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The world’s first foldable 5G smartphone is about to launch, but you can’t have it

Published Jan 24th, 2019 10:25AM EST
Huawei 5G Foldable Phone
Image: Huawei

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Samsung’s first foldable phone will launch by early April in Europe, a recent report said, with the South Korean giant expected to give the Galaxy F a proper announcement next month during its Galaxy S10 Unpacked event. But Samsung isn’t the only company making foldable devices, and up until this week we thought Samsung’s foldable handset wouldn’t even have 5G support. Samsung’s biggest Android rival right now is making a foldable handset of its own, and this device will come with built-in 5G support. The company confirmed that the unnamed handset will be unveiled soon ahead of its expected April release, but you won’t be able to buy it.

Smartphone fans are probably well aware of the fact that Huawei aims to sell its first 5G foldable phone this year, and the company just confirmed the phone would be introduced at MWC 2019 next month, just a few days after Samsung unveils the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy F. The news comes directly from Huawei’s consumer division chief Richard Yu, who spoke at a new product launch in Beijing. Huawei just announced the Balong 5000 5G chip that will compete directly against Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

The Balong 5000 will be found inside at least one, if not more 5G phones this year. 

Yu confirmed that the first foldable phone would be unveiled at MWC Next month, with sales set to begin in April. He didn’t reveal any other details about the handset, other than to say it’ll have a 5G modem inside. And it appears Huawei may be the first smartphone maker in the world to launch a 5G phone with a foldable screen.

However, that phone won’t be available from US carriers, as Huawei is still not welcome in the country. Yu said at the event that he expects to steal Samsung’s number one spot in the mobile business even without access to the US market as soon as this year.

In a more extensive report detailing the actual 5G chip that Huawei unveiled, Italian-language blog DDay mentions the fact that Huawei will also launch a 5G phone that will cost under €1,000 ($1,136). It’s unclear whether the foldable phone will hit that price point, or whether this is a second 5G phone coming from Huawei this year.

Samsung’s first 5G phone will be a variation of the Galaxy S10+ and it’s expected to retail for around $1,500, according to recent reports. The first foldable handset from the Korean giant will be even more expensive, with rumored prices going all the way up to $2,000. A report from SamMobile on Thursday said that a 5G version of Samsung’s foldable phone will launch in Korea this year.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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