In news that is sure to worry Samsung, Huawei now looks set to beat them to market with the world's first foldable phone, a move that would leave the much-hyped Galaxy X folding handset dead and buried.
The shocking revelation comes courtesy of a Nikkei report (opens in new tab) out of China this week, which claims that Huawei, who is now the world's third largest smartphone maker, has been pouring resources into its folding phone program with just one aim: beat the Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone to market.
Quoting a person "familiar with Huawei's plan", the report states that:
"Huawei's planned volume [for its foldable phone] could be limited to some 20,000 to 30,000 units, or even less, for a small group of first-wave adopters. The effort is mainly to demonstrate its technology capability and to attract the industry's attention and media coverage."
What's more, the report also includes commentary from analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting Jeff Pu, who notes that the Huawei foldable will hit the market in "very early 2019", before clarifying the Chinese maker's position:
"[Huawei] wants to be the first in the industry even if the display technology from its panel supplier might not be that ready like Samsung."
Now, regular readers to T3 will recall that the idea that Huawei could beat Samsung to market with a folding phone is not new, as we reported on the potential Galaxy X killer back in April this year.
And that was after we'd delivered the news back in March that Huawei CEO Richard Yu had stated that the Chinese company had a working prototype of a flexible smartphone up and running.
As such, despite a folding phone not officially confirmed by Huawei, this latest report makes sense to us at T3, as it tallies well with many previous reports and information leaks about the company's aims and folding technology.
It also makes sense because, as aforementioned, Huawei is now the third largest smartphone maker in the world and, with Samsung and Apple (the world's top two phone makers) rumoured to be hard at work developing folding smartphone technology of their very own, it would make no sense at all for it not to compete, as it would leave a big innovation hole in its smartphone portfolio.
The only other details that emerge about the Huawei folding phone in the Nikkie report is that the maker intends to use flexible OLED screens from Chinese supplier Beijing Oriental Electronics (BOE) in the handsets, which is another move that could come as a big blow to Samsung.
Why? Simple. Until very recently Samsung had the OLED screen production market all tied up, with many rival phone makers sourcing their screens from them. However, only last month we reported on the news that Apple was set to start sourcing some of its new iPhone OLED displays from LG Display instead, so it looks like OLED mobile phone screen expertise has proliferated rapidly in 2018, increasing competition for Samsung not just at a device level, but a component level, too.
Where this leaves the race to produce the best folding phone is still unclear right now, as there are so many makers in the race. However, this report seems to indicate that Huawei is neck-and-neck with Samsung for pole position.
For us, the consumers? It leaves us on the verge of a massive leap forward in smartphone tech in 2019, with a foldable, 5G-enabled device a tantalisingly close possibility.
Via: The Verge (opens in new tab)