Samsung isn’t the only company having trouble launching a foldable smartphone. Samsung’s main foldable competitor, Huawei, is also delaying its foldable smartphone, the Mate X. TechRadar attended a press event at Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters and learned the phone is “unlikely to come out before November.”
This marks the second delay for the futuristic smartphone. The Mate X was originally announced as launching in the “middle of 2019,” and then shortly after the announcement of the Trump administration’s export ban, Huawei told CNBC the phone would be delayed to September. It is theorized that the reason Samsung rushed the Galaxy Fold to market with such inadequate testing was because, after investing millions into the development of foldable displays, it had its foldable display technology stolen and had to scramble to beat its competitors to market. It’s ironic then, that the viable competitor Samsung has in the foldable space also delayed its device so much.
Huawei’s Mate X is easily the most futuristic looking phone of the year—assuming it comes out this year. A giant, 8-inch display wraps around the front and back of the device, and when closed, only the front half of the display lights up, giving you a 6.38-inch smartphone. When it’s time for some serious media consumption or multi-tasking, the device opens up into an 8-inch tablet. It sounds like an ideal form factor—a phone when you want a phone, and a tablet when you want a tablet. Smartphone futurism comes at a price, though: the Mate X has a breathtaking $2,600 price tag.
The first-generation trade-offs for early adopters will be numerous—foldable OLED displays are in their infancy, and there are concerns about their ability to stand up to all that movement and the rigors of daily life, especially after the Galaxy Fold’s delay. We also don’t have a durable, flexible display cover yet—the Mate X display cover is plastic, and since it wraps around the entire phone, putting the phone down means placing the delicate, plastic display cover directly on the table, where it can grind and scratch against whatever dirt and dust is on the tabletop. Corning, the maker of the industry-standard Gorilla Glass display cover, says it is developing a foldable glass for designs like this, but it will take a few years to come to market.
While Huawei didn’t quite have the high-profile design failures that Samsung did, it still made some changes to its foldable device compared to the renders and the prototypes shown earlier in the year. TechRadar reports that the hinge and hinge lock button have seen some design tweaks. Huawei says this be the last Mate X delay, as the company would like to get the phone out before the holiday shopping season.