When Huawei announced that the Mate X foldable phone would sell for 2,299 euros — roughly $2,600, £2,000 or AU$3,660 — the audience at Huawei’s Mate X launch event at MWC gasped and groaned.
But it may not be that way forever.
“It is not just only one phone,” said Clement Wong, director for product marketing at Huawei. “A lot of different phones will be coming out,” he added, hinting that they could sell at different prices.
Foldable phones are shocking, and not just because they introduce a completely new design. With prices that double that of today’s $1,000 4G flagship designs, these bendable devices will shoot the cost of ownership into the stratosphere. In 2016, Samsung’s most expensive Note phone cost $850, while the price of Apple’s most expensive iPhone soared from $769 in 2016 to $1,099 in 2018, a 43 percent increase.
The possibility of cheaper Huawei foldable phones was one new Mate X detail that trickled out at a small group session for journalists after Huawei’s press conference in Barcelona. Another was an insight into why the phone is so expensive in the first place, surpassing even the price of Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold, which will sell for $1,980. While a foldable design and high-end specs do inflate the price, the key might lie in the Mate X’s shape.
“Honestly,” Wong went on, referring to the Galaxy Fold in veiled terms, “it’s not really, really true foldable.” Huawei didn’t want to sell a foldable phone with a large gap between the sides when they bend shut.