Foldable Huawei Mate X on track for launch

5 July 2019   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Foldable phone from Chinese tech giant expected to be released in September 2019 following delays.

The launch of the Mate X was previously postponed for extra testing after their rival Samsung had difficulty with their own folding phone.

However, the price tag could be as high as £1,999 when it's released in the UK.

The news comes as Huawei's future in both the UK and beyond remains in doubt thanks to concerns over security risks and the US's ongoing trade war with China.

huawei mobile phone

What do we know about the Mate X?

Details on one model of the Mate X have been released so far, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, although further models are expected.

While we know it will use the Kirin 980 processor and have four cameras, the main attraction for this phone is undoubtedly the foldable screen.

Size-wise, the main screen is 8 inches (2480 x 2200px) and folds into two screens of 6.6 inches (2480 x 1148px) and 6.4 inches (2480 x 892px).

The reason one screen is slightly thinner is thanks to a bar grip on one side which makes the phone easier to hold, and Huawei have nicknamed the folding mechanism the 'Falcon Wing' hinge.

One notable difference between the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold is that the screen folds on to the outside of the phone rather than folding inwards.

Also, the Mate X is 5G-ready with a bespoke chip design that is completely backwards compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G services.

Delayed for testing

The Huawei Mate X was showcased back in February alongside the Samsung Galaxy Fold, with an expected launch date of sometime in the summer.

However, this was put back following Samsung's highly publicised issues with the screen of the Galaxy Fold, with Huawei opting to test further rather than risk a similar embarrassment.

This means the expected release date of September 2019 is several months behind schedule, but as Samsung have yet to set a revised date for the release of the Galaxy Fold, it's looking likely that Huawei will launch before them.

That said, reports from South Korea this week suggest Samsung have fixed the screen and mechanism issues, so a commercial launch date may not be far away.

Huawei's ongoing political problems

While the technology side of things may be working for Huawei, their future outside China is still under intense debate.

The UK Government has yet to decide on Huawei's involvement in UK core and non-core 5G equipment, with the matter unlikely to be resolved until after the new Conservative leader is selected.

Although the National Cyber Security Centre concluded in February that any risks posed by Huawei could be managed, many experts have claimed otherwise in the media.

If networks are forced to remove non-core Huawei technology from their equipment, it could take resources away from the deployment of 5G services, as Vodafone admitted recently.

Even more importantly for Huawei handset lovers is the ongoing spat between China and the US which led to Huawei being banned from some Android updates in May.

While the US President indicated sanctions might be lifted a few days ago, the Department of Commerce doesn't seem to have changed their advice on US firms selling to Huawei.

This leaves both Huawei and its customers worldwide confused about exactly what's going on, and whether Huawei and Google will be permitted any sort of working relationship in the future.

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