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The Mate X is Huawei’s 5G foldable (techcrunch.com)
92 points by noarchy 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 203 comments

What kind of journalism is this? Seriously, are these articles neither proof-read nor passed by an editor before publishing?

> The device is thin, as far as tablets go, at 5.4 mm, unfolded. Closed, it’s nearly double that, at 11 mm.

11mm is _more_ than double 5.4mm.

> with a 19:5 aspect ration.

Aspect ration? Are aspects now too precious to waste?

> ...as Richard You takes the stage...

> ...according to mobile CEO Richard Yu...

Could we at least get some consistency in proper noun transliterations?

There's so much more that I feel like I'm reading an article published by a middle-school student. If so, then he did a great job. If this is supposed to be a professional journalist, though, then he should go back to middle school.

Posting first is a big deal for news media sites. This story will be replaced by others today so no one will care that there were problems so long as it shows up first in the Google news results this morning.

Seems like a good use of machine learning to solve. Surely tools to auto edit already exist?

Surely just a basic spell and grammar check is enough without over-engineering solutions...

My company pushes out at least 10,000 words of content each week for clients and I would fire immediately anyone that let that rookie garbage go to a client. The difference is our clients pay us to be good at this. TechCrunch readers dont really pay TC writers to do anything.

I agree with your criticism, but I don't get what is the problem with the first point (I am not a native speaker). Doesn't "nearly" just mean "close to" and not necessarily "less than"?

I see what you mean, but there's a clear implication of "less than" in that particular case. In the same way, you can't say that a runner has "nearly crossed the finishing line" a few moments after they cross it.

Not to mention that it doesn't take a genius to see that a solid object folded in half is not going to be less than twice as thick!

That's precisely why I immediately thought of "nearly" meaning a bit more instead of a bit less.

It is still no clear to me what makes "nearly" in this particular case to mean "less than". Curiously enough, "nearly crossed the finish line" indeed sounds totally wrong to me.

It's context dependent. "nearly" means "not quite reaching the target", so if you are talking about "doubling" something, then "nearly doubling" it would mean to end up with slightly less than double.

That said, I believe it is usually used to mean "less than". In this case, I would use "just over" instead, ie, "closed, it's just over double that".

The fold is not perfect. Seems they were careful with not letting journalists hold the device, only showing certain things on the display, etc.

See 1:28 : https://youtu.be/NnO08HnZf10?t=88

Some stills: https://imgur.com/a/z7sgEdS

Looks pretty bad, hence not letting the journalists hold it. I think they traded thinness for display surface uniformity. The Galaxy Fold is thicker, but uses the additional size to incorporate a stronger folding mechanism, which appears to put less strain on the screen itself.

Hopefully they figure this out before launch. It definitely doesn't look worthy of the $2600 sticker price in its current form.

I could argue that the original iPhone didn't look worthy of $500 either. My fist iPhone was iPhone 5. Early adopters are a niche anyway and this device has a bright future. I bet all the phones will be more or less foldable.

If you could argue that, perhaps you should try it. I rather doubt you can. The first iPhone was a polished, finished product. These foldables...aren't.

The first iPhone was not a finished product. It launched with only EDGE for mobile data, and with no app store. Combined, these limited its utility. It was the next version - with 3G and the first incarnation of the AppStore, that helped the iPhone gain mainstream popularity.

It still represented a huge leap over everything else that was on the market at the time, such that Mobile Safari quickly came to account for around 80% or so of mobile data use.

Absolutely. It showed that browsing the proper Web on a phone was something feasible to do. It was a great step forward, as these folding phones are.

I think you are vastly over simplifying what the iPhone was to the industry. The iPhone wasn’t just a native browser, it was also the iPod, Messaging with a full keyboard, and an intuitive integrated phone with visual voicemail. Also Apple through the iPhone freed us from being under the thumbs of our carriers and they’re terrible adware software. At the time I hated my phones so seeing the iPhone wasn’t just an easy and natural progression, it’s something I needed. A folding screen seems like engineers creating something that has no need. I don’t want it. It seems like 3-D TV “let’s do it because we can” not because it’s a good idea.

> Absolutely. It showed that browsing the proper Web on a phone was something feasible to do.

In 2007, the proper web involved tons of Flash. Flash video players, Flash games, Flash-based interactive websites. None of those worked on the iPhone.

Its web browsing ability wasn't much better than what you could already get on keyboard-based phones like Nokia, Blackberry and Samsung. On the iPhone you did pinch to zoom, and on the other smartphones, you were served the WAP version of the page, or you could browse the full page with the scrollwheel.

