Bottom line: Smartphone manufacturers pitched foldable smartphones as the next major innovation in wireless but it’s now clear that their ambitions were a bit too lofty. Even after showing off flexible prototype displays for years, the tech still isn’t ready for mainstream consumer devices.
Add Huawei to the growing list of companies that have been bitten by the first mover bug. During a press event at Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters on Thursday, TechRadar learned that Huawei’s foldable Mate X will miss its planned September launch date and is unlikely to drop before November.
First announced at Mobile World Congress in February, the premium Mate X folding phablet was supposed to touch down in June but was pushed back following Samsung’s disastrous Galaxy Fold pre-launch.
PSA: There’s a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold’s display. It’s NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
If you recall, Samsung sent a batch of Galaxy Fold test units to members of the tech media but almost immediately, the devices started failing due to a major design flaw. Others were inadvertently ruining their review units by peeling off a protective layer of the display that wasn’t meant to be removed (the reviewers mistook it for a factory installed screen protector).
Samsung postponed the launch of the Galaxy Fold to investigate the matter and ended up tweaking the design for improved durability. A proper launch is now scheduled for September.
As for the Mate X which some feel is the more impressive of the two foldables, Huawei is certain it will launch before the end of 2019. And the company apparently has plenty of other ideas in mind for future revisions, too, including swapping out the rear steel cover for a glass panel, adding a “sheet” style display that could extend from the bottom of the phone and replacing the plastic displays with glass.
Most of these are still many years out – potentially even a decade – as the tech to make them happen hasn’t yet been refined (we’re still waiting on fully flexible glass, for example).