Huawei mobile computing product strategies at MWC 2018

Huawei MateBook X
Huawei has drafted a strong strategy to focus on mobile computing at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2018) rather than targeting its P smartphone upgrades.

Huawei will launch its new flagship P20 smartphone at a standalone event in Paris next month. The device will compete with Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and Apple’s iPhone X.

Huawei will launch its first 5G-ready smartphone either in the third- or fourth-quarter, most likely in its Mate line of devices. Huawei — at MWC 2018 — unveiled 5G versions of a consumer network router.

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David McQueen, research director at ABI Research, said Huawei has started focusing on update of its mobile computing devices. It has updated its MateBook flagship product, the X Pro. With a small bezel display the company has managed to fit a 13.9” notebook into the chassis of a 12” device.

X Pro features a 3K display in 3:2 ratio, fingerprint ready power button, large click pad, and 8th generation Intel processor with 16GB of RAM. It also has an impressive immersive surround sound using Dolby ATMOS, a NVDIA graphics card for high-end game playing, and a quad microphone set-up for voice interaction over a 4m distance. There is also a novel approach to camera integration as it is a pop-up housed in the keyboard.

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Huawei also announced MediaPad M5 tablets, in 8.4” and 10.8” versions with an added 10.8” Pro edition as part of product revamp strategy. Both are the first in its stable to use 2.5D glass in a curved edge design with metal uni-body chassis and 2k displays.

The company said MediaPad M5 tablets come with ClariVu software innovation that provides 20 percent improvement in picture quality and operate on Android 8 Oreo. The M5 Pro also works with the new M-Pen, which is provided with the tablet out-of-the-box. LTE options are available.

While these new products from Huawei pack some of the latest features and functionalities expected of current notebook and tablet devices, there is little yet to suggest that they will displace any of the major incumbents owning share in these markets.

The omission of 4G from the MateBook Pro also points to a product that will find it hard to find space in the market, unless Huawei is awaiting 5G before embarking on a more major push to integrate cellular into its notebooks.

Huawei introduced AI with the Mate 10 Pro smartphone launch last October. AI is absent in these launches, though there is believed to be some AI buried in the devices to aid with performance.

Price points will determine the success of the MateBook Pro X and MediaPad M5 tablets from Huawei that will be taking on Apple.