Huawei’s CEO of consumer Richard Yu has said the company’s Mate X foldable smartphone will be re-released with an improved hinge, a hardier display and the newer Kirin 990 chipset. Yu made the comments to French press including Frandroid.
The plastic display of the Mate X necessarily wraps around the outside of the device, meaning it is always on show and susceptible to permanent damage.
The Mate X was originally launched at MWC 2019, but the phone has not seen a global release despite going on sale in China. Yu reportedly suggested Huawei will relaunch the updated Mate X at MWC 2020, which takes place in February in Barcelona.
This should be the Mate Xs model which was teased at the official Mate X launch in China.
It’s not clear if the newer Mate X would ship with Google services, and the absence of the Mate X at all in the western market suggests Huawei is unable to provide it on the first model. Thanks to a US trade ban, Huawei’s relationship with Google has suffered greatly.
Huawei told The Verge: “Our strategy is based on carriers’ 5G roll out in different regions. So far, Huawei has made the Huawei Mate X available in the China market on November 15. A global launch plan is under review.”
The Chinese company’s newest phones have shipped without access to Google services or the Google Play Store, significantly stunting Huawei’s lightning fast growth in the West.
It’s not the best look for the company if it has to update a year-old phone to newer specs and then has to release it without Google services. The Samsung Galaxy Fold had its share of issues, but it is on the market globally now.
If Huawei indeed has had to improve the hinge, screen and chipset then perhaps it has done well to not suffer the same PR crisis Samsung did by giving the phone to reviewers too early.
At 16,999 yuan (£1,850 at the time of writing) the Mate X is not a cheap device. Its difficulties prove first-generation foldable phones will be remembered for delays and fragility as much as their forward thinking innovation.