Huawei's folding smartphone, the Mate X, won't be ready until just before the holidays based on news stemming from a recent company press event. It won't be exactly the same device that was expected, either.
The change in expectations surrounding the launch date is the result of ongoing revisions and tweaks to the design that have reportedly made a launch next month impossible. While a holiday launch may bring the benefit of bolstered sales, the launch could also be pushed back even further. Huawei is confident that it can bring its folding smartphone to market before 2020. A December arrival may not be out of the question though.
Design changes impacting the launch date include alterations to make the 'locking' button slimmer so that it doesn't protrude as much. Huawei made some adjustments to the hinge design as well. But One of the biggest contributions to the delay may actually come down to weight. Huawei's design team attempted to make to lower the overall weight of the gadget by utilizing aluminum instead of steel as the primary build material.
Huawei was expected to start sales in September in limited quantities.
Designs that could be coming next generation
Huawei's folding smartphone for this generation may not be arriving soon enough for some and isn't going to be as refined as might be hoped. The company is certainly not leaving concepts that didn't work this time off the table though. Several design ideas were reportedly abandoned by Huawei with this Mate X. The company allegedly hopes to incorporate those changes in the next generation of the gadget.
Among those, according to the source, is a concept featuring additional displays at the back of the device or extending out from the bottom. That leads off from at least one idea put forward by Huawei's team for this generation's Mate X.
Among proposed changes, the team wanted to incorporate a glass back — with aluminum apparently failing for reasons pertaining to structural integrity. It also looked at including more display space in the design. That might mean utilize that glass as a secondary display.
Conversely, the company may look to include a secondary display on the front of the device on the rounded portion where the charging port is located. That space could speculatively be used for notifications and touch interactions.
So much for a robust folding smartphone competition
Huawei isn't the only handset manufacturer planning to launch a flexible fold-up smartphone. Samsung had planned to lead the charge with its Galaxy Fold while selling its technology to other companies. The goal was to allow those companies to follow suit and rapidly saturate the mainstream market.
Samsung encountered serious issues with the hinge design on its device during a reviewer-led promotional testing period. That forced a major delay for the tech giant. So if Huawei manages to launch its Mate X to market by November, it will likely to be first instead.
Another big competitor that's missing from the arena is LG. The South Korean tech giant generally provides some of Samsung's stiffest competition in the display space. That hasn't helped LG ready a tablet-smartphone hybrid to rival Samsung and Huawei's just yet, either.
So Huawei's might not only be the first OEM to market with a folding smartphone. It may be one of just a select few as work continues to perfect the technology.