Huawei revs up for MWC with 5G chips, promises foldable phone

huawei 5G
CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, Richard Yu, launches one of two new 5G chipsets at a launch event in Beijing, January 24, 2019. Image credit: Huawei

Huawei revved up its PR machine Thursday for next month’s Mobile World Congress with the launch of two new 5G chipsets, a 5G device, a data center switch with an “AI brain” and a teaser for a foldable 5G smartphone.

At a 5G launch event in Beijing that doubled up as a pre-briefing for MWC. Huawei officially launched its 5G multi-mode chipset, Balong 5000, along with the first commercial 5G device that will be powered by it, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro.

The Balong 5000 supports 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G on a single chip and reduces latency and power consumption when exchanging data between different modes. Huawei claims it’s the first chipset to perform to industry benchmarks for peak 5G download speeds. At Sub-6 GHz bands, the Balong 5000 can achieve download speeds up to 4.6 Gbps. On mmWave spectrum, it can achieve download speeds up to 6.5 Gbps.

The chip supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) network architectures for 5G, and also supports Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communications for connected vehicles. All of these are world-firsts, Huawei claims.

Meanwhile, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro is a 5G home broadband device that the vendor is aiming at both residential and SME markets. In addition to 5G, the device also supports Wi-Fi 6 technology, which delivers speeds of up to 4.8 Gbps. It also supports Huawei HiLink protocols for smart homes.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, said onstage at the event that the company will release 5G smartphones powered by the Balong 5000 at MWC – adding that at least one of them will have a foldable screen, according to the English translation of Yu’s presentation.

Meanwhile, Huawei also unveiled its ‘Tiangang’ 5G base station core chip, which boasts new advancements in integration, a 2.5-fold increase computing power over previous chips, and 200 MHz spectral bandwidth. Th chip’s algorithms and beamforming technology enables it to control up to 64 channels.

According to Huawei, it also sports significant improvements in active antenna units (AAUs) – namely, it’s 50% smaller, 23% lighter, and will enable 5G base stations to consume 21% less power.

Huawei also introduced its full-stack, ‘all-scenario’ AI technology that it says will enable autonomous driving networks, and showcased its SoftCOM AI solution to help operators maximize energy efficiency, network performance, O&M efficiency, and user experiences.

The company also launched a “data center switch with an AI brain” that it says enables zero Ethernet packet loss and end-to-end latency of less than 10 milliseconds. The switch consumes less than 8W of power while delivering more computing capacity than 25 mainstream two-way CPU servers combined, Huawei said.

Huawei will be all over the MWC exhibit hall in the Fira Gran Via at MWC, with locations at booth 1H50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1, booth 3I30 in Hall 3, the Innovation City zone in Hall 4, and booth 7C21 and 7C31 in Hall 7.

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