China’s Huawei and Samsung launched new gadgets on Sunday, on the eve of the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
While Huawei launched a new laptop and tablet to cement its place among the world’s three biggest electronic device manufacturers, Samsung unveiled its new flagship smartphone, Galaxy S9 with a focus on augmented reality features as it seeks to keep its title as the world’s biggest smartphone maker.
Huawei’s laptop, the Matebook X Pro, and the tablet, the MediaPad M5, were presented by CEO Richard Yu.
On March 27, the company will present its new flagship smartphone — the P20 in Paris, in what is seen as a bid not to be eclipsed by Samsung’s launch of its new top end phone today.
“By launching the new P20 smartphones only a month later in Paris, Huawei will be able to fine tune its marketing message based on how the new Samsung S9 devices are perceived by consumers,” said Forrester analyst Thomas Husson.
Both the new Huawei laptop and tablet feature long lasting batteries and quicker charge times and are available in grey and silver.
The laptop’s power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which Huawei says will start and securely log into Windows in under eight seconds.
Huawei also unveiled what it said is the world’s first commercial chipset that meets the standards of the super-fast 5G wireless networks which are poised to start being rolled out.
The company said the chipset can hit download speeds of 2.3 gigabits per second, significantly faster than speeds reached in current 4G networks.
Huawei remained the world’s third biggest seller of smartphones in 2017, behind Samsung and Apple.
It boasted a 10.4 percent market share, up from 9.5 percent, according to research firm IDC.
Samsung had a 21.6 percent share while Apple held 14.7 percent.
Samsung’s Galaxy S9 features essentially the same design as last year’s previous flagship, with the full screen and curved glass edge of the S8, which was followed by Apple’s iPhone X and others.
But it includes louder sound, a faster processor and software that turns selfies into animated emojis, which will appeal to consumers who are increasingly preferring to use their phones to send text messages rather than talking.
Samsung also included a dual lense camara on the Galaxy S line for the first time, which will improve low-light capture and enhance slow motion video, which is popular on social media.
A service powered by artificial intelligence (AI) allows users to point its camera to instantly translate a sign in a foreign language.
It is also one of the few flagship phones left that still comes with a standard headphone jack.
“Despite these incremental innovations, Samsung will have to smartly leverage its brand and marketing machine to correctly position the new smartphones to a target audience,” said Forrester analyst Thomas Husson.
Global smartphone sales fell by 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter due to slower than expected Christmas sales, according to research firm IDC.
Overall global smartphone sales for 2017 were virtually flat — down 0.1 percent at 1.47 billion units — as phone makers struggled to come up with innovations that encourage customers to upgrade their devices.
Samsung suffered a humiliating recall of its Galaxy Note 7 device in 2016 after several devices exploded, but its Galaxy 8 smartphone was a consumer and critical success.