MWC 2019: Oppo's Folding Phone is Too Similar to Huawei's

By Holly Brockwell on at

Oppo has thrown its hat into the folding phone ring, but awkwardly, it's really similar to Huawei's (phone, not hat).

We've only just started seeing foldable smartphones pick up pace, but already they're starting to look similar. Which is a shame, because one of the reasons we were excited about foldables was how different they were from all the dull black rectangles of the last few years.

Oppo's phone was originally going to be unveiled in its MWC keynote, where the company showed off a phone with 10x optical zoom, but VP Brian Shen said the foldable was pulled because it wouldn't have been "meaningful." Which could mean it's not ready yet, like all the other foldables at MWC we're not allowed to touch – or it could mean someone beat them to it.

Shen showed the phone on Chinese social network Weibo, and it looks a bit awkwardly familiar. By which we mean it really looks like the Huawei Mate X.

Here's the Mate X - note the outward fold, and the chunky bit at the side with the cameras on:

And now look at Oppo's phone:

Hmm.

Of course, all the big brands are reliant on suppliers and manufacturers to get them the parts to make phones, and it's entirely possible that the factories in China have produced something like this as a 'reference design' for brands to innovate from. Shen says the design was created in-house, but we doubt any two people briefed with "design a folding smartphone" would come up with something so similar without outside influence.

From the sounds of Shen's Weibo post, Oppo won't be pursuing this design in any great depth – it's less for mass production, more for proof of concept. They just didn't want people thinking they couldn't produce a folding phone if they wanted to, we guess.

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