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Huawei filed patent for revamped foldable phone

Image credit: reuters

Huawei Technologies has filed a patent for a new foldable phone design which conceals the large display inside the device.

Despite considerable anticipation about the technology, the first foldable phones have had a difficult start. Samsung's Galaxy Fold attracted headlines for all the wrong reasons when the screens of sample phones sent to reviewers were reported to be breaking after just days or hours of use

Samsung chose to place its unfolding screen on the inside of the device (such that it is always protected) and an extra display on the front of the device, like the cover of a book. Even before reports of screen failures, the design was criticised for its awkward appearance when folded and for the size and odd proportions of the outside screen. 

It is not known when the Galaxy Fold will become commercially available.

Unlike Samsung, Huawei chose to place its large unfolding screen around the exterior of its rival product: the Mate X. The technical failures of the Galaxy Fold led Huawei to delay the launch of the Mate X from June to September in order to conduct additional screen durability tests. This is particularly important to Huawei to get right, given the vulnerability of the Mate X’s exposed screen.

The two foldable phones were revealed this year at Mobile World Congress, with the Galaxy Fold starting at $1,980 and the Mate X starting at $2,600.

Now, LetsGoDigital has identified a patent filed by Huawei in July 2018 which shows a new foldable phone design with some features in common with the Galaxy Fold.

Like Samsung’s device, this device has a screen which folds inwards. When folded, however, the phone looks more symmetric than the Galaxy Fold. The device has a full edge-to-edge screen and no notch, with Huawei’s characteristic three-lens camera set mounted on its side.

Huawei Mate X2 concept

Huawei via LetsGoDigital

Image credit: Huawei via LetsGoDigital

It is not known whether Huawei will ever develop this foldable phone concept, particularly given its central position in the mounting trade war between the US and China. In May this year, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order adding Huawei to the ‘Entity List’, essentially forbidding US companies (including Google, Intel, and other essential partners) from working with the company. If the dispute is not resolved in the coming months, Huawei could be forced to rely on its own chips and even launch its own OS.

Meanwhile, Google has announced that it will no longer be making tablets and has cancelled its two anticipated tablet launches. Its Pixel Slate device, launched last year, met with lukewarm reviews. Instead, the company will focus its hardware efforts on smartphones and traditional laptops, like the more warmly received Pixelbook.

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