> ts web browsing ability wasn't much better than what you could already get on keyboard-based phones like Nokia, Blackberry and Samsung. On the iPhone you did pinch to zoom, and on the other smartphones, you were served the WAP version of the page, or you could browse the full page with the scrollwheel.

That's a very revisionist version of events. Much of the initial disillusionment around the web on featurephones came from WAP being (mis)sold as the Internet on a phone.

If you go back and watch the original iPhone demo you can see that people were genuinely wowed by being able to browse the Internet ('the real internet') on a mobile.

In fact, 'it's not a watered down version of the internet' was one of the tag lines of one of the first iPhone commercials


Assuming the screen tech holds up. It’ll be a few iterations and several years before we can even determine if this is here to last. Even more before the price comes down to something kinda affordable.

Also worth noting that flagship phones have only gotten more expensive since the first iPhone. Remember when we all thought the first iPhone was too expensive?

This is 2k for what is essentially a prototype.

Actually, it's "nearly" $2.5k ;-)

The first iPhone was a quantum leap as far as industrial design of a phone was concerned as compared to its 'peers' at that time - new interface, full glass display, finger touch (as opposed to stylus)..


In my eyes it looked too big and clunky. It seemed designed for Nokia Communicator's market.

Its funny that prior to the iPhone and then the Galaxy Note, phones seemed destined to become smaller and smaller, until they disappeared into another peripheral like smart glasses or a watch.

What's happened instead is that they've become bigger and bigger. My smartphone prior to the iPhone had a 2.2" screen. After that, it quickly went from 3.2" to 3.5" to 4.3" and onwards, and my current one is 5.8".

I had a Motorola Q once and felt like I was holding up a big scientific calculator to my ear.

Yeah, the iphone was a "brick" in my eyes back then.

Maybe I am stupid but I think it looks pretty good? Much better than I would expect.

It does look good, especially since it looks like it folds flat. Samsung's version (which might be more durable, who knows), when folded, looks like a wallet that's been stuffed to the gills with cards. The front-facing screen when folded looks pathetically small compared to the bulk of the device.

I agree. I think it looks great. If it had an apple logo the tune around here would be different

If it had an Apple logo, there would have been a weeks' worth of pricing speculation putting this at $3000, only for jaws to drop when Cook announces the price to be $2500. And we'd all be thinking "Apple's done it again!"

If that was from Apple I'd be selling all my shares today as soon as the market opens.

I think it's the angle/intensity of the light that exaggerates how noticeable the fold is. This article has some pictures and I don't see any image issue where the fold is:


I do wonder why conceptually, the bezel can't be just tensioned along one axis instead of being fixed. Sure more movements will be a nightmare for dust/waterproofing etc but there's no indication that this device is anyway.

True, but it's nowhere close to being final hardware.

As a concept though, I think this design makes a lot more sense than Samsungs. It gets to use the same full body screen, rather than the strange tiny one Samsung does. The fold being part of the outer body also makes more sense than having a wedge inside.

I'm not so sure it makes more sense than Samsungs:

1) if the foldable screen is more delicate, samsung's design protects it.

2) In samsung's design, the outer screen is used when it's folded.. and when you unfold it you use the entire foldable screen. In Huawei's design, one side of the screen is going to be used more than the other side, and as it ages that side may start to appear different than the less used side.

3) If you drop it, you'll have to replace the entire foldable screen vs Samsung, just replacing the smaller outer screen.

4) Going on the outside, there are two creases. The inside only has one. This may make it easier to hide the crease.

The screen won't crack, I don't think they're using glass.

I don't actually think the screen should be more delicate than a typical OLED.

I don't understand your point about the creases.

You're theoretically right about the aging, but I suspect that it could be mitigated because it's fairly predictable.

I think the amazing screen in the folded state, avoided duplication and great looks greatly outweigh any of the possible disadvantages.

Besides maybe ... Space for components. It seems way too thin to accomodate a well sized battery with all of the added casing.

"Replace the entire foldable screen"? Ha. I think it's wildly optimistic to think one of these can be repaired at all.

My take is Samsung went with a design which thinks of device's real life usage (thoughtful design). Whereas Huawei went for drama (stagecraft).

Why? From Anandtech..

Huawei calls the new hinge system a “Falcon hinge”. It’s to be noted that this seems to be the weak-point of Huawei’s design as it doesn’t look nearly as refined as Samsung’s attempt. At the pre-brief we weren’t able to actually get our hands on the phone, but one unit of the presenter had a notable “waviness” of the screen where the hinge was.

