While there have been rumours that Huawei’s next premium smartphone wasn’t going to launch at MWC, that doesn’t mean the company won’t be putting on a show.
Overnight, Huawei Mobile held a 5G launch event in Beijing, which we’ll talk about in a sec, but at the conclusion of that show Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu finished with this statement:
We look forward to seeing you in Barcelona in February, where we will launch the world’s first 5G smartphones with foldable screen.
You can watch the full video from the overnight announcements here, but we’ve summarised them for you below:
So what was announced? Primarily, the event was to announce a suite of 5G products, including – importantly – a new modem which will power Huawei’s 5G smartphone ambitions. Dubbed the Balong 5000, Mr Yu has claimed it’s the world’s most powerful 5G modem.
Not only does it feature a peak download speed of 4.6Gb/s and most of the 5G standards currently available, but the technology also allows Huawei to incorporate the 5G core into a single modem that also contains 4G/3G (and legacy 2G) connectivity options. This makes for a tiny chipset (smaller than your thumbnail) which is a big step forward; other 5G modems don’t do 4G/3G on board, requiring a separate chipset to handle this.
The Balong 5000 modem is also used in its 5G CPE Pro, the first Wi-Fi hotspot supporting Wi-Fi 6 and a peak rate up to 4.8Gb/s, which the company also announced at the event.
While these announcements – taken alone – are of some interest, what will be interesting is seeing this modem in a real-world device that we might – just might – be able to see in a real device next month.