World

Huawei delays global launch of foldable phone by three months

Huawei is set to delay the launch of their foldable 5G Mate X smartphone by three months, which comes as the latest setback for the company who was slapped with US sanctions last month.

The Mate X, a competitor to Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Fold, is expected to be rolled out globally in September, Vincent Pang, Huawei's head of corporate communications, said on the sidelines of the WSJ Tech D.Live conference in Hong Kong.

It was originally slated for a June launch.

The delay comes as Huawei phones face being cut off from updates of Google's Android operating system (OS) in the wake of the US blacklist that bans American companies from doing business with the Chinese firm.

Pang, however, denied the delay was due to the ban, saying Huawei was in the process of running certification tests with various carriers that were expected to be completed in August. He also told Reuters that Huawei, the world's second-largest maker of smartphones, could roll out its Hongmeng operating system (OS) - which is being tested - within nine months.

"Our preference will of course be Google and Android as we have been partners for many years," said Pang, also a senior vice-president at Huawei. "But if the circumstances force us to, we can roll out Hongmeng in six to nine months."

Hongmeng is based on the version of Android that is publicly available via open-source licensing and is mainly meant for phones, Pang said. Hongmeng will support other devices later.

Google earlier said it would no longer provide Android software for Huawei phones after a 90-day reprieve granted by the US government expires in August.