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Huawei Mate X will launch in late 2019, runs Kirin 990 Processor

Also with some design tweaks

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Huawei is on track to launch its 5G foldable phone, the Mate X before the end of the year, reps from the company told GadgetMatch during briefings at their Shenzen HQ earlier this week. 

We were told the phone will debut with the yet to be announced Kirin 990 processor, Huawei’s latest AI-based system on a chip (SoC) and the same quad-camera system as the P30 Pro

Mate X design changes

The Mate X team has been working overtime on last minute design tweaks. Ensuring the device can survive the rigors of real world use.

Huawei representaives told GadgetMatch, the durability of the display has been their top priority. Unlike its rival the Galaxy Fold from Samsung, the display on Mate X folds outwards, making it more usable, but also exposing it constantly to the elements. 

Mate X 5G that Huawei CEO Richard Yu was spotted using. Image from Weibo

To address this, Huawei is also working on a solution that can “protect the screen at all times.” It’s described as a screen protector of sorts that will go over the 5 layers that make up the display. 

Tweaks are also being made to the Falcon Hinge that supports the screen as it flexes and folds back into place. 

The latest iteration of the device features a new eject/release button that’s now flushed against the lipstick shaped handle that contains the majority of the phone’s internals, similar to what Mobile Group CEO Richard Yu was photographed with recently.

The design update corrects a flaw on the version of the Mate X we saw at MWC last February. That model had a protruding button which could sometimes trigger and unfold the display when placed, button down, on a table. 

Delay on foldables

The hype surrounding foldable phones took a hit last April when multiple reviewers of the Samsung Galaxy Fold exposed critical flaws that broke its display. The phone was effectively recalled, and its launch date pushed back. The delay has bought Huawei more time to fine tune its own foldable product. 

Recently Samsung announced it’s almost ready to reintroduce the Galaxy Fold, possibly some time in September in an effort to go head-to-head with the next iPhone. Apple is also rumored to be working on a foldable phone, but that won’t see the light of day until 2021 at the earliest. 

While very much an experimental, first generation product, it’s still interesting to see who wins this foldable phone war. Good news is that from the looks of it, we won’t have to wait long to find out. 

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Xiaomi’s foldable phone spotted in the wild

Is this a prototype?

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Everyone’s getting into foldable smartphones these days. After Samsung’s semi-successful foray into the market, other smartphones are rushing to compete with the South Korean giant. One of the earliest experimenters with the form factor, Xiaomi is apparently making strides in the foldable market. In China, Xiaomi’s foldable phone was spotted out in the wild.

In a now-deleted Weibo post (saved by GSMArena), the leaked phone is a whopper of a device. It’s obviously that Xiaomi’s foldable phone since it runs MIUI 12. It looks a lot larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Z lineup. However, it’s large enough to wield in a subway, as the photo portrays.

Whatever this is, it doesn’t look like it’s doing well. The device has a sizable crease running along its midsection. Back in the Galaxy Fold’s early days, Samsung had the same problem before fixing it in later iterations. Since the technology already exists, it’s likely that the spotted Xiaomi device is an early version of whatever the company is actually working on.

Xiaomi has teased an upcoming foldable phone in the past. However, the company has not outed a consumer-friendly foldable phone outside of prototypes. The last time we heard about a potential Xiaomi foldable phone was an old patent revealed last year.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi patents an upcoming foldable phone

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Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Confirmed in an official Q&A

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The cat’s out of the bag. After months of persistent rumors, Samsung has finally ended its free charging adapters and wired earphones starting with the Galaxy S21 series. The controversial decision mimics Apple’s identical ones last October. One question remains, though: Will Samsung remove the free charger in other smartphones? Apparently, yes.

In an official Q&A with Samsung’s officials, the company explained why it chose to remove the free charger from the flagship series. As expected, Samsung is taking the same stance as Apple; that is, everyone already has a bunch of extra chargers lying around anyway. Further, the removal will help in Samsung’s sustainability goals for the future.

However, in explaining their stance, Samsung has revealed its plans for the future. “To support our Galaxy community in this journey, we are transitioning to removal of the charger plug and earphones in our latest line of Galaxy smartphones,” Patrick Chomet, executive vice president of product and innovation, explains.

Besides the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung is likely phasing out the free chargers in future models, too. Thankfully, if you haven’t acclimated to the charger-less future yet, the company is not changing last year’s smartphone packaging; not yet at least, according to online store pages.

If Samsung is truly removing its chargers for future models, we’ll know soon enough. Unlike Apple, who releases smartphones more sporadically, Samsung launches numerous models throughout the year. After starting the year off with a charger-less bang, 2021 is going to be an exciting roller coaster for flagship users.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

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Trump administration blacklists Xiaomi, 10 other Chinese companies

Xiaomi headed the Huawei way?

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The US has added Xiaomi and 10 other Chinese companies to a blacklist amid national security concerns. The current blacklist is only focused on companies that have military ties and strategic importance in China.

The Defense Department released names of additional “Communist Chinese military companies” operating directly or indirectly in the United States.

Although adding Xiaomi to the list is surprising, the company has largely remained apolitical and focuses on making affordable smartphones. Considered to be China’s answer to Apple, Xiaomi plays a crucial role in progressing China’s telecommunication industry. It surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to IDC.

Xiaomi is China’s second-largest smartphone maker and dominates multiple developing markets like India. Xiaomi’s stock plunged more than 10 percent following the announcement, although it’s considered to be a knee-jerk reaction at the moment.

The ban means that Xiaomi risks getting delisted from global benchmarks like MSCI and American stock exchanges. Just last week, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom were removed from MSCI indexes. This largely affects their ability to raise capital from the open market in the future due to global compliance complications.

In response, a Xiaomi spokesperson told GadgetMatch, “The Company has been in compliance with the law and operating in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of jurisdictions where it conducts its businesses. The Company reiterates that it provides products and services for civilian and commercial use. The Company confirms that it is not owned, controlled, or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a “Communist Chinese Military Company” defined under the NDAA. The Company will take an appropriate course of actions to protect the interests of the Company and its shareholders.”

Other companies banned

Apart from Xiami, the additional companies blacklisted include Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Luokong Technology Corporation, Beijing Zhongguancun Development Investment Center, GOWIN Semiconductor, Grand China Air Company, Global Tone Communication Technology, China National Aviation Holding, and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

Furthermore, the ban is a stepping stone for US authorities to curb Chinese companies’ growth in the international market. The US took a similar step with Huawei and gradually pushed it out of every possible industry. Today, Huawei can’t use Google Mobile Services, cannot ship phones to the US, and has lost significant ground in supplying 5G equipment to telcos worldwide.

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