Huawei’s new foldable phone spotted in an airport
Huawei mobile chief seen with Mate X prototype as Samsung teases September release for Galaxy Fold
The world got its first glimpse of Huawei’s foldable Mate X back in February, when it stole some of the limelight from rival Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Fold unveiling.
If that feels like forever ago, well, in a sense it was. Since then, reviewers finally got their hands on the Galaxy Fold -- and then promptly saw many of the units fail, forcing Samsung to delay their high-profile handset to implement some extra fixes. And despite claiming it was on track for June, Huawei also quietly delayed the Mate X.
Now Samsung is making headlines again by announcing that the Galaxy Fold is ready to go. And totally by coincidence, we have a burst of news on Huawei’s Mate X -- and even a sighting of the handset in the wild.
A Chinese tech blogger ran into Huawei’s mobile chief Richard Yu at the airport on the way to Shenzhen. The executive was carrying -- you guessed it -- a Mate X, which the blogger showed us in her Weibo post. Yu apparently said the foldable phone was finally on track for release in September.
These pictures offer a better look at the camera setup than what we’ve previously seen. They show four cameras on the grip to the side of the screen. They correspond to a 40 MP wide angle lens, a 16 MP ultra wide angle lens, an 8 MP telephoto lens, and a time-of-flight camera, according to Huawei’s website.
A quad camera setup makes sense for the Mate X. While most smartphones feature cameras on both the front and back, Huawei’s bendable phone puts all its cameras on one side. Since the device folds into one screen on each side, the user can switch between taking a regular photo and a selfie just by turning the device around.
It follows other developments over the last few days. A Huawei device described as “foldable” received approval from telecom regulation authorities, suggesting it’s ready to go on sale at anytime. The specs largely match with what’s already listed on Huawei’s official website, including 5G support.
While it’s clear why Samsung delayed their foldable phone, we still don’t know why Huawei chose to delay the Mate X. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X screen is on the outside of the fold. It means the fold itself is wider and more gentle, but it also means the screen is constantly exposed, leading to questions about how it might hold up.
China’s cutthroat smartphone market means everyone is trying to keep pace with everyone else. So it’s not unusual to see major announcements seemingly coming in bunches -- like how Oppo’s Weibo post showing off a selfie camera under the screen was followed hours later by Xiaomi demonstrating the same feature (but shot the month before, Xiaomi claims).
In this case, it might be unfair to label Huawei as a mere follower, since the Mate X has drawn a lot of praise. Plenty of journalists and pundits who’ve seen both handsets say the Huawei Mate X’s design and build seems superior to the Galaxy Fold, a handset that Samsung had proudly teased for years.