Gadgets are to become faster, smarter but more expensive, industry experts have warned as the Mobile World Congress technology show draws to a close.
The annual trade show in Barcelona, attended by about 100,000 people, saw Huawei unveil its first foldable smartphone to rival that of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold device confirmed last week.
Both devices will be among the most expensive phones ever released, and gadget lovers have been warned that owning the latest innovations is likely to mean ever-rising prices.
Technology expert and founder of tech news site Pocket-lint Stuart Miles said: “MWC has been really interesting this year because it’s been about inspiring us for what’s to come over the next couple of years.
“If the industry is to be believed, we are about to embrace a much more connected, flexible world with 5G everywhere and devices that can fold in two.
“But this future comes at a cost. The technologies that are pushing these boundaries are expensive.
“Whether it’s the Mate X that costs over 2,000 euro (£1,700) or the HoloLens 2 that’s 3,500 dollars (£2,600), the future might be exciting, but we’re going to have to pay for it.”
Industry analyst Ben Wood from CCS Insight agreed that in the wake of the announcement of both foldable devices that it was clear that new territory of gadget pricing was being entered.
“The gasps in the audience at both launch events underline how ambitious the prices are, but there’s little doubt that many gadget lovers will find the devices irresistible,” he said.
“Ironically, it doesn’t seem that long ago that the industry was worried about iPhone products smashing through the 1,000 euro (£850) barrier.
“The Huawei Mate X confirms that we’re entering a new era in smartphone design, with flexible displays offering an array of fresh possibilities.”
Elsewhere at the trade show, Microsoft announced the second generation of its HoloLens mixed reality headset, which places virtual holograms over the real world which can be interacted with using gesture controls.
Aimed at enterprise rather than regular consumers, the device is lighter and has a wider field of view.
Sony, LG, Nokia and Xiaomi were also among the companies to unveil new smartphones, many with an eye on the rollout of 5G, the mobile communications technology which is due to come into being later this year.