Tech Transformers

Huawei takes aim at Apple with tablet launch


Huawei unveiled the MateBook on Sunday, its first 2-in-1 tablet that aims to challenge Apple, Lenovo and Samsung, as the Chinese technology giant looks to new areas to advance the growth of its consumer devices business.

The MateBook is a tablet with a detachable keyboard much like Apple's iPad Pro, and runs Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 10. It was launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Huawei's latest device features:

  • A 12 inch display
  • 5 megapixel front camera
  • 512 gigabytes of storage
  • Fingerprint sensor

The MateBook comes in two colors: Champagne white and dark silver. Huawei also launched an accessories kit which includes a stylus and an adaptor allowing users to connect USBs and a HDMI lead.

Huawei did not reveal pricing or availability, although the company does not currently sell its consumer devices in the U.S. The firm also did not say whether the keyboard and accessories will be sold separately.

The Shenzhen-based tech giant has found great success in the smartphone market of late. It is now the third-biggest player in the market after Samsung and Apple and shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015, exceeding its own expectations with a 44 percent increase in sales, compared to 2014.

Now Huawei is looking to make a major play in the tablet space. While tablet shipments fell 13.7 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2015, shipments for detachable tablets reached an all-time high of 8.1 million devices, more than doubling from the same period in 2014, according to IDC.

"Huawei has grown relatively well in the consumer segment and now they are moving upstream into the prosumer and corporate market, they are upscaling pricing and the customers they attract," Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, told CNBC by phone.

Along with many other players, Huawei is playing in a slowing smartphone market and the company hopes the MateBook will be able to diversify its offering.

"Where there is a trend towards higher usage of the cloud and connectivity between devices, we believe with the range of products we have we will be able to create an ecosystem that will work around the portfolio of devices we have," Colin Giles, head of global sales at Huawei's consumer business group, told journalists at a briefing ahead of Mobile World Congress.