The Huawei Mate X has been unveiled in China, with the initial reception for the smartphone being warm and enthusiastic in the world’s most populous nation. With a similar fold to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, we’re witnessing a new dawn for smartphones – let the war of the foldables begin.
Galaxy Fold rivalry
It seems that the Huawei Mate X has learned from the mistakes of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, after the Korean corporation experienced difficulties with its first foldable smartphone. There was no communication with the user about a very obvious film that some thought was a temporary screen protector. Many had reported that after removing the film, the screen broke completely. Turns out, that film was an integral part of the design.
The Huawei Mate X follows suit with the vertical fold offering a book-like experience but has learnt from Samsung’s mistakes.
Having said that, Huawei clearly experienced problems in development, as the Mate X was delayed ahead of its release this month. There is no doubt that some of the technical issues relating to foldable smartphones have proved difficult to solve, and the likes of Apple will no doubt be watching the niche carefully, reflecting on the issues that Samsung and Huawei have already encountered.
Nonetheless, the Huawei Mate X stands out from the crowd, thanks to its folding screen being located on the external aspect of the phone. This is different to the Galaxy Fold and Motorola Razr, both of which features internally folding screens.
This means that the screen real estate of the Huawei Mate X is quite impressive, with the smartphone featuring a 6.6-inch screen on the front and a 6.38-inch screen on the back. When the device is unfolded, its screen measures 8-inches diagonally, and reception to its design has been positive.
Indeed, Huawei has informed the market that it has already sold out of its first provision of Mate X smartphones. This was achieved within a matter of minutes of the foldable handset going on sale, and the immediate future of the device certainly seems to be rosey.
While the Huawei Mate X has definitely proved to be a success in China, its release in other markets is less than certain. The company has come under heavy scrutiny in the United States, where the US government is concerned about Chinese snooping on US government activities.
Indeed, there are currently no announced plans to bring the device to other regions, which will be disappointing for the manufacturer, even though China has an ample consumer market thanks to its population in excess of one-billion. And Huawei has already planned a second cycle of Huawei Mate X releases for November 22, during which they expect all units to be snapped up at the price tag of 16,999 yuan (£1,900, around $2,495 / AU$3,559).
In the longer term, it will be interesting to see whether the Huawei Mate X remains durable over a period of time, as the Samsung Galaxy Fold met with a similarly enthusiastic reception from consumers initially. It is important for the manufacturer to retain a positive image, at a time when its sales of mobile devices have ballooned, and this in what is largely a stagnant industry in sales terms.