Market Insight

[Display Dynamics] Huawei launched foldable smartphone at MWC19 in Barcelona

February 26, 2019

Joy Guo Joy Guo Senior Analyst, Small/Medium Displays

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Key findings

  • Huawei launched foldable smartphone, Mate X, at MWC19 in Barcelona.
  • BOE contributed display with flexible AMOLED produced in Chengdu, 8 inch with 2200 RBG × 2480 resolution. When folded, the main display is 6.6 inch with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, while the sub display is 6.38 inch with 25:9 aspect ratio—and a 160 pixels for folding.
  • BOE became Huawei’s strategy partner since 2019.

Chinese mobile giant Huawei launched a foldable smartphone, Mate X, in Feb 2019 at Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain. Different from Samsung Galaxy Fold, Mate X is an out-fold phone. Huawei announced it may be available for sale in the middle of 2019.

BOE supplied the flexible AMOLED display for this foldable smartphone exhibited. It is an 8 inch 2220 RGB × 2480 resolution flexible AMOLED, 415 PPI. When folded, the main display is 6.6 inch with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 1148 RGB×2480 resolution. The sub display is 6.38 inch with 25:9 aspect ratio, 892 RGB × 2480 resolution. There are still 160 pixels left for folding, meaning 1 cm for folding area between main display and sub display. As a contraction of the out-fold shape, FlexPai display folding area in length is around 3.2 cm. Huawei also compared the thickness of a folded Mate X and Galaxy Fold in the release conference. The Mate X thickness is 1.1 cm while Galaxy is 1.7 cm. But Galaxy is an in-fold phone, the display curvature is much bigger than Mate X’s.

The planning of this display started in April 2018. The challenge for foldable display makers is not the panel but the module process. The panel of this display is produced in Chengdu while the module is produced in Mianyang, the second Gen 6 flexible AMOLED fab of BOE, which started construction in May 2017. If Huawei really decided to sell Mate X in the middle of 2019, it will be a huge challenge for the BOE Mianyang module process. But considering the extravagant price of €2,299 ($2,600), the demand of Mate X will be quite limited.

Huawei positions Mate and P series as high-end segment product lineups. These two lineups had never adopted Chinese panel makers’ display until Mate 20 Pro went to market in October 2018. The second flexible AMOLED, which BOE supplied to Huawei is the display for P 30 pro. As the main supplier of Mate 20 pro and P 30 pro, BOE has won the 2019 Mate 30 pro and Mate 30X display award and the displays are under developing.

Reliant on abundant capacity of flexible AMOLED, a-Si and LTPS LCD capacity, BOE became Huawei’s strategy partner since 2019. That means it will have the priority to supply Huawei’s every project, both in small-to-medium display and large display. The applications cover Huawei’s every product line smartphones, smart watches, wrist bands, notebook, tablet, and the upcoming TVs.

Research by Market
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