Rouyu Technology will go down in history as the company that was able to beat both Samsung and Huawei when it comes to unveiling the first foldable smartphone in the world. And I’m talking about a real foldable screen, not the kind of “foldable” displays we saw on the ZTE Axon M and similar handsets. Then again, Rouyu Technology’s concept will never be as widely available or as polished as the Galaxy F and Huawei’s own foldable handset.
The demo you’ll see in the following video shows exactly why smartphones with foldable screens sound so exciting. It also shows that smartphone makers will need to come up with convincing user experiences for the device, and make sure these new devices offer top-notch quality.
Here’s a longer version of the video:
You might not understand the person showing off the device, but the video of the handset in action is enough to tell us the full story.
As you can easily see, the display seems very plasticky when folded out. It’s also very glossy, which could be a problem. Yes, you get a tablet-like interface that works in both portrait and landscape modes, but the display doesn’t appear to offer a good experience at all when it comes to touch and navigation. Just look at how the light bounces off the surface of the screen. That means the surface isn’t as smooth and even as you’d expect from any smartphone or tablet display.
When you fold the device, the screen stays on the outside, and you should be able to seamlessly switch between the front and back displays. One of them has a huge bezel, which is where the dual-lens camera assembly resides.
The experience, however, is far from being polished, and you’ll notice some lag and jitter when apps have to switch to a new screen mode. Not to mention that the device doesn’t seem to be pocketable, which is the whole reason to make foldable devices in the first place.
What’s interesting is that the unnamed device is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8150, which happens to be the new marketing name for the Snapdragon 855 flagship platform that will power phones like the Galaxy S10, OnePlus 7, Pixel 4, and every other hot Android phone coming out next year.
With all that in mind, if an unknown company (at least to Western markets) like Rouyu Technology can create this particular device right now, then we should be seriously excited about what giants like Samsung and Huawei are going to be able to do.
Ice Universe also said on Twitter that CES and MWC will bring us at least three foldable devices, not including Samsung’s gadget that will be unveiled next month at Samsung’s SDC18 developer event.
Shipments begin today for the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro today in the UK, so the company decided to use that as an opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane — or maybe we should say a troll down memory lane — and zing its biggest competitors, as the company has been known to do from time to time. This time, it came via a tweet and ribbed Apple and Samsung over a big fine that was issued against the two companies this week.
That’s a reference, of course, to the multimillion euro fine the Italian Competition Authority slapped both Apple and Samsung with a few days ago for the release of software updates that slowed down older phones, spurring users to consider just springing for a newer phone. And then to drive the company’s point home, Huawei added the hashtag #BornFastStaysFast.
It calls to mind the trolling Huawei pulled off against Apple just a few months ago, when Huawei representatives hit the lines of people in front of Apple stores queuing up for the iPhone XS. The Huawei crew handed out free battery packs to the iPhone buyers, in a well-coordinated campaign that included giving boxes which read: “Here’s a power bank. You’ll need it. Courtesy of Huawei.”
Then there was the time back in March when Huawei drove ad trucks past Apple and Samsung stores in the UK to promote the P20 Pro. And in its recent Mate 20 Pro presentation, the company even included an image of the phone charging up an iPhone XS Max to demonstrate its reverse wireless charging capability.
To be sure, while the company is good at pulling off stuns that make headlines, its Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro definitely wowed us earlier this month when the company finally unveiled them. It showed off features for the regular Mate 20 that include a flat screen and teardrop notch, while the Mate 20 Pro sports an iPhone X-like notch and curved screens along the lines of Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note phones. The Mate 20 phones also come with an in-display fingerprint sensor that’s supposedly 10% faster than other sensors, as well as a USB-C port that doubles as a bottom speaker. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack on either model, and the phones have IP68 (Mate 20 Pro), and IP53 (Mate 20) ratings.
Unfortunately, of course, these models aren’t available for sale in the US.
According to a recent report from The New York Times, China and Russia are regularly spying on President Trump when he opts to use his unsecured iPhone to call his friends. China is said to be using the information it gathers while listening in on these calls to keep the administration’s trade war from escalating further by making a list of the people who Trump speaks with on a regular basis and using them to influence the president.
China was quick to dismiss the charges levied by the New York Times article. South China Morning Post reports that Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said that if Trump is worried about his iPhone being tapped, he should switch to Huawei (the implication being that a Huawei phone would be more secure).
“Seeing this report, I feel there are those in America who are working all-out to win the Oscar for best screenplay,” the spokeswoman said at a foreign ministry briefing in Beijing on Thursday. She also referred to the report as “fake news,” employing one of the president’s favorite tactics to discredit the idea altogether.
Regarding her suggestion that Trump use a Huawei instead of an iPhone, this appears to be a sly reference to the US government forbidding its agencies from using any technologies or services from the Chinese company. The heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA went as far as to warn Americans against using Huawei products.
