Update: Huawei Australia have confirmed to PC World that the Mate Xs will be available to preorder from March ahead of a local launch in April
Huawei's second stab at a foldable smartphone has been unveiled and confirmed for the Australian market.
Shown off via a "virtual press conference" overnight, Huawei have announced a follow-up to the first foldable phone: the Huawei Mate Xs. The device touts a refined version of the same outward-folding form-factor found in the original Mate X and a more powerful Kirin 990 processor but is otherwise very similar to its predecessor.
Like that device, the Mate Xs features a 4500mAh battery, 5G connectivity, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a quad-lens camera array akin to that found in last year's P30 Pro.
The design here is something of a reversal of Samsung's book-like Galaxy Fold. When folded, the Mate X's front display is 6.6-inches in size. When necessary, the device can be unfolded to act as an 8-inch tablet.
The back of the device can also be used as a 6.3-inch screen when needed. This, among other things, lets you use the powerful triple-lens optics on the device for selfies. For a full breakdown of how the original Mate X compared to the Galaxy Fold, click here.
While the original Mate X was shown off (and impressed us) at last year's Mobile World Congress, it never made it to Australian shores. Instead, the device only got a limited release in the Chinese market.
Huawei say that won't be the case with the Huawei Mate XS.
Larking Huang, Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group Australia says that the company "are committed to continue investing in the local market, and providing consumers with our cutting-edge technology that continually elevates the user experience."
He says “Huawei is excited to be bringing the latest innovative range of products to Australians."
Of course, the catch here is that - since Huawei remains in dispute with the US - the Mate Xs won't run the same version of Android as most other modern smartphones. As with last year's Mate 30 Pro, the new device doesn't support Google apps and services nor the Google Play Store itself. Instead - the Mate Xs runs on a new version of EMUI10, which is based off the open source version of Android.
As a result, owners will be pretty much limited to third-party apps available on the Huawei App store and external appstores like APK Pure. What's even on the Huawei App Gallery, I hear you ask? Well, Huawei's online software storefront does boast over 45,000 apps and over 400 million monthly active users. However, things like Spotify, Uber and Instagram are nowhere to be found.
Alongside the Mate Xs, Huawei announced that they'll be looking to shore up the Huawei AppGallery in the coming months with new privacy protections, cybersecurity features and additional applications.
Australian pricing for the Huawei Mate Xs is to be confirmed but overseas the device is priced at €2499. Huawei Australia tell us that preorders for the foldable will open in March ahead of an April launch window.