The number one concern of the Mate X however is the fact that it is a outwards folding phone. By nature of it being a flexible display means that we’re dealing with a polymer material which is softer than glass, and thus also more scratch prone. Samsung’s inwards folding design here will be much less prone to scratches, however the Mate X will be a quite more fragile phone in this regard. In fact it seems Huawei is aware of this as they also presented a protection case in which you can slip the whole device in, trying to address this compromise of this surely better looking, but likely less practical design.


I believe the exact opposite.

Most of the time I'll want to use the phone in the folded mode and there you have the choice between a stunning full screen and an embarassing, added display.

The Samsung doesn't fold flat. That makes it bulky and leads to a very problematic force distribution (2 lines). The flat folding Huawei distributes the force over the whole phone. There are already phones with OLEDs and they seem to work fine (they do have glass surfaces to distribute point loads, however). Additionally it just looks great.

I'm not sure about the scratches. You could make the surface so soft it doesn't get scratched at all, but it probably wouldn't feel good. I do like matte screens that don't show scratches, but that'd slightly impair display clarity.

> Huawei calls the new hinge system a “Falcon hinge”. It’s to be noted that this seems to be the weak-point of Huawei’s design as it doesn’t look nearly as refined as Samsung’s attempt.

The "Falcon Wing" hinge (note how they learned from Apple about coming up with catchy names) is the strong point of the Mate X: Everyone has been wowed by it and how it allows the phone to fold flat and to be thin.

Questions about durability remain open both both the Fold and the Mate X. We shall see.

How does this compare to the Samsung Galaxy Fold? Is the Galaxy Fold "perfect" when it comes to visible screen distortion?

Physics dictates the the samsung fold likely will have a "cleaner" fold, since it is pulled taught in the open position, whereas the huawei phone is at its loosest in the open position.

But in my view the huawei concept is far better better on pretty much any other metric (pending info on durability)

> any other metric

Care to name those? From your description, it sounds to me like the Samsung fold is sharper (probably harder to do than a loosely bent screen, yet they did it). I know very little about foldable screens, so I'm curious what other metrics I should be looking at.

Thinner, smaller bezels, grip for holding, less duplication of identical cameras, likely a more durable hinge, much larger screen, lighter.

samsung fold taught in the open position, whereas the huawei phone is at its loosest in the open position.

Great point!

I'm not entirely sure. Just from videos, I think the Samsung might be better. I haven't seen distortion in the videos I've seen.

Samsung: https://youtu.be/-fcCQIdGpK8?t=175

It has a crease, Samsung just had the good sense to make sure the middle of the screen was black: https://m.imgur.com/TIbaeIi

Wow that crease is pretty glaring. For 1950? Pass

Is some modest bulging really a problem? I'd say it has far less of an "annoyingness factor" than even your typical phone notch.

For $2k+ it better look flawless.

Since 79% of smartphone users use a case, how is this supposed to work out?

It seems to be me your two options with a mobile device are:

1) Make it durable so that it can be dropped on a variety of surfaces without big concerns of dropping or scratching. This might be a lot easier to achieve if devices got much lighter (or go the Toughbook route and harden it).

2) Allow it to support a variety of case types that a user can choose

This whole thing seems more like a prototype than a great idea. I think foldable and rollable computing devices have a future, but this doesn't seem fully considered.

Although this one looks significantly better than the Galaxy Fold, which reminds me of the Homer Simpson Car: https://patrickwthornton.com/samsung-galaxy-fold-is-the-home...

I believe 79% of smartphone users are over-protective with their phones. What's the point to pay top dollar for a beautiful screen if you cover it with a cheap cover? You will change the phone in 4 years max anyway.

Counterpoint: I see people using phones with damaged screens pretty much every time I take public transportation.

When I use the case I'm protecting the body, not the screen. The screen is never obscured by the cases I buy and I care far-more about the durability and functionality anyway (I find the iPhone 6/6s/7s/8s body is awkward to hold without a case due to the thin body).

I plan on getting 4+ years out of my phone too, especially since Apple replaced the battery for free a few months ago. My 6s is close to the 4-year mark.

What about iPhone X? You buy it because of its body design(i.e glass back) and cover it with plastic. What's the point?

No-one gives a crap about the back of a phone, they're looking at the screen.

>What's the point?

to keep it intact?

Better keep it in a box.

Because 79% of us are mortals and can't afford to keep buying a replacement. Also it helps preserve some resell value if the phone has lived in a case for most of its life. My current cheapo Moto G3 lives in a case. The first one I bought fell out of my pocket in a car park and that killed it....so guess what, I bought a cheap case to protect my new one.

