The Mate X, Huawei’s much-delayed folding phone, is finally going on sale next month. This news was announced by the company at a launch event today in Shenzhen attended and reported on by Sina Digital.
Unfortunately for anyone eager to be among its early adopters, Huawei’s Mate X won’t be available outside of China. At least, for now.
Initially, Huawei showed off the Mate X back in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This is where the foldable phone became an instant challenger to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.
However, Huawei has taken a different approach as compared to Samsung in designing its foldable phone. Rather than the device opening like a book to reveal a larger screen on the inside, the Mate X has a wraparound outside display that’s accessible even when the phone is closed.
This should make it more usable as a conventional phone than the Galaxy Fold, but the plastic-covered screen faces an even greater durability challenge since it’s constantly exposed.
The Mate X is also a 5G phone with Huawei’s Kirin 980 processor and Barong 5000 modem and has a dual-cell 4,500mAh battery that can reportedly be filled to 85% in half an hour, with 55W fast charging. The screen is 8 inches diagonal when unfolded, while when folded, it’s like having a 6.6-inch screen phone on the front and a 6.38-inch panel on the back.
The Mate X will be available from Nov. 15 from 16,999 yuan ($2,400, £1,860) which gets you a model with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
“Our strategy is based on carriers’ 5G roll out in different regions,” said a spokesman for Huawei. “So far, Huawei has made the Huawei Mate X available in the China market on Nov. 15. A global launch plan is under review.”
For global consumers who really want a Mate X, a little patience could pay off in the long run. The initial version of the phone will pack Huawei’s Kirin 980 chip, but a subsequent model, the Mate Xs, coming in 2020 will feature specs more akin to the recently released Mate 30, including the updated Kirin 990 chip, which Huawei only announced back in September.
This limited launch is consistent with the weird state of foldable phones this year as we saw Samsung forced to pull back the launch date of the Galaxy Fold when some early review units broke or saw their displays fail. Huawei on the other hand also delayed the release of the Mate X after initially targeting a summer launch. Motorola likewise delayed the release of its rumoured foldable Razr phone.
For those who had been holding off buying a Galaxy Fold in favour of the Mate X, you might be frustrated at having to wait a little longer. Although we need to consider that the Mate X is a whole new style of phone, hence why Huawei is keen to see how the phone is received within China before it puts it out into the wider world.
Another thing to consider if you’re waiting to get the device is that just as with the Huawei Mate 30, the Mate X will be running an open-source version of Android and won’t offer the full range of Google apps and services you might be used to. This is all as a result of being placed on a US watchlist due to national security concerns.
At today’s event, Huawei also announced that it had shipped 200 million phones so far this year, having reached that milestone 64 days earlier than it did last year. This is real proof of the company’s resilience, but more is to be proven once we have year-on-year results that factor in Google-less phones like the Mate 30 Pro.