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Huawei’s foldable phone will ship with Android, despite US ban

Published Jun 24th, 2019 9:03PM EDT
Huawei Mate X
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

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We’ve had two foldable phone reveals already this year, but you still can’t buy either model in stores.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was recalled for repairs after early reviewers discovered that the foldable screen can be rendered useless with relative ease. Huawei’s Mate X was just postponed to September, and we thought at the time the Galaxy Fold’s fate was to blame for the delay. However, we have more details about the Mate X, and it looks like the phone will launch on time, running the Android version you know and love.

Huawei, of course, is dealing with the Trump ban that’s preventing it from conducting any business with US-based tech companies. The company plans to unveil an Android-based operating system of its own that would work without Google’s support. But the Mate X is shipping with the Android version that you want: Google’s. If the US and China do not reach a deal that would contain provisions for lifting the ban on Huawei until mid-August, the company will not be able to launch new devices running Google’s Android.

A Huawei exec told TechRadar that the Mate X isn’t delayed because of US politicians, but because of the slow rollout of 5G. Vincent Pang said the phone is launching in September, if not sooner, and it’ll run the current version of Android because it was announced before the Trump ban. Aside from the US, where Huawei phones aren’t present, the Mate X should launch in all countries where 5G networks are available.

The executive also said that Huawei did a lot of tests to prevent screen issues similar to the Galaxy Fold, but said that whatever it has done to ensure the phone’s durability is a secret.

A different report from ZDNet says the phone is delayed because of 5G network testing, not design or quality issues. A different Huawei executive said during the Nova 5 launch last week that there’s no launch date for the Mate X at the moment, but it could arrive in late July at the earliest.

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.