Huawei's Chinese smartphone maker follows Samsung's lead by unveiling a super-luxury 5G phone with a folding screen called the Mate X with a price tag of € 2,299 (£ 1,995).
Introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, the Mate X has a flexible OLED display that covers both the front and back of the device, and which unfolds out to become an eight-inch (20cm) tablet screen.
Richard Yu, the chief executive of Huawei's consumer business, said the Mate X represented "a voyage into the uncharted". "Huawei Mate X combines 5G, foldable screen, AI and all-new mode of interfacing with consumers with an unprecedented user experience," he said.
The Chinese firm, which has been at The center of a political storm, which pipped to the post of its South Korean rival with the launch of its Galaxy Fold smartphone last Wednesday.
The design of the two cutting-edge devices is quite different. Samsung puts the folding screen on the inside of the device, which opens like a 7.3-inch screen, and a smaller 4.6-inch screen on the outside for use as a standard phone.
Huawei's Mate X has just one screen on the outside. When closed the front screen measures 6.6 inches, comparing favorably with large non-folding smartphones as Huawei's Mate 20 Pro. The screen that folds around the rear is dormant unless used to take photos or for other similar tasks.
The 0.4-inch (11-mm) thick Mate X also has a solid strip on one edge that sits flush with the rear screen when The phone also features a fingerprint sensor built into its power button, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, a large battery and a 55W superCharge technology that can reach 85% from zero in 30 minutes.
Analysts viewed the unveiling as broadly positive, giving Samsung the new folding-phone space, but were suspicious that a device would cost as much as three times top-end smartphones
Francisco Jeronimo, an associate vice-president with IDC, said the Mate X's "form factor seems a lot more user friendly than the Samsung Galaxy Fold ".
Huawei says the Mate X is the "world's fastest foldable 5G smartphone", and that its The same position, however, has made it a geopolitical talking point.
That same position, however, has made it a geopolitical talking point.
Huawei is currently the second-largest smartphone manufacturer by volume ahead of Apple and behind Samsung, and it has its eyes on first place. It is also expected to launch a new range of flagship smartphones in Paris in March.
Huawei said its Mate X would be available later in the year to coincide with the launch of 5G networks, which are expected to begin limited rollout in the summer in the UK and elsewhere. Several other Chinese firms, including Xiaomi, area so expected to unveil folding-screen phone designs this year, as the next wave of smartphone innovation heats up.