This week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Huawei unveiled their competition for Samsung’s new foldable 5G-enabled phone, the Huawei Mate X. For just a cool £1996, the phone is able to fold completely flat, going from an 8” iPad Mini-like display to two 6.8” and 6.6” displays on the front and back. Cameras and a fingerprint sensor are all contained in a slightly thicker strip alongside the smaller of the two screens, which doubles as a grip when the phone is unfolded.
There are two batteries in both phones, for longer battery life, and promises that they are designed to be folded and unfolded thousands of times without any problems. This doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t fragile though. This design means the Mate X can be folded flatter than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and is also thinner at its largest point, by a whole 6mm (a lot considering the phone itself is 11mm thick).
The Fold is expected to go on sale at £1515 in just two months’ time. The Galaxy Fold, unveiled last week, has a 7.3” screen when unfolded, and a single 4.6” display when shut, as the screen folds inwards unlike the Mate X. Both handset-tablet hybrids launch with 5G capability, something that a lot of the latest smartphones are releasing with in anticipation to the arrival of the UK’s first 5G capable network this year. At the same time as releasing the Galaxy Fold, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 5G, a 5G capable version of their newest single-screened flagship, the S10. Although, it is likely that 5G will not gain any broad geographical connections until at least 2020 or 2021.
In this writer’s opinion, the foldable phone is just another gimmick for now. While there is a lot of
potential and attractiveness at packing such a big screen into a small package these designs are still immature and the actual application of such a device in real life scenarios is uncertain. But once the technology is conquered then maybe it could be the next big thing. The fact that three of the top five smartphone manufacturers, including leaders Huawei and Samsung, have put research into these designs suggests that there is definitely potential in the market for this kind of innovative thinking and money to be made regardless.