Those in the market for a foldable smartphone may want to keep their eyes peeled for 22 February. That is when Huawei will release its latest foldable handset, the Mate X2. The Chinese technology giant confirmed the announcement via its Weibo handle with a poster teasing the arrival.
Based on the image, the Mate X2 will feature an inverted screen as opposed to an outward folding one. The naming of the device also suggests that the new phone is a next generation model rather than a facelift.
Huawei’s current foldable, the Mate Xs, is a 5G phone with an 8-inch foldable screen and Fullview Display. It is powered by the Kirin 990 5G chipset and runs on the EMUI 10.0.1 (based on Android 10) OS. The brand though has yet to release the specs of the new Mate X2. It is speculated that the Mate X2 will be powered by a 5nm Kirin 9000 5G chipset.
The device will also reportedly support Android 10, 66W charging, and feature a 4,400 mAh battery.
Despite the impressive nature of the device, the Mate X2 will have its work cut out for it. Due to US sanctions, Huawei is unable to use Google services in its latest model. This could mean the device may be launched only for the Asian market, but that could work in Huawei’s favour.
Rising Demand For Foldable Smartphones
According to a market report by Mordor Intelligence, the demand for foldable smartphones or phablets is surging in emerging economies. The market is expected to register a CAGR of 21.3 percent between 2021-2026.
APAC has been identified as a key consumer market for foldable displays. By combining a large-screen tab along with smartphone portability, the device has given rise to a new consumer base. This is largely fuelled by high consumer adoption within the entertainment and gaming sector.
However, the most obvious deterrent for the growth of the foldable smartphone sector is down to price. With high levels of manufacturing driving up cost, large-scale adoption of these devices will not be possible for a while. Nevertheless, that has not stopped brands such as Samsung and Huawei from getting the jump over their competitors.
Battle Of The Phablets
Based on figures by Counterpoint Research, the global foldable smartphone market is expected to more than double next year. The market research firm estimates that a total of 2.8 million foldable smartphones were shipped last year. Samsung Electronics accounted for 73 percent of the total.
The Korean electronics brand launched the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in 2020. In China, Huawei released its first foldable device, the Mate X, in late 2019. It followed up with the Mate Xs in March last year. Presently, the segment has only seen a few players with Samsung, Huawei and Motorola as the major brands. That however is due to change in the coming year.
2022 is expected to see new devices enter the market. Many are speculating that Apple will also finally pull the trigger and join the part with its first foldable smartphone. Referred to as the iPhone Flip, the device is heavily rumoured to hit the market next year or 2023.
Whether or not the Apple device sees the light of day, remains to be seen. But there is no denying that the American electronics brand will want to capitalise on this growing segment. The market size for foldable smartphones is estimated to grow to 17 million units in 2022. That is a lot of phones to sell for just a handful of players.