Huawei is reportedly planning to introduce a smartphone with a foldable display this November, recent reports indicate. LG is also supposedly supplying the display panels for the rumored device, sources from South Korea claim. The device that Huawei is likely to announce will be an inward-folding device instead of one that can fold outward as the latter solution is understood to still be difficult to manufacture with consistent yield rates.
While nothing is certain about the design of the foldable device or its technical specs, it was previously reported that Huawei patented a foldable smartphone with a flexible screen. The patent drawings, which surfaced on the World Intellectual Property Organization's website, reveal what looks like a smartphone that folds inward like a book with a hinge mechanism combined with a flexible display on top of it. The patent filing notes that the device will include a “soft supporting structure” which suggests that the hinge material may not be sole metal but could instead pack some cushion for bending. A patent filing does not necessarily guarantee a product is in development but at the very least does suggest that some design and concept are being or have been considered by the Chinese original equipment manufacturer.
Although it remains unclear whether Huawei intends to commercialize its foldable smartphone shortly after unveiling it, initial indications that Huawei could be planning to release such a device in 2018 came from none other than its Chief Executive Officer Richard Yu. Last October, Yu said that the company already built a functional prototype but was not ready to move to commercialize it as it still wanted to improve the concept. The prototype looked like the recently announced ZTE Axon M which has two separate screens connected via a conventional hinge but Huawei wants to reduce the bezel separating the two screens when the handset is folded out before thinking about a commercial release, according to the official.