At the beginning of the year, pundits and enthusiasts were sure that 2019 would be the year of the foldable smartphones with rather promising offers from Samsung and Huawei but that future now seems bleak to say the least.
Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was first from the major OEMs to hit the market but even that didn’t quite make it to people’s pockets as initial review units to the press started breaking. This was a rather big blow to the whole foldable phone movement and Huawei is citing this as their reason for delaying the launch of their Mate X.
The Mate X was originally unveiled in February and was praised by some as the most promising of the new crop of foldable devices. It has a single 8-inch OLED panel that folds in two, 8GB of RAM, three cameras, 5G support, and costs roughly €2,299 ($2,600).
The Chinese tech giant told CNBC and The Wall Street Journal that it was doing extensive testing to make sure the device was ready for consumers, and that the company was taking a “cautious” approach following the failed launch of Samsung’s own foldable device, the Galaxy Fold. The Fold debuted in April but shipment of the phone has been indefinitely delayed after devices reviewed by multiple outlets broke in a matter of days.
“We don’t want to launch a product to destroy our reputation,” a spokesperson for Huawei told CNBC.
The bigger problem for Huawei, though, is not necessarily the reliability of relatively untested foldable technology — it’s the ongoing effects of the US trade ban.