> What's the point to pay top dollar for a beautiful screen if you cover it with a cheap cover?

Well, when you need to, you open the cover then gaze upon your beautiful screen ;)

I wish I could not use a case, but my 5T is simply too slippery without it.

I do not pay top dollar for a beautiful screen.

People use covers to personalise their phones not just to protect them.

A big part of latest iphones(i.e iphone x) price increase is due its design(i.e glass back). Why would you buy one if you "personalise"/cover it?

Because people like iPhones so they buy iPhones?

I mean, developers buy nice looking MacBooks and then cover them in shitty looking tech industry stickers and dumb decals. Same thing.

Wasn't there news last year that someone in China stole Samsung folding tech? Wonder if that is relevant with this new device that Huawei is working on.

I would totally not be surprised given how non-frowned upon the practice is culturally but I do wish the article had something more material to present than A alleges B of doing X.

http://iri.jrc.ec.europa.eu/scoreboard18.html Huawei spends more in R&D than Apple or Intel so I wouldn't automatically assume everything they do is stolen.

Xiaomi also have one in the works. At this stage the cat is out of the bag and there is no way to know who stole what by deduction.

I wonder about the bend in these screens. How will long term use be affected by fatigue? Will we see something like LCD bruising over time?

I think it would've made far more sense to have two bezel-less LCDs butt together than try to get a flexible one to work without fatigue damage over time, but then again, I don't work in the marketing nor planned obolescence department...

Well there was the Microsoft Courier back in the day.


Like their attempt at tablets with XP, they seem to have been a little too early.

Yeah, but no matter how bezel-less they are, the space between one display and the other would still be higher than the separation between pixels, specially at the dpi we are used to, right?

Yes, but that will be 3 days after the warranty expires.

Most phones are disposed after 2 years so they probably factor that in.

These foldable phones are $2k plus. I hope they are aiming for multiple times the old life span.

The current flagships are over 1k. I’m not upgrading for the next 4years minimum.

The type of people who will spend $2k on these devices will probably (sadly) not be concerned about the phone having more than a two year lifespan. Also in two years, this thing will probably be $500 as 'new old stock' on eBay.

iPhone7 was 800 when I purchased it. Now $150, and can even find cheaper on eBay sometimes. With all the competition, it is going to be even cheaper.

You know who buys the most expensive Iphones? By far anf large those who change phone every year.

It seems that these devices are targeting tablet users me than phone users, so one would expect that the lifecycle will be much longer.

If you don't have a need for a tablet device, why not go with one of the much stronger phones? Samsung's and Apple's flagship phones are much better when you consider everything a phone should and should not do.

I can see a device like this potentially being popular with someone who needs to carry a tablet with them everywhere for their job (healthcare and architecture are two fields where this can be true).

I think with the price of today's phones people are keeping them longer. My launch date iPhone 6 was bought by a colleague and with iOS 12 he's very happy with it. My iPhone 7 is going strong since launch and with a cheap battery replacement and continued support from Apple I expect it'll last another couple more before I give it to a family member, most likely my mother, where it'll do whatever she needs for a couple more.

Do you have a cite for this? All devices (including one Android) in my household and my parents / siblings households last 4y give or take.

We still have an iPad mini 1 in service.

These prices seem to be in Verblen goods territory.

Ipad 1?? Does any new app work on it? As far as I know most apps do not support old hw versions. I have an ipad mini too, rendered useless due the lack of support in apps. Based my experience iphone users(the ones that buy immediately after launch) change them every 1-2 years.

The iPad mini 1 is an iPad2 in a smaller form factor. It can run iOS9 just about. My MIL, who lives in another country, has one that I won at work and while it isn't supported by the latest Skype (which they wanted to use) it runs FaceTime perfectly and is a decent enough browser. It also integrates perfectly with Apple's iCloud Photo sharing so she can see her grandkids in the photos we upload everyday.

Yeah, Apple services work but very few 3rd party apps(i.e facebook doesn't work)

I can live with that!

Look at models long term support. Manufacturers dont do much more than 18 months or 2 years of updates post release.

I am very old school but if I want to fold something, I find the One Mix Yoga 2S much more usable -- a 7" 2-in-1 laptop, with a proper Intel Core CPU, PCIe SSD and 8GB of RAM. Oh and it's 670 USD... a quarter of this Mate X thing, or what.

While the dispay on the outside is nice, having a soft (bendable) material on the edge of the phone has to be prone to scratches, no? And then when you unfold, you'll have scratched middle of the display, which has to be the worst place to have the scratches.

