Huawei, and every other smartphone maker on the planet, were slightly shafted by the emergence of a much-memed (but rather lethal) epidemic. Mobile World Congress was the first tech conference to be cancelled by a virus in 2020 but, we suspect, it won’t be the company’s last. Huawei took another route — a live-streamed version of their MWC conference. And, of course, Stuff was there.
Here’s what went down, live-but-not-live, in the sadly-depleted Huawei MWC event. #ThanksCoronavirus
A view of the future
First up was an overview of Huawei’s year-that-was, conducted by company head Richard Yu. Bits and pieces talked up were Huawei’s software ambitions — hardly surprising considering that funny chap with the yellow hair who mucked things up last year. Also on the menu? AI, the internet of things (IoT), 5G, and then a set of device reveals. We’ve gotten used to the idea of a live audience for these things, however, so the reveal… rang kind of hollow. Because, well… there are very few other people in the hall.
We met the folding Huawei Mate X s
We were always going to see a new folding device from Huawei — it looks like we might actually see this one go on sale, however. It’s set to launch globally from March this year, and we’re kinda global, we’re told. An improved screen and hinge, all the power Huawei can muster and super-fast internet are the order of the day for the Huawei Mate X s. Also income is 55W charging, software improvements, and a bunch of fancy camera tech. And the price? The price is huge too.
The Huawei MatePad Pro breaks cover
We also got a look at Huawei’s new MatePad Pro 5G. It’s a 10.8in tablet, sporting a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and a skinny set of bezels. Huawei’s made it as thin as possible — just 7.2mm, but that’s not quite as skinny as an iPad Air.
Huawei’s gone all-in for audio, with quad speakers, quad channel, and a quad mic array with an extra mic on the rear for… noise cancelling? The MatePad Pro 5G features a far field pickup mic, that integrates with the company’s AI speaker functions. It sounds like they’ve combined an iPad and a Google Home and you’d better believe we want to see how that works.
It’ll also feature the company’s Kirin 990 5G, as well as loads of smart app features. There’s a magnetic keyboard and Huawei’s M-Pencil (Where have we seen that before?), while’ll also charge magnetically when clipped to the side of the MatePad Pro 5G. It’ll arrive in fibreglass and vegan leather options in four colours (two of each) and starts from 550 Euro (R9,000) with the 5G options starting at 800 Euro (R13,150).
Huawei’s MateBook X Pro is updated… again
There’s a new MateBook X Pro on the cards, a 13.9in machine with Huawei’s “best screen” — a touchscreen 3,000 x 2,000 panel with the company’s pop-up webcam. Intel’s hardware is inside, with options up to a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. If you secure a Core i7, it’ll also come up with Nvidia’s MX250 GPU.
Other, less headliner machines are also incoming. Huawei’s refreshing its MateBook D lineup this year — if we ever see them here, we might start getting excited about that lot as well.