Huawei originally expected its folding smartphone-tablet hybrid, Mate X, to ship in June, but delayed the device until September for “extra” tests. Now the 5G phone is being pushed back again, with a promised release by the end of 2019, potentially but not certainly November.
Mate X was the star of a glitzy Huawei event back in February, where it was touted as the “world’s fastest foldable 5G phone” — a jab at Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. The company suggested that its 8-inch diagonal unfolded display could be used to enhance a user’s on-the-go video viewing experience, while a 6.6-inch smartphone style screen could be used for everyday apps, making phone calls, and the like.
But after the Galaxy Fold was delayed over hinge- and screen-related engineering issues, Huawei paused the Mate X, suggesting that it wanted to make sure apps would be able to handle the transition between the smaller and larger displays. According to TechRadar, the second delay appears to be attributable to recent hardware changes, including improvements to the device’s screen hinge and a slimmer lock button, though key elements — a plastic screen cover and steel back — have remained unchanged. Consequently, Huawei is now completely ruling September out for the launch; it says the device is unlikely to arrive before November, but is certain it will launch before the end of 2019.
Given the Mate X’s $2,600 price tag, it’s hard to imagine that too many people were anxiously awaiting its release. At one point, it was expected to be the company’s first 5G smartphone, only to be beaten to market by the Mate 20 X 5G. And there’s no chance the expensive foldable will be future-proof: Huawei is already talking about a sequel with even more screens, though it has no release date, which is probably for the best at this point.