Huawei developing 5G folding phone

Richard Yu at the launch of the Huawei Mate 20 X

Defunct clamshell phones may have been the first template for a phone that folds, but a big touchscreen that folds and works on 5G networks may well be the future.

Before a bunch of Australian publications including Pickr made their way from our little spot on the underside of the world to the UK for the launch of the Huawei Mate 20, we all joked on what Huawei would launch.

We all knew the main event would be the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, and a day or two before we reached the airport, we already had one of the main products in our hands ready to play with, evident from our hands-on previews, but we yearned for more.

Speaking with WhistleOut’s Alex Choros and PCWorld’s Fergus Halliday, there was a belief Huawei would announce something foldable and something 5G.

We all joked that maybe the company would announce it in the same product, and that it would give the company a leg up over Samsung, where development of a foldable phone has been long rumoured. After all, that constant competition is what keeps momentum going in the industry.

Sadly, the Huawei Mate 20 event went on without any such announcement, at least to the Australian teams.

While we saw a few other gadgets, such as the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS and the massive 7.2 inch Mate 20 X, as well as a wearable or two, there was no such confirmation of the device.

At least not to any Australian publication, that is.

Two days after the event, overseas publication Digital Trends confirmed that Huawei is working on a combined device, with Huawei CEO Richard Yu telling Digital Trends that the company is building a 5G foldable phone from the template that is the Mate 20 X.

It makes a lot of sense, and with Australia getting one of the world’s first 5G networks, there’s a good chance it would arrive locally, giving Australians a device to take advantage of 5G networks on.

Interestingly, during our time with Huawei, its Managing Director for Australia, Larking Huang, told Pickr that the Mate 20 X was a phone Huawei CEO Richard Yu had asked the company to work on, paraphrasing it as “his baby”.

Given the need for a big screen with a big battery, it’s little surprise the Mate 20 X would serve as this template, and making a foldable variation intended to take advantage of 5G speeds could make for a multimedia machine of sorts, potentially giving Huawei a great starting point in the upcoming 5G launch.

We’ve heard rumours that 5G Huawei phone could even be called the “Mate X”, lending even more credibility to this use of the Mate 20 X as the 5G foldable phone template.

We’ll just have to wait and see to find out if the plans turn out to be as good as it sounds, and if Australia gets to see it in the flesh.

Leigh :) Stark traveled to London, UK as a guest of Huawei Australia for the launch of the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

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