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Huawei seeks to upstage Apple with Mate 30 smartphone launch

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Huawei launched its Mate 30 range of smartphones on Thursday, saying its cameras were superior, its wraparound screen brighter and its dimensions more compact than Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max launched last week.

[MUNICH] Huawei launched its Mate 30 range of smartphones on Thursday, saying its cameras were superior, its wraparound screen brighter and its dimensions more compact than Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max launched last week.

Huawei's top salesman Richard Yu showcased the Mate 30 Pro and Mate 30 devices at a glitzy launch event in Munich, Germany.

"It's got a large screen but it's very compact in your hand," he said. 

Mr Yu said the new phones would offer their own app gallery and the company would spend US$1 billion on incentives to promote its Huawei Mobile Services app ecosystem. Huawei did not say when the new phones would be shipped in Europe.

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Huawei said the Mate 30 would be priced from 799 euros (S$1,217), the top-end Mate 30 Pro from 1,099 euros and the Mate 30 Pro 5G from 1,199 euros. It also revealed a new Porsche design version which will be priced at 2,095 euros.

By comparison, Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G retails at US$1,299, and the iPhone 11 Pro starts at US$999, but lacks 5G connectivity.

Mr Yu also showed off wearables including the GT-2 smartwatch and the Earbuds 3 wireless headphones, which he said had the best noise-cancellation performance on the market, as well as smart TVs boasting artificial intelligence features.

"Despite all the concerns surrounding Huawei, and the challenges it faces, it remains defiant and prepared to soldier on," said telecoms and media analyst Paolo Pescatore.

Washington has effectively banned US firms from supplying Huawei, alleging it is a national security risk as its equipment could be used by Beijing to spy, something which Huawei has repeatedly denied.

The No 2 smartphone maker expects the US ban to cost it US$10 billion.

Huawei's new phone launch has been marked by uncertainty over whether buyers of the flagship Android device will be able to use apps supported by Google, a unit of Silicon Valley giant Alphabet.

Holding the launch in Europe underlines the importance of the 500 million consumers in the region, where Huawei has lost five percentage points in market share since the US ban, even as buyers rallied to its brand at home.

The Mate 30 range will run on an open-source version of Android - and not on the current version licensed from Google, a source familiar with the matter said before the launch.

The smartphones will not be able to use Google Mobile Services to use the Play Store and download apps like Gmail, YouTube or Maps. Instead, Huawei will offer its own interface that will allow users to access some Google apps.

Mr Yu did not directly address the Google issue in his presentation.

REUTERS