While not that nice, having display on the inside of the phone at least protects it from scratches.

Yeah I think the bend-on-outside seems like a much worse idea than bend-on-inside. Bendable already means the screen will be less scratch resistant, why make it worse?

True, but bend-on-inside would probably be a smaller radius, causing more "pinch damage" than bend-on-outside.

Good point!

A solution to a problem that doesn't exist

A problem that I now have, after seeing the solution. I've toyed with the idea of getting a tablet, but never made the leap because of how bulky they are. If I wanted a bulky spacious computing device, I'd just use my laptop. If I want a tiny computing device, I'd use my phone. This scratches both itches.

I thought so too until I saw Westworld. As you'd expect, they use the device like a laptop, except it doesn't need a place to sit.

Relevant scenes: https://youtu.be/qvrSUwqt6Mw?t=54

This product category solves a huge problem for me.

Sometimes you know you'll be sitting down for 5+ min and a larger format is just more useful, whether it's for reading with bigger fonts, shopping with more items displayed per page or just for accessing non-mobile-crippled websites like GitHub.

Tablets are like dedicated cameras of the photography world. They might be good at it but it's useless if it's not on you. You don't want to carry a second device. Tablets still can't handle multi-users and you want a personalized experience. You don't want multiple tablets at home. There's no continuity unless there's some drastic change in OSes and we go back to the Novell terminal model of computing. I want to have the exact tabs opened with the text fields I'm halfway through typing. You want a single device to charge. A single device that's paired with the bluetooth peripherals etc etc.

Phones already don't fit in pockets and can't keep getting bigger. Developers are already not making native desktop apps except the heaviest class productivity types.

I applaud developments in this direction.

People want a do-everything device that fits in their pocket. Specifically their pocket. People who already have their phone in their hand are not going to put their phone away, open up their bag, take out their tablet, just to get a larger screen. People leave their bags behind when they go to the gym floor, into the bathroom at work and home, etc.

Leave us engineering professionals (who need workstations to be productive) out of it. Most people have one, pocketable, device. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that, if you work within that restriction, that bigger screens will give people better experiences and thus make for better products.

If it ever becomes feasible to have a phone that unfolds into the size of a TV, you'll quickly find fixed-size TVs become niche products for always-on monitoring dashboards and advertising billboards. People will just unfold their phones to watch whatever show or movie they're going to watch, even if it takes them a couple of minutes to unfold their phone that far to set it up.

People use tablets, and these can fold into a tablet. So I would say that it does solve a problem. I wouldn't want one, but it seems useful for some people.

As a phone, maybe.

As a small tablet, it’s likely easier to carry than a small e-reader or iPad Mini.

as a consumer phone, yes the problem doesn't exist. It might open door for better application or something we are not doing now. It creates opportunity. I can already see its use in enterprise environment with suitable application. I think there is a market for it. Once the technology matures, softwares will catch up and it will be standard. Still, I'd prefer a roller display than folded ones.

People want larger screens but smaller devices.

I'm looking forward to phones like these getting more mature. Screen size and pocketability are everything. This first generation from Huawei and Samsung is just step one down the path of what will eventually be a really compelling design.

It's about time the smartphone market had some shake-up. Phones haven't seen major form factor changes in several years now, yet their prices keep ticking up.

Neither Apple, nor Samsung can justify prices of $1000+ for flagship models when the benefits are so marginal compared to flagships of even 2 years ago. I paid $900 for a Galaxy S7 in 2016 and decided to import a Nokia X6 from HK for $300 instead of getting a new Galaxy.

Of course, I'm not going to pay $1500-$2000 to be a guinea pig for this new form factor, but it's good to see that in a couple of years, smartphones might not become yet another boring shopping list item.

I just don't get the prices.

Samsung foldable: $2,000

Huawei Mate X: $2,600

Why are these devices so expensive?

New technology comes at a price. The have spent billions on R&D and this is a way to get some of the investment monetized. It is likely to be a niche product to test the technology and the market. Most likely in a couple of years we will have foldable screen phones that go for less than $1000

>The have spent billions on R&D and this is a way to get some of the investment monetized.

That excuse works for Samsung. Huawei stole the tech.


Was the Samsung display manufactured in China? If so, what did they expect?

I don't really go for the R&D argument. Look at iPhones, they have only gotten more expensive. They should be cheap by now using your logic. Hell, they are removing things more than adding...

Apple invests a lot into security and performance R&D.

What’s been removed?

Universal Analog Extension Interface. AKA. the Headphone Jack.

