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Huawei to shame Sam­sung with launch of ‘world’s first’ fold­able phone in ear­ly 2019

Chi­nese firm will use ‘infe­ri­or’ OLED in bid to ‘attract atten­tion’

Huawei to shame Samsung with launch of 'world's first' foldable phone in early 2019
Huawei to shame Sam­sung with launch of ‘world’s first’ fold­able phone in ear­ly 2019

CHINESE PHONE MAKER Huawei is report­ed­ly plan­ning to launch the first fold­able phone ear­ly next year ahead of Android rival Sam­sung.

While Sam­sung, which this week showed off its upcom­ing “unbreak­able” flex­i­ble OLED dis­play pan­el, has long held the lead in dis­play inno­va­tion, Nikkei reports that Huawei plans to use bendy OLED pan­els from the Chi­nese sup­pli­er Bei­jing Ori­en­tal Elec­tron­ics (BOE) for a lim­it­ed run of smart­phones that could arrive in “very ear­ly 2019.”

BOE, which will report­ed­ly man­u­fac­ture dis­plays for Apple’s OLED iPhones, might not be a recog­nis­able name to many, but the firm already demon­strat­ed its own Sam­sung-rivalling flex­i­ble OLED pan­els (below).

And even though BOE’s tech is said to be infe­ri­or to Sam­sung’s OLED, Huawei — now the world’s third largest phone mak­er — appar­ent­ly ain’t fussed, and sim­ply wants to be first to mar­ket to attract “atten­tion and media cov­er­age”.

Huawei’s planned vol­ume could be lim­it­ed to some 20,000 to 30,000 units, or even less, for a small group of first-wave adopters,” one per­son famil­iar with Huawei’s said to Nikkei. “The effort is main­ly to demon­strate its tech­nol­o­gy capa­bil­i­ty and to attract the indus­try’s atten­tion and media cov­er­age.”

Huawei’s ambi­tious plan might not come off, though, as the report notes that “the launch date will depend on tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment and the dura­bil­i­ty of such pan­els, which still needs improve­ment.”

Beyond Huawei’s ambi­tions to beat Sam­sung to mar­ket, there are no addi­tion­al details about the fold­able phone.

We know quite a bit about Sam­sung’s fold­able device, though. The so-called Galaxy X, which new reports claim could arrive as the Galaxy F (for, er, foldy?) will like­ly fea­ture a 7.3in OLED screen when open, and 4.5in when fold­ed in.

The “super high-end” phone will also fea­ture a curved bat­tery under the hood, and is rumoured to cost about $1900 upon release (£1,440).

Sam­sung, which has been show­ing off fold­able smart­phone pro­to­types behind closed doors for the past five years, is report­ed­ly “rush­ing to devel­op” the Galaxy X device so that it’s ready for an unveil­ing at next year’s Mobile World Con­gress, which will take place a month after the­Galaxy S10’s rumoured CES launch. µ

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