Samsung earlier this week announced that it will try again to launch the Galaxy Fold, this time in September. After it delayed the release of the device days before its April 26th launch date, it went back to the drawing board to make some improvements. The company extended the plastic film on the internal screen past the bezels on the phone. This will prevent it from being peeled off, which several influencers did with their review units causing them to stop working. Samsung also capped the openings at the top and bottom of the device's hinge to prevent debris from entering the Galaxy Fold; this happened to at least one influencer who noted that the debris caused a bulge on the internal 7.3-inch display. Samsung also reinforced the screen by adding metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex display and reduced the space between the hinge and the body of the phone.
Also expected to be released in September is the Huawei Mate X. Originally scheduled for a June release, the outwards folding device (as opposed to the inwards folding Galaxy Fold) has been delayed for three months. During the time that the Mate X has been sidelined, Huawei has apparently revised the device. A picture posted on Weibo (via Android Police) shows the head of Huawei's consumer division, Richard Yu, holding the foldable in his hands. On the back, it appears that a fourth camera has been added and reportedly it is a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor. This measures the time it takes for infrared beams to bounce off of a subject and return to the phone. This data can be used to produce 3D maps for a secure facial recognition system and an improved bokeh effect on portraits. And the material hosting the camera assembly and covering the hinge in the middle of the Mate X now appears to be carbon fiber (or perhaps a material made up to look like carbon fiber).
Which phone will be released first, the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Huawei Mate X?
The Huawei Mate X will be priced at the equivalent of $2,600 USD compared to the $1,980 cost of the Galaxy Fold. However, unlike Samsung's foldable, the Mate X is not going to be available in the U.S. It will have the Google Play Services version of Android since it was licensed before the company ended up banned from accessing its U.S. supply chain in May. Folded, the front display measures 6.6-inches with a resolution of 1148 x 2480 pixels. The rear display weighs in at 6.4-inches and carries a resolution of 892 x 2480. When fully opened, the Mate X becomes an 8-inch tablet with a near square resolution of 2200 x 2480. The phone is powered by Huawei's home-grown Kirin 980 SoC; this is the same chipset that you'll find inside the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro. It will be equipped with 8GB of memory and 512GB of storage. Those seeking additional storage can access the phone's 256GB capacity microSD slot.
When it was unveiled in February, this is what the back of the Huawei Mate X looked like
Besides the ToF sensor, the rear camera will consist of a 40MP primary (with an aperture of f/1.8), an 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 16MP Ultra wide-angle camera. The Mate X will support 5G connectivity and will be equipped with a 4500mAh battery.
This is what the back of the Huawei Mate X looks like now
Neither Samsung nor Huawei will be the first to release a foldable phone. That happened last year with the launch of the Royale FlexPai. But both manufacturers would like to be known as the first major manufacturer to launch a foldable phone and it is going to be interesting to see whether Samsung or Huawei prevails. The good news for consumers is that it appears both companies went back to the drawing board and made some changes to their respective devices. This shows how serious both companies are. If the foldable segment is going to eventually be more than just a niche market, the first devices from companies like Samsung and Huawei need to leave a good impression with consumers.
A redesigned Huawei Mate X turns up in the hands of Huawei executive Richard Yu