Computing

Huawei has unveiled its first foldable smartphone just a few days after Samsung’s first offering.

Differences: Launched at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Huawei’s Mate X folds face out—so the screen is on the outside of the two sides when folded up— unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold which folds like a book. The Huawei handset is larger in both modes, and thinner when closed. However, it lacks a second display on its reverse side. Both are 5G-capable. Huawei’s is a bit pricier at $2,600 versus Samsung’s $1,980 (although, no, neither is what you’d call affordable).

Innovation: The phone has been in development for three years and has caused a level of excitement in the smartphone industry that’s not been witnessed for a while. Common wisdom has been that smartphones have rather hit a wall when it comes to innovation, with incremental improvements being the order of the day rather than radical transformations. For the first time ever, sales of smartphones fell last year, probably at least partly because they aren’t improving enough to persuade people to ditch their existing handsets.

Huawei hits back: It’s a rare piece of good PR for a company that has been somewhat under siege in recent months in the face of security concerns about network infrastructure in the US and among some of its allies. The security concerns don’t have anything to do with its handset division but could potentially put some consumers off buying its products. That, and the price.

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