After Samsung, it's Huawei's turn to unveil a foldable smartphone. With the top two OEMs in the world drawing their weapons, it's clear that the war over folding smartphones has indeed begun. Samsung vs Huawei: who is best placed to win?
While Samsung had used the Galaxy S10 event to announce its first folding smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, Huawei used its Mobile World Congress press conference a few days later to do the same for the Huawei Mate X. It was Richard Yu, the CEO of the Chinese company, who unveiled it to the general public. We've already had our hands on the device and came away quite impressed.
A technological challenge...
In this battle between the world's two leading manufacturers, there is, of course, a rivalry in the race for innovation. In an ultra-competitive market, it is important to stand out in the high-end segment and to offer the most passionate users the latest innovations in terms of technology, even at very high prices. Royole, until now unknown to the mainstream, had drawn the first one with the Flexpai, but the big brands had of course also their plans.
Between Samsung and Huawei, two schools compete on folding smartphones: Samsung allows you to use your smartphone as a book (with the screen as two inside pages) while Huawei offers a single outside screen that folds and unfolds. There is no doubt that other proposals for foldable smartphones should arrive later this year, and it will be interesting to follow the evolution of these concepts in the coming years and see which one will be the most popular with the general public.
... and an economic one
The stakes are high for the two mobile phone giants. The smartphone market is in decline and the folding smartphone represents a tremendous opportunity to revive the market. If this year's sales of foldable smartphones are expected to be negligible, particularly because of high prices and a mobile OS that is not yet well suited to the format, they could take off in future years.
In a race for innovation, it was impossible for Huawei, whose ambitions are to become the number one, to leave the field to his South Korean rival. However, at first glance, the task is more complicated for the Chinese firm. Indeed, unlike Samsung, it does not have any plants dedicated to the manufacture of AMOLED panels, a crucial element in the production of smartphones of this type. AMOLED technology is the most suitable for bending. Huawei must, therefore, use an external partner for its foldable smartphones. LG? TCL? We do not know at the moment, but there is little doubt that Huawei will not place an order with Samsung.
The challenge of 5G
Finally, the arrival of 5G adds a disruptive element to this war of folding smartphones. Huawei has decided to add compatibility for the new generation of network connection to its foldable smartphone, a choice that Samsung decided not to go for at this time. Battery management will be a key challenge for the two brands.
If at first glance, Huawei seems to have won a first battle of the Mate X against the Galaxy Fold, the war is far from over. Other models are expected to arrive in the future. Relations with operators and countries will also play an important role. At this game, Samsung currently has the advantage given Huawei's difficult relations with Western countries, especially the United States.
Are you interested in folding smartphones?