Usually when we see a patent we know immediately if it's for a futuristic new phone, or a different design to an existing phone that never saw the light of day – but with a newly-released patent for a device similar to the Huawei Mate X, we're not entirely sure which it is.
A patent for this foldable, filed in 2018 but only recently discovered by LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), show a foldable phone that looks like it has a lot in common with the Huawei Mate X that already exists, except this one folds in, not out.
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It has got the side bar with three lenses similar to the Mate X, and a folding body with similar dimensions – in fact, the screen folding design is the only noticeable difference.
By folding inwards, this Mate foldable has a similar form factor to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which also folds inwards, as opposed to the Huawei Mate X which folds outwards.
The difference between folding inwards and outwards is that the former results in the larger screen being on the inside of the folded device, while the latter puts it on the outside. The Mate X takes this second approach, and we are intrigued to see how durable the screen will need to be as a result.
It's worth pointing out that, because this patent was filed in 2018, Huawei isn't necessarily 'copying' Samsung, as the Galaxy Fold was far from being unveiled at that point. In fact, it just seems like two acclaimed phone manufacturers had the same idea, suggesting it's a reliable form factor for a folding phone.
Since the patent was filed in mid-2018, which is rather close to the launch date of the Mate X, it's unlikely that the patent shows an alternative take on Huawei's foldable, but the patent also shows a device so similar to the Mate X that it's also not certain that this could be a successor to the original.
There's one way we'll find out for sure which it is – if Huawei announces the Mate X 2, we'll see the direction the company is taking for its foldables, to know if this patent is a future device.
It's a stormy time for the Mate X – between its delay in order to avoid Samsung Galaxy Fold-style faults, and Huawei's Google ban, we've no clue if or when we'll see it release, so the future is uncertain for this and future Huawei foldables.