LONDON (Reuters) – Huawei unveiled an upgrade to its folding smartphone on Monday, with a more robust and higher quality display that it hopes will persuade consumers to switch to the new design.
The new Mate XS comes a year after the Chinese tech giant showed off its first folding phone, which had back-to back screens that opened to create an eight-inch display.
That device only went on sale in China in November once the company improved the design.
The Mate XS has the same sized display as its predecessor but comes with a stronger screen and an improved hinge mechanism that makes the device more durable, Huawei said.
The launch was streamed from Barcelona, where the Mobile World Congress was due to be held this week before it was canceled because of the coronavirus.
Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), the world’s top smartphone maker by volume, narrowly beat its rival in the folding race last year, but its launch was delayed after testers encountered problems with its screens.
The South Korean company is persevering with foldable technology, and earlier this month showed off a device shaped like a makeup compact that unfolded to look like a traditional smartphone.
The Mate XS, like last year’s Mate 30 smartphone, will lack access to a licensed version of Google’s (GOOGL.O) Android operating system after the United States in effect barred its companies from supplying Huawei last year.
Global senior product marketing manager Peter Gauden said Huawei’s first preference would be to use the full version of Android, but “in the absence of that we are having to go a different direction”.
Huawei also launched a speaker developed with French audio specialist Devialet, the first tablet in its Mate range, and two new notebooks, a top of the range Matebook X Pro and Matebook D with 14 inch and 15 inch screens.
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