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.
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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] or Twitter @zhounanyu.