Huawei is taking some extra time to tweak (and possible redesign) its folding Mate X smartphone before it launches. As such, it will no longer launch in September, though Huawei is confident it can get a product shipping to consumers before the end of the year. This latest delay means Samsung can still beat Huawei to the punch.
Technically, Samsung already did, though its Galaxy Fold suffered from dire launch issues resulting in it being pulled from the market. Simply stated, the Galaxy Fold was not ready for prime time—multiple reviewers reported screen damage, and a subsequent teardown analysis showed where dust could potentially sneak in and wreak havoc.
While there is some benefit to being first with a working product in a new category, Huawei would like to avoid a similar debacle. Hence why the company already postponed the Mate X launch once before in June, and is again pushing the date back.
Exactly what will emerge is not yet known. Apparently Huawei's engineers have been experimenting with various designs. At one point, Huawei tried replacing the steel back of the phone with aluminum to make it lighter, but testing showed it was not strong enough.
Nevertheless, the Mate X might not launch with a steel back. Huawei is thinking about swapping the steel rear cover for glass, and turning in into an additional touchscreen display. This would essentially make the Mate X a dual-sided handset.
It's probably a too ambitious idea, though, if Huawei is targeting a November or December launch. Even the front of the Mate X is covered in plastic instead of glass, because plastic more easily folds. Still, if the Mate X does well, the different ideas Huawei's engineering team are experimenting with could be implemented in future models.