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Huawei delays launch of foldable Mate X following Galaxy Fold failure

Huawei delays launch of foldable Mate X following Galaxy Fold failure


But the US trade ban can’t have helped either

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Huawei has delayed the launch of its highly anticipated foldable phone, the Mate X, from June to September.

The Chinese tech giant told CNBC and The Wall Street Journal that it was doing extensive testing to make sure the device was ready for consumers, and that the company was taking a “cautious” approach following the failed launch of Samsung’s own foldable device, the Galaxy Fold. The Fold debuted in April but shipment of the phone has been indefinitely delayed after devices reviewed by multiple outlets broke in a matter of days.

“We don’t want to launch a product to destroy our reputation,” a spokesperson for Huawei told CNBC.

The bigger problem for Huawei, though, is not necessarily the reliability of relatively untested foldable technology — it’s the ongoing effects of the US trade ban.

Since Huawei was placed on the so-called Entity List, American firms have been unable to sell or license any technology to the firm. This has created all sorts of trouble for Huawei, most notably its inability to license the full version of Google’s Android operating system.

Whether or not the Mate X — if and when it ships in September — will come with Android is unclear. CNBC says that the Mate X will ship with Android because the phone was “launched before Huawei was placed on the Entity List,” but the WSJ says that this issue is still being discussed. The Verge has reached out to Huawei for clarification.

Alternatively, the phone might ship with Huawei’s own mobile OS, which it’s been developing for years. A spokesperson for the firm told CNBC that it would prefer to go with Google’s software but added: “If we are forced to do it by ourselves, we are ready. We can do in the next six-to-nine months.”

The Mate X was originally unveiled in February and was praised by some as the most promising of the new crop of foldable devices. It has a single 8-inch OLED panel that folds in two, 8GB of RAM, three cameras, 5G support, and costs roughly €2,299 ($2,600).