Huawei announced on October 23 that the company’s much-delayed folding phone, the 5G Mate X, is finally going on sale in China on November 15, as it ramps up marketing at home to make up for weak overseas sales amid U.S. trade sanctions.
The phone was originally set to launch in June but the release was delayed as the company was forced to deal with tech supply chain disruptions after being blacklisted by the US government in May.
Foldable smartphones from Huawei and Samsung attracted quite a lot of public attention at Mobile World Congress early this year, but launches were postponed as companies had to fine tune the technology.
When unfolded, the screen is 8 inches diagonally, and when closed it’s like having a phone with a 6.6-inch screen on the front and a 6.38-inch panel on the back. It is powered by the Kirin 980 chipset, the Balong 5000 5G modem, and houses a 4,500mAh battery that can reportedly be filled to 85 percent in half an hour with 55W fast charging. The phone comes with 8GB RAM, 512GB of internal storage and is priced at ¥16,999 (~$2,405).
Huawei smartphone sales in Europe plummeted by 16% year on year in the second quarter. In the same period, domestic shipments of Huawei smartphones soared 38% year on year, which analysts said stemmed from patriotic fervor among Chinese shoppers in response to US restrictions on the company.
It is not clear whether Huawei’s Mate X will reach international markets. At the launch event, vice president of Huawei’s consumer business unit, He Geng, disclosed that Huawei doesn’t have a timetable for overseas sales as demand in China has already required most of their production capacity.
Considering the hefty price tag, and the fact that it might not support Google apps and other blocked US-apps, the device may not gain much traction in non-Chinese markets.