Huawei rolls out $2,715 foldable phone to compete with Samsung

Pre-ordering of the Mate Xs in the UAE starts on March 15

Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei consumer business group, while unveiling the company's new foldable phone Mate Xs. Courtesy Huawei
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Huawei has launched its second foldable phone, the Mate Xs, which rivals Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip and caters to high-spending customers.

Priced at $2,715.75 (Dh9,966), the Mate Xs is $115 more expensive than the launch price of its predecessor, the Mate X, which came out last year. The Mate Xs is almost double the price of Samsung’s Z Flip released on February 11.

“Mate Xs is raising the bar further with even more powerful connectivity and integrated user experiences,” said Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's consumer business group. “It’s the fastest 5G smartphone of its class … prepared to meet the unprecedented again.”

In its compact form, the device works as a smartphone with a 16.8 centimetre screen and when unfolded, turns into a slim tablet with a 20.3cm screen. The Mate Xs is fitted with 8GB of RAM memory, 512GB of internal storage and a 4,500 milli Ampere hours of battery life that should last for more than a day.

The world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer will start accepting orders for the new foldable device from March 15 in the UAE. The price will be announced in the next few days, the company said.

The phone supports multi-window ability. Text, images and documents can be transferred by a simple drag and drop from one app to the other.

The Mate Xs comes with quad-camera system – a 40 megapixel main camera, a 16MP ultra-wide angle camera, an 8MP telephoto camera and a three-dimensional depth sensing camera.

It is one of the first devices to come with a revamped Huawei AppGallery, the company’s official app distribution platform.

Due to the US-trade ban, the Mate Xs does not have Google services on-board. However, buyers can use alternative app stores of Amazon or install Google apps using Phone Clone, a data migration application.

South Korea's Samsung launched the first foldable phone in February after spending nearly eight years developing the product. The company had to delay its global release in April 2019 after initial reviewers reported display problems and screens cracking.

The hinges of Huawei phones are made with a zirconium-based liquid metal that is more durable and facilitates a full 180-degree fold, the phone maker said.

Industry analysts say foldable and 5G phones could help the smartphone industry  bounce back after falling almost 1.5 per cent last year.

"Both 5G and foldable devices are likely to remain nice-to-haves in 2020," Matthew Kendall, chief telecoms analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told The National. "They will overcome ongoing challenges around design, flexibility and battery life."

Last month, Huawei said it sells 100,000 units of the Mate X every month. Whereas, Samsung claimed it sold between 400,000 and 500,000 units of the Galaxy Fold last year.

Foldable phones will offer an “undeniable major advantage and advancement from previous devices, to convince consumers to upgrade”, according to Nabila Popal, senior research manager for International Data Corporation’s devices group for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.