on the new V50ThinQ work independently so a user can watch a film on one screen while browsing the internet on the other.
It has not set a price for the device.
Speaking ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group, said: “This phone is not only for today for 5G but also for future 5G. On all the benchmarks you can see the performance, the speed is the fastest for 5G in the world.” said Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group.
Yu said the Huawei Mate X will have two back-to-back screens which unfold to become an eight-inch tablet display.
The Mate X would be able to download a 1 gigabyte movie in three seconds but also be priced at 2,299 euros (US$2,607) when it goes on sale later this year, setting a new upper limit for consumer smartphones.
Xiaomi, on the other hand, is going low on pricing. “We announced a very, very aggressive price,” Xiaomi senior vice president Xiang Wang told Reuters. “We want to drive 5G to normal consumers, so more and more people can afford to buy it.”
The next-generation wireless technology promises to ratchet up internet speed and support an Internet of Things in which embedded chips enable the creation of smart networks of vehicles, household devices and more.
While some skepticism remains about how far and how fast 5G can take hold, it is the latest high-end add-on that manufacturers attending the Mobile World Congress are using to stoke excitement about new gadgets amid slowing sales.
“5G is here, not in 2020, not late 2020; it’s here right now in 2019,” Cristiano Amon, president of chipmaker Qualcomm, which supplies Xiaomi, said during a launch event.
Amon expected the transition to 5G to be faster than that from so-called third-generation networks to the fourth, which has already quickened download times and enabled advances such as video streaming to mobile phones.
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