Opinion

Huawei silently admits defeat, lets Samsung lead the way to foldables

Samsung is the world’s top foldable smartphone manufacturer and it’s amusing to think that Huawei and the Mate X were considered a threat to Samsung and the emerging Galaxy Fold a few years ago. The first skirmish between the two companies, or rather between the Huawei Mate X and the Galaxy Fold was short but nonetheless interesting. Each OEM had its own idea of what purpose this new foldable display technology should fulfil, and this led to the Mate X and the Galaxy Fold looking very different from one another.

Samsung had the idea of fitting the innovative Foldable Dynamic AMOLED panel on the inside of the Galaxy Fold, whereas Huawei took the exact opposite approach and fitted its Mate X with a foldable display on the outside. It was an interesting time period for foldables because each company was trying to leave its mark on the emerging segment and define it according to its own vision and values.

Fans watched from the sidelines and tried to guess which form factor will come out victorious, though it didn’t take long for most people to realize that Samsung’s implementation of the foldable display was far superior. Now, Huawei has finally realized the same.

Huawei throws in the towel and takes Samsung’s example

Fast forward to the present and Huawei is no longer attempting to define the foldable segment, or at the very least, the company is no longer challenging Samsung’s vision of what form factor a foldable smartphone-tabled hybrid should have. Instead, the Chinese tech giant seems content to follow Samsung’s example.

The so-called Huawei Mate X2 was recently leaked in renders and it looks very different from the original Mate X and Mate Xs. Much like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, the upcoming Huawei flagship has a foldable panel on the inside and a flat outer display that happens to feature a pill-shaped cutout for the selfie camera. In fact, the Huawei Mate X2 looks a little bit too much like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, to the point where it almost feels like Huawei gave up on the idea of designing its own foldable. And no, the foldable panel doesn’t have an in-display camera. According to preliminary leaks, the phone simply lacks a selfie sensor on the inside.

At the end of the day, we can’t blame Huawei for trying to challenge Samsung’s vision initially, and even though we could now accuse Huawei and the Mate X2 for lacking originality, this turn of events was inevitable. Sooner or later someone had to come out on top with a winning formula for this emerging premium segment, and others had to follow. It just so happens that Samsung won this competition and it’s now carrying the torch for everyone else.

The fight is only beginning, so get ready for round 2

What’s important to keep in mind is that even though Huawei has thrown in the towel by adopting Samsung’s form factor, the company will now have more time to focus on improving its foldable’s internal hardware and/or software experience, so it could actually become a threat to Samsung’s foldable portfolio for real this time, at least in China where the Huawei brand remains popular.

If the first round gave us a winning form factor, the second round is when the real fight between foldables begins. And with Huawei arguably having to spend fewer resources on inventing something from nothing, the Mate X2 could become an actual competitor to the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing for Samsung to face stronger opposition in the foldable segment either, as this could lead to further innovations. Then again, Samsung is already working on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and if the latest rumors turn out to be true then the next-gen device is already a few steps ahead of its competitors. For now, Huawei remains in Samsung’s shadow while the latter is leading the way.

  • Model: SM-F916B
  • Dimensions: Folded: 159.2 x 68.0 x 16.8 mm
    Unfolded: 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9 mm
  • Display: 7.6 inch / 193.04 mm Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • CPU: Snapdragon 865+
  • Camera: 12MP
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