- We expect Samsung to release a foldable phone sometime in 2019, but industry sources say that Huawei is going to do it first.
- According to the sources, Huawei will release a foldable phone before Samsung, even if the device isn’t ready.
- Huawei is trying to assert its standing in the market, as well as emphasize China as a valid industry competitor.
The smartphone industry (and the electronics industry at large) has keen eyes set on Samsung and its upcoming foldable phone. However, it might be another smartphone company that gets a foldable device to market before Sammy.
According to “analysts and industry sources familiar with the matter” speaking with Nikkei Asian Review, Chinese device manufacturer Huawei has its sights set on releasing a foldable phone before Samsung has the chance.
Now, we knew Huawei is working on its own foldable phone. But the kicker is that Huawei is allegedly prepared to beat Samsung to the punch at all costs – even if the device simply isn’t ready for market.
The plan, according to these anonymous sources, is to push out 20,000 – 30,000 units of a foldable device to a small group of early adopters. One person familiar with the plan said, “the effort is mainly to demonstrate its technology capability and to attract the industry’s attention and media coverage.”
In other words, Huawei wants to be first – even if the product isn’t any good.
According to Jeff Pu, an analyst with Yuanta Investment Consulting, Huawei is likely going to push its foldable device very early next year. He said, “[Huawei] wants to be the first in the industry, even if the display technology from its panel supplier might not be that ready like Samsung.”
Pu cited his supply chain sources as the source of this intel.
Huawei is sourcing its foldable OLED panels from a Chinese manufacturer called BOE Technology Group. With that in mind, this alleged move to force the release of a foldable device is not only to assert Huawei’s continued progression within the smartphone industry, but also to prove that Chinese companies can stand in the same ring as Samsung, which is the top smartphone maker and display manufacturer in the world.
BOE – which like other Chinese companies is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government – already has prestigious deals with the likes of Apple, making displays for MacBooks and iPads.
This news is all part of the larger narrative that sees China becoming a tech powerhouse that can not only stand on its own, but also give established players a run for their money. This development has competitors worried – and governments concerned, as well.
For now, it seems likely that we will see some sort of foldable device in early 2019, either from Huawei or Samsung. Who knows, maybe another company will beat them both to the punch.