More than a week ago, we had no clear idea whether Samsung would bring its first foldable handset to the Galaxy S10 Unpacked press conference, as it was previously rumored. And we suspected that at least one foldable would be shown at the Mobile World Congress. What followed was somewhat surprising, as foldable devices quickly took over MWC 2019. They’re certainly not for everyone, but they’re the talk of the town. It’s not a surprise that a foldable phone won the “Best in Show” award in Barcelona this year, but it wasn’t Samsung’s Galaxy Fold that did it.
Samsung has been showing us foldable phone concepts for years, and we all waited for the Korean company to be the first one to market with a foldable phone given that Samsung has its own display subsidiary. The Galaxy Fold was first introduced in November at Samsung’s developers conference, and Samsung gave the handset a proper launch last week, just before announcing the Galaxy S10 series. The Galaxy Fold looked like the future, at least in videos and press renders.
But then came the Huawei Mate X leak that confirmed the Chinese smartphone would not only show the world its foldable phone but that it would soon sell the handset in stores. More importantly, the leak told us that the Mate X would have a much sexier design than the Galaxy Fold.
A day later Huawei launched the Mate X, and it was clear the phone would be among the most popular devices of MWC 2019. I got to use the device briefly earlier this week, and the device is indeed remarkable. The Galaxy Fold, which will launch in stores in late April, likely well before the Mate X is ready for the masses, wasn’t available for hands-on experiences at the show.
Other companies including Oppo, TCL, Xiaomi, Motorola, and even Energizer, teased foldable devices at MWC, with some of them showing working concepts. But the only mature products right now are the Galaxy Fold and Mate X. The latter is enough to convince you that foldables are the future, even though the perfectly crafted and affordable foldables we all wanted are only coming at some point in the next three to five years.
With all that in mind, I’m not surprised now to see the Mate X win the Best in Show award at MWC 2019, although I wouldn’t have expected it to go to a foldable, especially considering what other traditional smartphones were unveiled at the show, with the Galaxy S10 being a prime example of what a 2019 flagship can offer you right now.