China's Huawei unveiled a new folding-screen phone on Sunday, joining the latest trend for bendable devices as it challenges the global smartphone market's dominant players, Apple and Samsung. Huawei revealed its Mate X phone as the company battles US allegations it is a cybersecurity risk, reports the AP. The device can be used on superfast next-generation networks that are due in the coming years. Device makers are looking to folding screens as the industry's next big thing to help them break out of an innovation malaise, although most analysts think the market is limited, at least in the early days. The Mate X is the answer to a question Huawei faced as it sought to satisfy smartphone users' demands for bigger screens and longer battery life, said Richard Yu, CEO of its consumer business group. "How can we bring ... big innovation to this smartphone industry?" Yu said at a glitzy media launch.
The Mate X will sell for $2,600 when it goes on sale by midyear. That's even more than Samsung's new Galaxy Fold, priced at nearly $2,000. The Mate X's screen wraps around the outside so users can still view it when it's closed, unlike the Galaxy Fold, which has a screen that folds shut. Unfolded, the Mate X's screen is 8 inches diagonally, making it the size of a small tablet. Yu said Huawei engineers spent three years working on the device's hinge, which doesn't leave a gap when shut. Huawei Technologies is trying to raise its profile in the fiercely competitive smartphone market, but its US market is clouded by criminal charges filed last month against the company and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, who US prosecutors want to extradite from Canada. Huawei can only make so much headway as long as the government is casting the company as a cyber-villain, says an analyst.
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