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Tidal wave of foldable phones

February 27, 2019.

Huawei Mate X.

Huawei Mate X. © Vlad Savov, The Verge.

No sooner had Samsung introduced its Galaxy Fold than the competition leveraged the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to unveil their own version of the foldable phone. 2019 will be known as Year I of the era of foldable phones, with Huawei, Oppo, TCL and Motorola making their mark.

Huawei is taking a totally different approach compared to Samsung, putting its Mate X display (8-inch 2,480 × 2,200 OLED) on the outside of the phone. When the device is closed, the OLED panel splits into two “virtual” screens, one on the front with 2480×1148 pixels (6.6-inch) and the other on the rear side with 2480 × 892 pixels (6.38-inch). The back screen is smaller due to a vertical bar that runs along the side of the phone and that houses 3 cameras, a flash and the power button. If you’re wondering about the use of a back screen, it’s to take selfies – after all, all the cameras are on the back. On the inside is the proprietary Kirin 980 processor, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and 2 batteries totalling 4,500 mAh. If you were already suffering from sticker shock at Samsung’s 1,980 USD price tag, sit down now: the Mate X will sell for 2,600 USD. Availability is promised for sometime this year. While Samsung’s design had been greeted with skepticism, Huawei’s was cheered by pundits.

Oppo foldable phone.

Oppo foldable phone. © Brian Shen, Oppo.

After Huawei’s announcement, Brian Shen, Vice-President at Oppo, posted photos of a prototype with a design very similar to Huawei’s on Weibo, the Chinese social networking site, with no further information. Still in Barcelona, TCL unveiled a non-functional prototype with a 7,2-inch display with its own hinge design, called DragonHinge.


DragonHinge. © Vlad Savov, The Verge.

Motorola foldable phone.

© Motorola.

Not to be left behind, Motorola confirmed that they too are working on a foldable phone, though their approach differs in that it won’t be a telephone-to-tablet concept, but a more compact Razr-like device.

Ars Technica, “Move over Samsung, Huawei’s foldable smartphone is an absolute stunner.”

The Verge, “Huawei has the best first draft for a foldable phone.” — “I held the future in my hands, and it was foldable.”

Ars Technica, “Oppo’s foldable smartphone is another futuristic wraparound display device.”

The Verge, “TCL’s foldable phone prototype is untouchable for now.”

Engadget, “Motorola confirms its foldable phone is coming.”