>Most likely in a couple of years we will have foldable screen phones that go for less than $1000

Considering how all the major manufacturers are pushing hard to get flagships over $1000, I don't see how this is possible

I don't get it. Huawei reportedly stole the technology from Samsung and still their phone is more expensive.

Maybe their display yeilds are a lot lower.

Mainly because a 1st gen phone like this will have lots of custom components inside that are probably machined in-house, which limits how many they can make. It then becomes rational to put a high price tag on it, to make sure they don't sell out in 5 minutes and to make the most revenue.

My guess is they expect it to appeal mainly in Asia where $2,500 flip phones are a thing. (Samsung W series - currently W2019)

The only valid price for something is what someone will pay for it. They're priced like that because Samsung and Huawei think that there is a market for it.

Time will tell if they're right, but I can see the logic. High end smartphones are already at the $1,000 mark, and all they have to differentiate themselves from the $200 models is some nice design, and a slightly nicer screen processor and camera - they're fundamentally the same item. Manufacturers search hard for differentiation on a commoditised space, and this is the first major bit for years. This is a high end product, aimed at the '1%' who can afford to a stand out device.

Do you remember when iPhones weren't ubiquitous, and if there was someone in the group who had one everyone would want a go? That's what the manufacturers are hoping for.

Apple deluxe trend + market dynamics communication IMO

So, the problem is Apple's... right...

Is it even rootable? If not, that's a huge amount for a device you don't actually own.

Apple long ago paved the way for selling decent hardware at a very high profit margin, even taking into account R&D. They're a trillion dollar company for it. Other companies of course want to replicate the success.

Stop talking about Apple, because Apple is not in this.

Also, there were other androids that costed more than the iPhone X.

And no, Apple is not a trillion dollar company, Wall Street valuates Microsoft higher.

Apple is not in the foldable phones? Not yet. They are in the "sell decent hardware at high margins" business still, and have been long before the iPhone X. And competitors of course have longed to do the same, of course there have been other expensive Android phones. This all fits with my comment's point about a reason for high prices.

You're technically correct, poor Apple is just an $815B company right now with MSFT at 851. Want to make any bets they won't exceed last October's $1T in the near future? Or do you have a point? https://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/market_cap

Apple doesn't make and didn't announce any foldable phone, and when that happens, if that happens, you can criticize them all you want.

Apple's hardware margins are less than that of Microsoft or Google.

If you are so certain of Apple's stock, you can put your money on AAPL stock.

And if Apple is worth $1T, it's still undervaluation, because one can easily look at their revenue and see they are massively underpriced and that's because Wall Street can't stop making FUD against them, among their competitors paying for negative infomercials about them.

status icon & recapture r&d in case they don't get popular. there's also a 5g modem which adds 2-300

And then they go the way of the google glass, I'm still sad about those.

Prices that high will definitely hurt their chances of getting popular

Maybe they have a limited supply of screens and price them like this because they wouldn't be able to meet a high demand anyway.

Sure; I'm not trying to argue that they're doing something wrong here, just that a $2000 price "in case it doesn't get popular" is essentially conceding defeat on the "getting popular" front entirely.

There are multiple kinds of popularity. Why wouldn't they go the desirability through exclusivity route?

A price like that tells me they're not producing these in very large numbers at all, probably in the low five figures max.

Makes sense, as this is new tech and they are trying to understand consumer demand and use cases for the product. Also, they may want to avoid costly recalls if it turns out that the V1 hinge isn't as sturdy in real world use as it was in their tests.

Well, just go buy one of the cheap non-existant versions, right?

I mean, if this thing replaces a high-end phone and a high-end tablet, the price is about right. Still, pricey.

probably they don't want people to buy it yet.....

The prices are insane, both my laptop and tower PC (which are beasts) cost less than that. I think it's because consumers generally pay for phones in monthly installments... we have become trained to accept these kinds of prices because "it's just $100 / month!"

> I think it's because consumers generally pay for phones in monthly installments... we have become trained to accept these kinds of prices because "it's just $100 / month!"

Is this true outside of the west though?

It’s not even true outside the USA, never mind “the west”.

The cellphone market in developed nations have been somewhat stagnant in the past few years, so it seems that both Samsung and Huawei's foldable cellphone are looking to create a technology that adds a new level to the cellphone hierarchy.

It is likely that both cellphones are not going to pay itself off this year when accounting for R&D (assuming technology hasn't been stolen), but the value of being seeing as the leaders in the industry (brand value) and the increased availability of the technology will likely drop the cost of fold-able tech and hopefully propel the industry to the next level.

