Mobile phones used to come in all shapes and sizes. From flip phones to slider phones — then we have smartphones with rotating and pop-up cameras, and now, foldable phones. New innovations and designs are always interesting, but are foldable phones the next step in the evolution of mobile form factors? Is it a flip or a flop?
For years, tech companies experimented with new phone designs driven partly by consumer surveys, which brought bigger screens, in-display fingerprint scanners, longer battery life, and better cameras–some of the things we really wanted and needed. Folding designs, on the other hand, is not something we actively asked for. But here they are.
The industry got excited when Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold. It’s not the first foldable smartphone in the market, though, as there’s the Royole FlexPai that quickly sold out in China. However, it didn’t get enough traction due to its flaws. The first batch of the Galaxy Fold also suffered from design flaws after numerous reports of displays breaking down after a few days of use. This led the company to decide to postpone its market release and eventually underwent a process of redesigning, testing, and then relaunching.
Huawei has the Mate X that didn’t get a wide release, and Motorola took advantage of nostalgia and revived the Motorola RAZR for 2020. That too has design flaws in the hinge as discovered by JerryRigEverything.
Samsung, unfazed, doubled-down on foldable phones and came up with the Galaxy Z Flip. Rivals responded with the likes of the Huawei Mate XS, which is yet to be available.
PROS & CONS:
We can all agree that durability is the most important thing when it comes to smartphones regardless of design. In traditional smartphones, most of the structure is fixed, so it’s easier to place components like toughened glass. Things are different in a smartphone with a foldable design as it requires hinges and “soft screens” that are more prone to wear and tear.
The technology behind foldable phones also come with a price. I mean, they’re very expensive. And that premium pricing makes it inaccessible to most consumers.
But if you can afford it, you can benefit from the pros – you now have a flagship 2-in-1 device that works like a smartphone and a tablet at the same time, you can now multitask on a bigger screen, and some bragging rights as well.
Is it a flip or a flop?
We have no doubts that future foldable phones will be better, as we shouldn’t judge devices based on the first generation. Since technology evolves so quickly, maybe we’ll see a new breed of smartphones in the next few years that would eventually replace the traditional ones. It could be a foldable phone, or it could be something else.
Just like how the all-screen experience killed our dependence on physical keypads or keyboards, a new change will shape our current devices, and we’re definitely looking forward to it.
But considering how things are now, it’s a FLOP. These devices are not there yet, both in hardware and software. Despite the flaws, this is not to say that the foldable phone business is a failure, but more like it’s still in the early stages and still has lots to prove. The improvements and features are promising, but the technology is yet to be perfected. But we’ll get there, one way or another.
What do you think about foldable phones? Let us know in the comments below.
all-screen experience killed our dependence on physical keyboards? I beg to differ. to a degree it’s OK to type on glass but I don’t think it’s something I’d like to type on all the time. especially with my work as software developer.