Foldable Phones Are Here - But Why?
The smartphone market has shown signs of saturation for well over a year. It seems that almost everyone who wants a smartphone has one, and buyers are holding onto their phones longer instead of upgrading. The industry needs a ground-breaking innovation, a new paradigm that will get consumers excited enough to open their wallets again. Some think that breakthrough will be foldable phones. Read on for the scoop...
Would You Buy a Foldable Phone?
At least three foldables have been demoed already, and more are on the way. Let's take a look at some of the early entrants into the foldable arena. Will you be an early adopter?
The Samsung Galaxy Fold phone's "Infinity Flex Display" folds like a book along its vertical axis. When open, it presents a 7.3 inch display area. When closed, one of the outer “covers” sports a 4.6 inch display. Three-app multitasking allows you to have up to three apps open and visible at once. As you would expect, the Fold is unusually thick when closed, although 11 mm is not exactly a pocket-buster. If you love to take pictures, you'll be happy that the Fold has FIVE cameras: three rear-facing camera lenses (12-megapixel, 12-megapixel telephoto, and 16-megapixel), and two 10-megapixel front-facing cameras. Samsung says the device will be available on April 26th.
The Huawei Mate X is a full 8-inch screen when unfolded. It folds “backwards” so that you have two screens on the outside of the phone when it is folded – a front-facing 5.6 inch screen and a 6.38 inch display on the back. The latter display acts as an electronic mirror, letting the subjects of photos see how they look just before the shutter is snapped.
The FlexPai phone by Chinese startup Royole promises that you can say goodbye to broken screens. The Cicada Wing, Fully Flexible Display looks more like a wallet as it opens and folds along a thick seam. When folded, its 7.8 inch tablet mode display becomes what Royole calls three screens: primary, secondary, and edge. The edge screen displays notifications of incoming calls, emails, and text messages. I can’t imagine squinting at the edge of my phone for any reason.
Apparently, the unique selling proposition of foldable phones is that you can stop carrying both a tablet and a phone. I can’t think of too many people who do that now, and it seems unlikely any who do will ditch tablets and phones for foldables in the next several years. The prices of foldable phones will see to that.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will debut in April with a base price of $1,980. The Huawei Mate X will be $2,600. By comparison, the FlexPai almost seems like a bargain at $1,400.
Well-heeled geeks are notoriously picky, and today’s foldable phones have quite a few shortcomings. A faint but noticeable crease in the Galaxy Fold’s screen was apparent during its launch event on February 20, 2019. Software that fully adapts to folding screens doesn’t exist yet. Even the aspect ratios of foldables are non-standard, which degrades video playback. Battery life is questionable, too.
In my view, what we have in foldable phones is a plaything for geeks with too much money. If you have cash to burn, you might have a use for an expensive foldable phone if you watch more than ten hours a week of streaming video on a portable device. But what do I know? I scoffed at the $1000 price tag on the new iPhones, and hordes of people are throwing their credit cards at Apple.
It’s going to be amusing to watch industry execs try to sell foldable phones. Justin Denison, Samsung SVP of Product Marketing, gives it a shot in this video from the Galaxy Fold’s launch event.
Your thoughts on foldable phones are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 26 Feb 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Foldable Phones Are Here - But Why? (Posted: 26 Feb 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved