Huawei’s next phone could be a foldable.VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Huawei has just published a patent which shows it’s working on a folding phone that’s radically different from anything it’s done before, and which could be the handset to make folding phones the norm.
After all, so far there have been tablets that fold to become the size of a thick, heavy version of a regular phone, like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate Xs.
And then there are the phones that seem to me to be much more likely to make folders mainstream. That’s where you start with something that looks more or less like a typical smartphone but then folds in half to become something much smaller and unbelievably convenient. You can slip it into the smallest pocket
So far, there have been a couple of these: The Motorola RAZR and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. The RAZR was criticised for not having some of the latest tech on board while the Z Flip, though beautiful and capable, felt a little bit fragile. You can read my in-depth review here.
The drawings and renders suggest a phone with a notch and central camera at the top, and a line of cameras on the back.
So, why could this be a game-changer?
My guess is that if Huawei really does make a clamshell phone like this, that it will throw everything at it. It will have a solid build (the Mate Xs is beautifully designed with strong build quality) and the latest processor, cameras and so on.
So, it could really change how people feel about folding phones. The pocketability of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, for instance, is sensational. If Huawei can sort issues such as the display itself (there’s a curious flexible protective cover on the Z Flip and the join between the two halves is visible), then it has a shot at creating folding phone that’s popular and usable, instead of just eye-catching and expensive.
Of course, in the current situation, it’s unlikely to have Google Mobile Services on it, but with each day, Huawei’s alternative app store gets more and more diverse.
The just-published patent dates from 2019, so it’s possible the real thing could be released this year. Maybe before the Mate 40 series expected in the Fall.