Chinese telecom giant Huawei introduced the Pocket S, a budget flip-style foldable phone, on Wednesday in China. The phone has a lower price range compared to other foldable phones, priced between RMB 5,988 and RMB 7,488 ($819 to $1,025).

Why it matters: Huawei has so far dominated the foldable phone market in China. The new Pocket S further lowers the entry price for a foldable phone, making it a strong rival to the Samsung Z Flip series.

  • Huawei is also looking to appeal to a broader audience with the product, and some phone cases have been specifically designed to attract female users, whose tight-fit attire may not have enough pocket space to hold a traditional smartphone.
  • Liu added that the formerly-released Huawei Pocket P50 is the model with the best sales of 510,000 units in the first three quarters in China. The release of Pocket S further lower the entrance of foldable phones, and he expected a larger market share from flip-style foldable phones.

Details: The Huawei Pocket S is a cheaper version of the Pocket P50, sharing a similar core experience but compromising on key specs like the processor and cameras. 

  • The phone is equipped with a 6.9-inch OLED display, and its body is sized 87.3 x 75.5 x 15.2 mm when folded (half of a usual smartphone) and 170 x 75.5 x 7.2 mm when unfolded. The main display is of a 21:9 ratio, with a 120 Hz refresh rate.
  • It also has a mini display on the cover next to the cameras to display essential information, which is 1.04 inches. Its resolution is 340 x 340 pixels with a 328 PPI.
  • Huawei adopted a new hinge design for the phone, which is firmer and more durable, claiming a folding count of over 400,000.
  • It has a 4,000-mAh battery and supports 40 W fast charging. Huawei claims that the phone can be charged to 52% in 20 minutes.
  • Unlike the Pocket P50, the model has a dual-camera design and comes with a new RYYB (Red, Yellow, Yellow, Blue) sensor, like the Mate 50 series. With the new sensor, the camera can take in 40% more light, according to Huawei.
  • The processor is a major compromise as the Pocket S is equipped with a Qualcomm 778G 4G mid-end chipset. Huawei applied a new cooling tech made of flexible graphene material to get more performance out of the processor.
  • The Pocket S comes with a fingerprint sensor on the power button for biometric authentication. 
  • The phone is available in four colors and three storage volume options: 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. All versions have 8 GB RAM. The former two storage options will be available from Nov. 10, and the 512 GB version will launch in December. 

Context: Foldable phone shipments in China saw a sharp yearly increase of 246% in the third quarter of 2022 to 1 million units. Huawei is the top foldable phone vendor in China, and shipped 44.9% (in Chinese) of the units in the country in the third quarter of 2022, according to IDC.

  • For the first half of this year, Huawei accounted for 16% of the foldable phone market globally. Samsung led the global market with a 62% share, according to Counterpoint Research.
  • Compared to those with larger displays, flip-style foldable phones have a smaller volume and weight and it targets users who prefer smaller phones or want an affordable foldable phone, Louis Liu, an analyst from CINNO Research told TechNode.

Ward Zhou

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a]technode.com or Twitter @zhounanyu.