Huawei's First 5G Android Smartphone Will Also Be Foldable

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In short: Huawei's first Android smartphone with 5G support will also feature a foldable display, the company's rotating Chairman Ken Hu said at the latest iteration of the World Economic Forum. The handset in question will be introduced in mid-2019, though the official didn't clarify whether the product will also end up launching as Huawei's very first bendable phone.

Background: Huawei is said to have considered trying to beat Samsung in the foldable handset race by releasing such a device as early as this fall, though Mr. Hu's newest statement may imply those plans have been delayed. With Samsung reportedly planning to debut its first phone with a bendable screen this November, Huawei likely doesn't have enough time to finalize development so as to announce its own offering beforehand. Despite its likely November announcement, Samsung's Galaxy F or however the device ends up being called isn't expected to become available for purchase before early 2019. Huawei's foldable handset is rumored to feature an 8-inch screen from Chinese panel maker BOE and attempt to combine the smartphone and tablet form factors, whereas Samsung is said to have specifically focused on delivering an offering that isn't just a more portable tablet, though details on both products remain slim.

Impact: Despite likely delaying the release of its premier foldable handset to mid-2019, Huawei is still likely to be among the first manufacturers to commercialize such a product. Combined with 5G connectivity and the phone-to-PC platform first introduced with last year's Mate 10 lineup, the company may have a shot at convincing some consumers to replace their laptops with bendable handsets, which is its current goal, as CEO Richard Yu explained in an interview earlier this month. Due to the sheer number of innovative technologies it's set to feature, Huawei's first foldable mobile device is likely to sport a price tag well above $1,000.

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