Business / Tech

Huawei breaks price ceiling with folding 5G smartphone

Reuters

Huawei Technologies has unveiled a $2,600 (¥290,000) folding smartphone it says is primed for next-generation 5G mobile connections, even as the United States campaigns to bar the Chinese company from such networks over security concerns.

Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor after Samsung, said Sunday it has taken the lead on developing phones for 5G — which promises superfast internet speeds for consumers and businesses — because it was also involved in developing the networks.

“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.

Speaking ahead of the mobile industry’s biggest global event, which kicked off Monday in Barcelona, Spain, Yu said the Huawei Mate X will have two back-to-back screens that unfold to become an eight-inch (20-centimeter) tablet display.

Yu said the Mate X will be able to download a 1-gigabyte movie in three seconds but also be priced at €2,299 ($2,607) when it goes on sale later this year, setting a new upper limit for consumer smartphones.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. last week unveiled its own folding smartphone, priced at nearly $2,000, in a bid to top the technology of Apple Inc. and Chinese rivals and reignite consumer interest amid slumping sales.

Huawei, which is also the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, is under intense scrutiny in the West over U.S.-led allegations of enabling Chinese state espionage, accusations the company denies.

Huawei’s chairman said Sunday that recent comments by President Donald Trump that the U.S. needs to get ahead in mobile communications through competition rather than seeking to block technology was “clear and correct.”

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