Whether these technological updates are true value-adder to customers remains to be seeing. We have seen people buy new cellphones yearly with a lot less changes to it.

I also think that if someone is willing to pay 2-4x more for a foldable cellphone, they are likely to pay a couple hundred to a customized case or at least something that will protect their cellphones. (@pwthornton)

I do not see the point of such a device to exist. Not a phone, not a tablet, do we really need something in between the two? Tablets have had SIM capability for a while now. I anticipate in less than years time these will no longer be talked about.

You may be right, but your comment makes no difference from the ones many of us wrote after the first iPad: "what is this thing for? what problem does it solve that is not solved by a laptop or a phone?". And we were wrong, there was quite a market...

I would love to have a such device. An iPhone X which transforms itself into an iPad mini? Yes, please! Definitely a better feature than some new colors(i.e rose gold), new emoji or glass back.

As someone who carries iPhone + iPad mini on a daily basis I'd tend to agree.

But won't having both within a single device mean either an iPad mini with crappy battery life or a much heavier iPhone?

It doesn't necessary need to be heavier. For example iPhone X uses a combination of steel and glass to make it look/feel more premium. I would give up on that for a folding screen. It's time to focus more on tech and usuability again and less on fashion features.

Can't we say that about most of the tech?

What's the point of hybrid? Not gas, not electric. What's the point of a non-prime lens? Not wide angle, not telescopic. What's the point of the Switch? Not mobile console, not TV console. What's the point of a multi-bit screwdriver? Not phillips, not flat.

You sound like one of the critical voices from the time when the iPhone came out. Is tablet and phone the end-all for form factors until the end of time? I'd argue no, they are but a momentary snapshot of current technology. Imagine this foldable thing a couple of generations in, not what it is today.

The technology isn't there yet, but I'd love a Westworld-style foldable device that goes from a phone to a decent-sized display -- iPad and iPhone all in one slim device.

Good luck getting more than two major Android updates on this.

Does it matter? By the time there’s two major android updates there will be a newer and better version of these devices to upgrade to. Let’s not kid ourselves, phones aren’t “buy it for life”.

Yes, because it's $2600. Would you buy a computer for $2600 that didn't receive security updates after 24 months (or less?).

No, but I’m not the target market and neither are you.

Who is the target market?

People who will buy first gen technology to show it off. Sort of like Tesla Roadster 1.0 owners.

So these basically fold out to a tablet-size screen area, don't obviously accommodate covers and cost more than current smartphone prices? I don't see it.

It is cool. But I think it will probably end up as gimmick to wow your friends, but not a feature that you would use regularly.

Definitely not worthy of the price tag.

Kinda like the HTC Evo 3D? There are zero 3D phone currently on the market.

"3D" phones seem to be making a comeback lately, if only in niche brands - see RED and Rokit. They claim to have made huge advances on 3D screens since the Evo era, and I imagine higher resolution and refresh rate would help.but reviews are that it's still pretty disappointing. Even if the effect was perfect I'm not sure it's something I'd care for on a phone.

Poor HTC. 3D phones, bitcoin phones - you can tell they are really thrashing in the market now that Apple and Samsung have it sown up.

And poor Netscape trying to get into a browser market that Microsoft already has sown up.

Not an anti-trust issue in this case. Plain old market failure.

Dont forget their 2011 Facebook Phone, the ChaCha.

Hope Xiaomi make foldable cheaper

Was hoping a foldable phone would result in a smaller phone, not a larger one. Sigh...

Seems I prefer a normal phone and a similar price foldable laptop for now.

A glass screen will probably never fold -- so how's the screen texture and hardness on folding phones? I'd guess quite miserable!

At least Samsung can have a glass screen on the outside, more exposed to the elements .

I guess this phone/tablet is not intended to be used for video calls at all given how the camera hides on the back of the device in both use cases?

Steve Jobs make a joke about foldable phones, and those 2 actually made it... spending billions on RnD in the process...

Apple recently put in a patent for foldable phones as well.

Is there a way to disable data collection by the Chinese government on these? Or at least a way to toggle which government agency (NSA, GCHQ, etc) my data gets sent to?

I don't get why everyone is so scared of Chinese phones when every brand has huge privacy and tracking issues. As a European, I would rather not be tracked by anyone, also not European companies, let alone foreign ones from either the west or the east.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Oh, no, I'm not saying Chinese tracking is good, I'm saying I don't understand why this comes up every time with Chinese phones but not with other brands. I always root the phone and remove tracking (there is always loads and loads).

I think the GP is being sarcastic (i.e. making the same point you're making)

You can probably install Lineage OS on them (if not right now, some time in the future).

