You have to love business analysts. While they serve an important purpose for shareholders and investors, the rest of us don't really hear from then unless they reckon something about a big company. Normally the newsworthy stuff they come up with is related to Apple, but now some of them reckon Samsung might not be the first phone company to release a proper folding phone. They reckon Huawei might beat them to the punch.
Analysts and industry sources supposedly familiar with the matter said as much to Nikkei, claiming Huawei specifically wants to beat Samsung to market with a folding smartphone of its own. A proper folding smartphone, presumably, not one with a hinge. Those already exist, and they look really weird.
For this reason they expect Huawei to keep the numbers small, around 20,000 to 30,000 units, and limit the potential market to serious early adopters. Why though? For the buzz and the attention, apparently. One of the sources said "the effort is mainly to demonstrate its technology capability and to attract the industry's attention and media coverage."
Given the amount of attention given to simple rumours of Samsung's folding phone, still currently referred to as the Galaxy X, you could understand why Huawei would want to capture some of that for itself. Its products may be popular, and it supplies a lot of equipment to the telecoms industry, but its smart devices still aren't nearly as popular as the likes of Samsung or Apple.
Yuanta Investment Consulting analyst Jeff Pu reckons the device will be ready to hit the market in "very early 2019" and claims "the Chinese company wants to be the first in the industry even if the display technology from its panel supplier might not be that ready like Samsung." Translated into consumer, it means Huawei wants the attention and praise of being first even if the phone itself isn't nearly as good as whatever Samsung has cooking.
Huawei better hurry it up if these analyst reckons are true, because Samsung is currently expected to launch the Galaxy X during the second week of January at CES in Las Vegas. That certainly counts as "very early 2019" as well. [Nikkei via TechRadar]