Huawei has reportedly joined Samsung in the race to become the world's first OEM to unveil a foldable smartphone, possibly by November this year. A report suggests the Chinese smartphone giant has tied up with LG Electronics to develop a handset that is said to fold inwards giving it a more compact form factor. To be fair, ZTE did launch the Axon M foldable smartphone late last year, but that featured two different displays with a hinge in between.
As per a report by ETNews, Huawei has recently signed an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) with certain domestic and international smartphone part makers that are currently involved in creating technology required for foldable smartphones. Huawei aims to have the final product ready by November 2018. The project is reportedly being headed by Huawei Shanghai Research and Development Centre's Chief Technology Officer.
Huawei is expected to source LED panels from LG Display for its upcoming project. This could be because LG Display recently announced that it would have a foldable display ready for production by 2019. The Chinese phone maker is also looking to maximise hardware compatibility and introduce the phone's blueprints before Samsung, or any other OEM, jumps in with its plans.
The report goes on to state that it is currently unclear whether Huawei will ramp up production after the announcement in November or wait for consumer feedback before giving component manufacturers the go-ahead. In a statement, translated from Chinese, Huawei said, "We felt strongly that we would reverse the market dominance with the release of the foldable smartphone, which is more complete than [the one from] Samsung Electronics."
Previously, a report had suggested that Apple would also be unveiling a smartphone with similar foldable technology in 2020. This comes after Apple tied up with LG Display to procure the LED panels required for such a handset. Additionally, unlike Huawei's concept, this phone will be foldable outward with the ability to convert into a tablet.
Separately, Samsung CEO had revealed ahead of MWC 2018 that a foldable smartphone from Samsung would be a reality soon. The next couple of years are expected to be exciting as the world's top three smartphone manufacturers fight it out in this nascent mobile technology space.