On the other hand, I'm not sure if the Chinese government is a bigger threat to foreign individuals than the US government. It looks like China is mostly focused on industrial espionage while the US often mix an unpredictable amount of ideology in their actions.

Is there an option for "western" phones?

Apple? They're pretty gungho about not handing over private keys and such to the feds.

Yes but you are stuck in their walled garden.

That doesn't necessarily mean they don't, though.

They give it like everyone else.

Is there evidence of this happening ?

Did you see the Us section of their transparency report?

Select Your Snarfer

[Ok] [Ok]

Does it really matter? If you are in China, sure, but if you are a non-Chinese citizen you are better off having someone else than your local version of NSA harvest your data. It is not like some other nations police will knock down your door or put you on a watch-list that gets you anal probed at the local airport.

I would worry a lot more about NSA, Apple, Google and Facebook (if you are American at least) than Huawei.

Sadly, 'your local NSA' is probably working with other nations' NSA. It has been already mentioned before in the leaked documents that governments use other nations' intelligence agencies to spy on their own people 'legally'.

They are not working with Chinas 'NSA' that's for damn sure.

> It has been already mentioned before in the leaked documents that governments use other nations' intelligence agencies to spy on their own people 'legally'.

No, it hasn't. No leaked document says that. Instead, there is a well known understanding for the opposite. https://www.lawfareblog.com/i-spy-you-spy-we-all-spy

Ipad will be more cheaper in the future XD

I wonder what the chances of Apple jumping on bendable phones is. Apple has transformed into a company that lags in innovation and only makes safe moves. I wonder how long it will take for bendable to become “safe”.

IIRC Apple jumped on the bendable-phone trend a few years ago, before everyone else.

Do you have any reference to backup that claim?

Pretty sure its a joke referencing "bendgate".

Ok, you got me, bravo

Look, a joke for a made up problem that didn't exist.

Apple happily sold 100's of millions of "bendgate" phones, and 100's of millions of costumers happily used them and still use today, without a problem.

Android fans are so full of themselves, they think anyone listens to them ahahahah

Apple is a major innovator in the bendable phone space, they were way ahead of the rest of the market with the iPhone 6 back in 2014.

(search for bendgate)

> Apple has transformed into a company that lags in innovation.

At no point was Apple a company that was first in a product category. They didn’t make the first PC, the first portable MP3 player, the first smartphone (not even the first all-touchscreen smartphone), or the first smart watch. They won by jumping into these categories afterward and doing them better. Comments like this display an incredible ignorance of how Apple does business just to score cheap points.

Yep, first to market doesn't matter. First to useful does. Apple optimizes for the latter where integrating the new tech into a complete package that makes sense for the end user, rather than just being there for the sake of new.

This is a chestnut you can roll out in every discussion on new tech, because the history of tech is littered with new ideas poorly executed, then (usually) Apple coming along and defining how it should be done, and then everyone copying that.

Two recent examples I can think of of this phenomenon:

* Asus' ScreenPad, a screen stuffed into the trackpad. Completely not integrated into the overall experience and a total gimmick.

* Any Kinect-like product (LG's Project Tango phones, Intel RealSense, etc), which were essentially hardware demos without quality software to hit useful use cases

Typically they wait a few years before they "reimagine" it.

I’m trying to think of a reason I would want to be able to wrap my phone around a pole... I’m happy with it being non foldable.

I see the appeal. Sometimes you want a small tablet sized screen but you want to carry around and use something with a phone sized form factor.

This is why I want one. I like to carry a tablet to read books and take notes at the same time (Android multitasking + a bluetooth keyboard) in places (planes mostly) where my full laptop is a bit too big/too much overhead/doesn't have enough battery. Unfortunately, that adds weight, and it's another thing to keep charged. These seem like a great solution - if perhaps a little small for now.

Yeah, I'm a bit surprised by the comments like "who would want this". A phone that you can unfold into a tablet when you want more screen? It's awesome. Now I don't want this particular device, or the Samsung one, because the tech isn't quite there yet, but the second or third gen _could_ be amazing.

So this is the new phone fad? I have never felt the need to fold my phone. It seems like the phone industry invents pointless changes just to show something new to get people to buy a phone again. Curved edges and screen notches come to mind.

> I have never felt the need to fold my phone.

What kind of analogy is that? I haven't felt the need to fill up a tank of gas every week, but I still bought a car.

curved edges were a marketing move for foldables by samsung.

They started back with the Note Edge since samsung flagships are their main advertised and mass market product that demos to the masses their hw design supremacy

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