Huawei is working on a 5G foldable phone, the Mate 20 X may be its template

huawei folding 5g phone richard yu interview london oct 2018 2
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei CEO Richard Yu may have given us a clue for the eventual size of its first foldable smartphone. We can say for certain this device will operate on 5G networks, as Yu confirmed this in an interview with Digital Trends and select international media representatives during the launch of the Huawei Mate 20 range,

“We are working on foldable phones,” Yu said. Foldable 5G phones.”

Huawei’s 5G ambitions are no secret, meaning this should come as no surprise. It has invested considerably in 5G infrastructure and technology, has spoken out about plans for 5G devices and networks in 2019 before, and revealed the world’s first commercialized 5G chipset at the beginning of the year.

This is the first time the company has linked 5G to its foldable phone. A Huawei executive had previously spoken about the potential for a foldable phone from the company, and hinted it may come in 2019, while Yu has also discussed the potential of such a device. During our interview in London, Yu expanded slightly on the project’s progress, and said the phone was “not commercialized yet.”

“Maybe sometime we will launch that, but not this time,” he said.

Mate 20 X

While we have not seen the phone, and know nothing about the potential specification or size, Yu steered the conversation in a different direction, which may give us a hint at the potential size of a Huawei foldable phone.

“Before the foldable phones, we are introducing the Huawei Mate 20 X,” he said. “It is 7.2-inch, but in your hand, it’s not so big, not so bulky.”

“We are working on foldable phones. Foldable 5G phones.

The Huawei Mate 20 X is one of the biggest smartphones — in terms of screen size — we’ve ever seen. The device itself, however, is surprisingly compact and the body is very slim. We can speculate the Mate 20 X is a template for the eventual folding phone, particularly due to the timing in our conversation with Yu. Naturally, it’s also his job to highlight the latest devices, rather than talk about possible future ones during these interviews, so it may also be coincidental.

That said, the whole idea of a folding phone is to provide a larger screen without the need to carry around a large phone. If the 7.2-inch Mate 20 X folded in half, it would be considerably more manageable, without sacrificing the big-screen mobile experience. At the very least, it helps us better imagine the benefits of a folding phone.

Huawei has not officially announced a folding phone, and while it’s now certain the company is working on a 5G prototype, this is not evidence that the device in question will ever be released.


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