Huawei has so far focused on book-style foldables in the Mate X line but it’s now ready to unveil a new option: a horizontally-hinged device named the Huawei P50 Pocket.
The Chinese company already offers up what could be considered the most powerful and premium foldable currently out there – in the Mate X2 – which is the third entry in its lineage.
However, Huawei is yet to dip its toes into the world of more compact clamshell foldables – but with a launch this week, we’re about to find out what it has planned.
When will the Huawei P50 Pocket launch?
Huawei has confirmed that it’s going to unveil the P50 Pocket in China on 23 December at 8:30am CET (7:30am GMT). This will only be the Chinese launch though, so we don’t know if or when the phone will launch elsewhere.
Compact yet powerful, that’s #HUAWEIP50Pocket.
Coming soon. pic.twitter.com/7JKN8uL3Al
— Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) December 14, 2021
How much is the Huawei P50 Pocket?
With no precedent set by Huawei directly for a device like the P50 Pocket, there’s no easy way to divine potential pricing.
The most prominent competitors are, of course, Motorola’s revived Razr and Samsung’s ever-improving Galaxy Z Flip family.
At launch, the Razr 5G sported an RRP of £1,399/€1,499/US$1,399, while the original Z Flip was similarly steep, at £1,300/€1,500/US$1,380. Samsung has worked hard to refine the hardware and cost of its foldable clamshell, with 2021’s Z Flip 3 clocking in at a markedly more palatable £949/€1,049/US$999.
Depending on Huawei’s intentions with the P50 Pocket – with regards to target market and hardware competitiveness – it might price it similarly to the Mate X2 (i.e. the most expensive and premium device in its class). Alternatively, it may try and compete with the existing market and match its most prominent competitor – the Galaxy Z Flip 3 – by planting itself around the $1,000 mark.
What are the Huawei P50 Pocket specs?
First, let’s talk about that name.
LetsGoDigital spotted that on 3 July 2020 Huawei filed a trademark with the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) for the brand name ‘Mate V’.
The application was made by a Munich-based intermediary, called Forresters, which Huawei has used for similar services in the past; registering the likes of ‘Huawei AR Glass’ and ‘VR Glass’.
While the filing doesn’t only cover smartphones, based on Huawei’s previous move to use letters with its other foldables – the Mate X, Xs and X2 – it was assumed by many that this name referred to Huawei’s plans for a clamshell foldable, not least because the side profile of a partially folded foldable resembles a ‘V’.
That no longer looks to be the case, with the P50 Pocket name now confirmed by Huawei – unless, that is, these two names apply to two different products.
With the name, we also have a good look at the phone’s design. The best images come, strangely enough, from the Chinese edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, which held a photo shoot with the phone and shared the shots on Weibo.
The phone has two large outer circles, one for the triple camera and one for a small display.
Actual specs are uncertain, but leaks point to a 50Mp IMX766 main camera, 13Mp ultrawide and 8Mp 3x zoom lens.
The main internal screen will be 6.85in apparently, while the outer display is 1in. This is likely meant to function in a similar fashion to that of the Galaxy Z Flip’s, relaying notification information, the time, and serving as a viewfinder for the camera when the phone is closed.
As for the chipset, there’s debate on whether it will run on the Kirin 9000, or a 4G version of the Snapdragon 888 – both are also seen in the main phones in the P50 series. A 4100mAh battery is rumoured, along with 66W wired charging – far faster than the Z Flip 3.
Getting more into the nitty gritty, in 2020 a rumour picked up by Digital Chat Station suggested Huawei would be using UTG (ultra-thin glass) on its upcoming foldables, which could include the P50 Pocket.
More recently, LetsGoDigital spotted a separate Huawei patent, published on 25 November 2021, detailing a new cooling system, specifically for foldables, originally registered with the WIPO in mid-2020.
The patent, titled “Heat pipe for electronic device and method of manufacturing,” doesn’t just include the above diagram but over its 46 pages also details the manufacturing processes required to make the folding cooling system a reality, suggesting Huawei is already able to build a cooling system like this and that it’s adaptable to different folding form factors.