You might not have realised it, but what you’ve been waiting for all these years is a foldable phone. With the ever-increasing size of smart phones, it was only a matter of time before pockets couldn’t keep up and something had to give. The phone manufacturers blinked first and instead of massive pockets we have foldable phones.
Unfolding new tech
The thing with new technology is that, to be successful, it needs to offer something better than what we’ve already got, otherwise what’s the point? We all have phones, and pretty good ones at that, so how are foldable phones going to make our lives better?
Screen sizes are said to have double in the past 10 years, and the once sought-after flip phone has now morphed into the foldable phone, as an out-of-the box solution to meet growing consumer demands for larger screens. The foldable phone provides the obvious advantage over a traditional smartphone: the visual experience of a tablet yet convenience of a phone.
Currently, there is no consensus among phone companies about the best way to design a foldable phone. This has resulted in an array of different designs with some manufacturers opting for dual-function external screens and others for a combination of internal and external.
With large amounts invested in foldable technology, manufacturers aren’t going to give in easily, and foldable phones will be around for a while. Like any new tech, they need to reach a critical mass where there’s enough users to ensure their future.
Samsung were first to market with the Galaxy Fold back in April 2019, which received not such glowing reviews after reviewers reported broken screens. Since then, developers have acknowledged that this technology needs improvement before it can satisfy users and the likes of Huawei, Motorola and Google are amongst some of the big names developing their own devices in the hope of success.
Let’s take a look at several of the leading brands due to release some of the first foldable phones to the market:
1. Samsung Galaxy Fold
The 7.3-inch infinity flex display is engineered to be 50% thinner than any other Samsung Galaxy display. The precision-crafted hinge, inspired by watch mechanics, is said to be able to withstand the folds and unfolds of everyday life. Due on to the market in September.
2. Huawei Mate X
Opened out, the Huawei Mate X screen extends to 8 inches and snapped shut, there’s a screen on both the front and rear which serve as the “main” smartphone display. It’s described as a foldable phone packed with innovation, including 5G and dubbed as the “world’s slimmest” foldable phone. The phone is rumored to launch as early as September 2019.
3. Motorola Razr 2019
Whilst retaining its iconic name and flip feature, Motorola have given the Razr a 2019 facelift. The new design sees a fully foldable screen on the inside that opens up. It’s due to launch “no later than everybody else in the market” according to Motorola’s Vice President of Global. “With the new technology, particularly foldable screens, I think you will see more and more innovation on our smartphone design.
4. LG Bendi
Not only have LG invested in developing a foldable phone but they’re also been working on rollable TV’s, touted as one of the most futuristic technologies. The foldable phone is set to feature two screens, with one screen making use of a transparent section and the first patient is fully foldable in half, so who knows what the LG Bendi will be capable of.
Promising not to rush the device to market, LG haven’t confirmed a launch date however, late 2019 seems likely.
5. Xiaomi Mix Flex
This design has a tablet mode, and is also fully foldable via both sides; they can be folded inwards at two points leaving only the third of the phone on show. Perfectly combining the experience of a tablet and mobile phone, Xiaomi Mix Flex is said to be markedly different to that of other foldable phones so far announced.
No launch date as it stands.