Huawei could beat Samsung and Apple to a foldable phone

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Chinese company Huawei wants the media buzz that would come with releasing the world's first foldable phone.
Chinese company Huawei wants the media buzz that would come with releasing the world's first foldable phone.
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr CC

Both Samsung and Apple are reportedly working on foldable phones, but China’s Huawei could be the first to get one on the market.

Phones that can unfold to the size of small tablets have the potential to shake up the mobile device industry in the coming years.

Huawei’s offering could be an all-China deal, Nikkei Asia Review reports it uses bendable OLED displays made my BOE Technology Group.

Not incidentally, BOE is trying to convince Apple to use its OLEDs in future iPhone models. A folding phone would be a great showcase of its capabilities.

It’s all about the foldable phone hype

Huawei allegedly plans to launch its foldable phone very early next year. The entire goal is supposedly just to draw attention to the company. The world’s first flexible smartphone will certainly generate media buzz, even if Huawei only expects to sell a few thousand of them. That’s why the Chinese company plans to beat Samsung to the punch.

Numerous media reports indicate Samsung plans to launch its foldable phone — which might be called the Galaxy X — in the first half of 2019. So it’s apparently a race between Huawei and Samsung.

If so, Apple is running a distant third. A foldable iPhone isn’t likely until 2020 at the earliest.

That said, neither of the first two bendable models are expected to be huge sellers. They’re almost certainly going to be very expensive, and exist mostly for bragging rights. Apple doesn’t do that sort of thing. If it releases a folding iPhone, it will be because the product is ready to sell by the million.