Huawei Mate X has a secret camera

In an exclusive chat with TechRadar at MWC 2019, Huawei’s CMO, Herman Zhu confirmed that there was a ‘secret’ camera alongside the foldable Huawei Mate X’s current three-sensor array.

We noted that the Mate X changed the side of the phone that had a screen turned on, flipping automatically when turning the handset to face a subject.

When quizzed, Mr. Zhu said that this was Huawei’s technology, and said there was a hidden fourth camera that nobody knows about.

"You are right, but we didn’t really tell people about that feature," Zhu told us.

If we were to speculate, we’d guess that there’s an additional sensor below there that’s capable of working out what’s in front of it - and a closer look at the images we have, using some contrast enhancements, does seem to indicate another sensor there, but hidden.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

We’ll find out more in the future about how the Mate X is hiding some extra technology, which wouldn’t be surprising given how far off availability of the foldable phone is, and Zhu said that the software on Huawei's foldable phone was "constantly being upgraded, and there are many new releases of the software coming to the market". 

There's also a possibility the upcoming Huawei P30 launch on March 26 could lift the lid on the finer details of the Mate X's hidden sensor.

The third place

There was one other surprise from Mr. Zhu - according to the CMO, he envisions the large-screen Mate X as having not three, but four displays from the single 8-inch flexible OLED panel.

Not a new, bolt-on display (like the LG DualScreen accessory), but a tweak to the Mate X’s user interface that could see the ‘spine’ of the device - when folded - displaying other information.

The separate screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

The separate screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

It would be similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, which used the curved side to pack new ways of interacting with the phone.

 "At the moment, the software hasn’t been designed for the third screen in the middle," said Zhu. "But, personally speaking, I’d like to see some weather info, or some of my fitness info there. 

"[Perhaps] the [status] info on the top of the phone, we could move it to the third screen in the middle, because it presents a larger area than on the top.

"I could also swipe up from the middle to pick up a call, for instance," he speculated.

The Huawei Mate X was voted our top gadget of MWC 2019 and will likely be the second foldable phone from a mainstream brand to hit the market, with the Samsung Galaxy Fold available from April in certain regions - so these changes could improve an already impressive handset by the time it comes to market.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

All images credit: TechRadar

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.