“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI Director Chris Wray said at the time in regards to American citizens continuing to use devices from Huawei.
Former and current officials who spoke to the New York Times said that Trump has three iPhones: two that have been altered by the NSA “to limit their abilities and vulnerabilities,” and then a third personal phone that is no different from the one that might be sitting in your pocket right now. The New York Times also points out that, since the calls are being intercepted as they travel between cell towers, calls from any phone could be vulnerable.
The most exciting Android phone of 2018 isn’t the Pixel 3, even if it does offer access to Android Pie right now in addition to that great camera. It’s not the Galaxy Note 9 either, with its beautiful Infinity Display and built-in stylus, or the upcoming OnePlus 6T that will probably deliver the fastest Android experience around. In fact, the most exciting Android phone of 2018 is the one that’s not even going to be sold in America.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro was unveiled just a few days ago, and as expected, the phone will not be available from US carriers in the foreseeable future. That’s hardly a surprise for Android fans familiar with the US government’s stance on Huawei hardware — namely that it poses a threat to national security.
AT&T and Verizon were supposed to sell the Mate 10 Pro last year, the predecessor to the Mate 20 series, but the deals fell through at the last moment after the government voiced its concerns regarding technology developed by the Chinese smartphone maker. Best Buy soon dropped its contract with Huawei, so it’s not like electronics retailers will hurry to sell the Mate 20 Pro either.
A spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the handset, which is already available in international markets, won’t launch in the US:
We are not planning to sell the Mate 20 Series in the US. While international variants of the Mate 20 Series may be available on some US online retail sites, we encourage individuals to carefully read the details about the warranty and network compatibility before purchasing.
One other downside is that even if you find the Mate 20 Pro in the US from retailers like Amazon, you’ll have to pay full price for it. The Mate 20 Pro is slightly cheaper than the iPhone XS and XS Max in Europe, but it’ll still cost $1,000 or more in the US.
What makes the Mate 20 Pro stand out from the Android crowd this year? It’s the first Android phone to ship with a 7nm chip; it packs a massive 6.4-inch display with 3120 x 1440 resolution that resembles Samsung’s Infinity Display but has a notch at the top; and that notch houses a camera system that does 3D face unlock like the iPhone XS; it features an in-display fingerprint sensor; it packs a massive 4,200 mAh battery with fast charging support (wired and wireless); it does reverse wireless charging; it features a triple-lens camera on the back; and it features a new nano-memory card. Read more about the phone’s unique features here.
Earlier this week, Huawei unveiled a bunch of new Android devices, including the Mate 20 Pro that’s easily the most exciting Android phone of the year. But it also took the wraps off of its new Mate 20 X, a gaming phone with a huge display and impressive battery capacity. In interviews that followed the event, Huawei CEO Richard Yu confirmed that the company is making a foldable phone for next year, a device that will also come with built-in 5G support. But will that phone be based on the Mate 20 X?
The Mate 20 X has a massive 7.2-inch screen that’s bigger than any smartphone available so now. But Huawei insisted during the event that the device doesn’t feel as big as that display dimension suggests. The fact that we’ve reached the era of all-screen smartphone designs helps. The Mate 20 X has tiny bezels and a teardrop notch, design features that helped Huawei create a device that doesn’t feel as bulky as a 7-inch tablet.
“We are working on foldable phones,” Yu said in interviews during the Mate 20 launch. “Foldable 5G phones.” DigitalTrends says that this is the first time that Huawei linked 5G to foldable phones, but that’s not quite right. A report a few weeks ago also said that a Huawei exec revealed that the foldable handset will also be its first 5G phone.
Yu did not reveal any details about the foldable phone, saying somewhat cryptically that “maybe sometime we will launch that, but not this time.” Yu then steered the conversation toward the Mate 20 X saying that “before the foldable phones, we are introducing the Huawei Mate 20 X. It is 7.2-inch, but in your hand, it’s not so big, not so bulky.”
This may be perceived as a teaser that the foldable phone could have a screen as big as the Mate 20 X. Or we’re just looking at the pre-prepared remarks from a CEO anxious to sell his company’s latest devices. It’s clear, however, that Huawei’s foldable device can’t be a bulky handset, given the company’s insistence on the importance of device size during the Mate 20 event
The CEO previously hinted that foldable smartphones with bigger screens may replace laptops in the future. “Why are you still using a computer?” Yu asked while answering a question about future mobile innovations after Huawei’s IFA event. “Probably because the smartphone display is too small for you. We will change that. It is conceivable that a display can be folded out.”
Recent reports said that Huawei’s first foldable phone could have a 7-inch or 8-inch display, and the Mate 20 X’s screen size certainly fits within that range. That said, we have no idea what Huawei’s first foldable phone will look like or when it’ll launch. The world’s first 5G phone is coming next week from Huawei rival Xiaomi, and we can expect to see plenty of 5G devices in stores next year, including Huawei handsets.