The Curse of the Folding Phone Continues As Huawei's Mate X Is Delayed [Updated]

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

At this point, the promise of a device with a tablet-sized screen that folds to the size of a smartphone for easy pocketing is starting to sound too good to be true. After missing the promised June release for its Mate X, Huawei now says the folding phone won’t be available until after November but is optimistic it could still arrive before the end of 2019.

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After the debacle with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which showed signs of easy damage and other technical problems after ending up in the hands of reviewers, Huawei decided to follow suit and delay the Mate X’s launch to ensure that its own hardware wasn’t as fragile and could survive the day to day abuse that most smartphones have to endure. Huawei pushed the launch of the Mate X to September, but at an event held at Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters earlier today, Tech Radar learned that “there’s no possibility of a September launch date anymore...,” although the company does insist the Mate X will still arrive sometime this year.

It’s not certain what fixes or changes Huawei is making to the Mate X, but to date, the company has been very protective of the device during hands-on opportunities with the press. After the problems with the Samsung Galaxy Fold were discovered, it’s safe to assume that Huawei is doing everything it can to address the Mate X’s folding hinge to prevent dirt and debris from getting inside, which is believed to be what caused damage to the Galaxy Fold’s flexible OLED display while it was in the hands of reviewers.

Huawei did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment and we’ll update this post when we receive a reply.

The delay potentially opens the door for Samsung to be the first company to officially release a smartphone with a folding screen, but it doesn’t appear to have any solid date for when the Galaxy Fold will arrive either. Both companies are hoping to make their respective devices, which received quite a bit of fanfare when revealed earlier this year, actually happen in 2019. But after Samsung’s PR disaster with the Fold’s faulty hardware, neither company wants to make that mistake again.

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Update, 11:41 a.m. EST/EDT: A spokesperson for Huawei has share an official statement regarding availability of the Mate X: “Huawei confirms that Mate X is still scheduled for launch between September and November 2019.”

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