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Why OnePlus didn't ride the folding phone train

Huawei Mate X

Huawei and Samsung are betting on folding phones, but not all manufacturers do the same.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Flip phones may be the future, but not all companies are getting on that train.

Chinese manufacturer OnePlus will not develop a flip phone in the near future, Pete Lau, the company's chief executive, said Monday in an interview with CNET at Barcelona's MWC. And that is due, in good measure, to the price.

The first folding phones launched by Samsung and Huawei cost twice as much and in the case of Huawei triple the cost of many of the high-end phones currently on the market. The Galaxy Fold cost a whopping $ 1,980 when it hits the market on April 26. The price of Mate Xfrom Huawei 2,300 euros; Some $ 2,600 shocked many of the MWC attendees.

"With this technology, your costs are high," Lau said through an interpreter. "But the value to the end user doesn't seem to be related to it."


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He noted that OnePlus has been looking at the possibilities of folding phones. Lau considers that the device "as different as it is" and "interesting", continues "returning to how high the costs are".

For OnePlus, the price of a device is a higher consideration. The Chinese company, which shares the parent company with Oppo, has drawn attention by offering the market a premium phone experience for almost half the price of those devices. His most recent flagship phone, theOnePlus 6TIt costs just $ 549 for a 128GB model with 6GB of RAM, or $ 30 more than the 8GB model. That compares to the $ 1,000 and more that the latest Apple and Samsung phones cost.

With this technology, the costs are high. But the value for the end user does not seem to be related to it.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau

This week at MWC, the conversation has focused on 5G and flip phones. Virtually all manufacturers have announced that they are working on a phone that will connect to the ultrafast mobile network. Only a few have said that they work on some folding model.

Samsung unveiled a few days ago its first folding phone, theGalaxy Fold, at the Unpacked event in San Francisco. That was followed by Huawei's announcement at MWC of its own flip phone, theMate X, and TCL, the Chinese company, parent of Alcatel and BlackBerry, boasted several possible folding layouts.

A great leap in design

Flip phones are seen as the next big leap in phone design and a way to keep us interested again. People are staying their phones longer and it becomes more difficult to justify an expensive upgrade given the relatively minor changes that are made each year. The hope is that flip phones can change that and introduce a new way of interacting with electronic devices.

In the case of the Galaxy Fold, the device is a compact phone with a 4.6-inch screen when closed and a larger 7.3-inch screen when fully deployed. The Galaxy Fold has six cameras, three in the back, one in the front and two inside. Also, Samsung's phone comes with 12 gigabytes of RAM and batteries on each side of the device.

Huawei Mate X: Impressive foldable phone with 5G and four cameras [photos]

To see photos

Unlike the Galaxy Fold, whose display folds in like a book, the Mate X folds out and features a large continuous display on the outside. When folded, the front forms a 6.6-inch screen, while the rear is 6.38 inches. Both sides form the 8-inch main screen.