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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