Although Samsung's Z-series likely springs to mind first when thinking of the best foldables, it's far from the only company making futuristic smartphones. Motorola, Oppo, Huawei, and more have all designed at least one generation of folding phones, with more on the way. Unfortunately, many of those devices have stayed exclusive to China — but that's slowly starting to change, beginning with Honor.
Today, the company held its IFA press conference announcing European availability for the Honor 70 alongside a budget Android tablet and a thin-and-light Windows laptop. Although not discussed on stage, Honor confirmed in an interview with that the successor to the Magic V, the company's first-gen folding phone announced at the start of this year, is coming to international markets in Q1 2023.
Obviously, companies like Huawei are, to a certain extent, forced by US regulations to stay in China, as its phones lack the Play Store access necessary to sell to European users. Of course, it's not just companies facing sanctions that are keeping their foldables exclusive to China. In many ways, Oppo's Find N is a better foldable than Samsung's recent Galaxy Z Fold entries, but, at least right now, you won't find it anywhere on store shelves. Even Motorola, despite two globally-available versions of the Moto Razr launching in 2020, hasn't announced availability for its third-gen model outside of that country.
According to George Zhao, Honor's CEO, the regional exclusivity all comes down to app optimization. Basically, app makers in China have been quick to adopt big screen UIs, while companies worldwide haven't kept up. In my own experience, Zhao has a point. I've been using the Galaxy Z Fold 4 as my daily driver for more than a week now, and while some apps look fantastic on the gadget's inner display, others — most notably Twitter — don't scale well. That's finally starting to change, largely thanks to Android 12L and continued work from third-party developers, but there's plenty of room left for improvement.
Although Honor isn't looking to bring its next foldable to the US, any amount of competition outside China remains good. With any luck, Google's rumored Pixel Fold will spur other smartphone makers to release their technology in North America.