Huawei considered a Samsung Z Flip shape, but wanted ‘more smartphone’

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
(Image credit: Future)

During the Huawei Mate Xs reveal in lieu of an MWC 2020 debut, a Huawei executive spoke to TrustedReviews and noted that the Chinese tech company had, indeed, thought about making its own Samsung Z Flip-style clamshell foldable. But Huawei rejected it for not providing more display real estate, it seems.

“If you open it up and there [isn’t] more smartphone, why … do [a] foldable?” Huawei UK MD Anson Zhang told TrustedReviews. “You do the foldable in order to enhance the user experience. Why do people [want] a foldable? … They want a device with a bigger screen but pocketable – that is the reason behind [it].”

The company instead opted for a foldable phone design that would unfold into a larger display to give users a better experience, which became the Huawei Mate X series. “You do foldable in order to have better views – reading, video, even multi-task as Richard [Yu] showed,” Zhang said, referring to Huawei’s CEO, who debuted the Mate Xs on stage at the event.

The Z Flip unfolds to a 6.7-inch FHD+ (2,636x1,080) display that’s rather narrow, with a 21.9:9 ratio. While the Huawei Mate Xs is a bit shorter, it’s more than twice as wide, with an 8-inch (2,480x2,200) display.

Not just a shape - what about the Z Flip glass?

Turns out Huawei had explored foldable glass like that seen in the Z Flip, too:

“At the beginning, we have also another solution similar to the glass fold. That way it’s more, let’s say, secured … when you see that one, there’s a gap … at the edge. That is a more simple way to do the hardware design,” Zhang said.

Flexibility has been a key issue in foldable displays, which is why the first generation opted for plastic displays, which bend but are nowhere near as durable as glass, often getting scored by simple fingernail pressure. 

But even the ultra-thin glass used in the Z Flip might be suspect. Teardowns like those by JerryRigEverything reveal the device’s display gets scratched up just as easily as plastic displays.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.