Have you given a thought about foldable smartphones? Smartphones have become the carriers of our online identities, our personal cinemas, our wallets….our permanent companions everywhere we go. At time went by, their screens got larger and larger. From the standard 4’ screen of a few years ago, at present, the standard has now increased to 5.5’. Flagship models from major manufacturers have screens of over 6’ and migrate towards the phablet size.
The larger the screen, the better, right? You can watch movies in high definition, or you can zoom in to see the finest details of a photo. You can even work on spreadsheets, text documents, and slides on large screen smartphones.
Big SmartPhone May be Better, but It Is Not Convenient
The downside of large screens smartphones is awkward handling. In most of the cases, people reach for their phones when they are on the run, to order a taxi, check the weather forecast or answer a text.
It is nearly impossible to keep these phones in one hand, swipe and tap and do everything you need to without the risk of dropping the device to the ground. This is when a new idea started to take shape: what if we had foldable smartphones?
Foldable Smartphones: From the Bendgate Debacle to MVP
The idea of foldable smartphones may have started by accident.
One of the series of Apple iPhones had the unfortunate tendency to bend when the smartphone was kept in the back pocket of trousers.
Bendgate videos became extremely popular on YouTube, with hapless owners showing their misshapen smartphones. However, the human mind is capable of getting something practical out of everything. It was not very long afterward when the concept of foldable smartphones became the next Holy Grail for phone manufacturers across the world.
Who would manage to design and produce the first smartphone that can be folded and, thus, more convenient to use in single hand mode?
As it happens with every highly competitive industry, big and small players alike started working in deep secrecy and, as appropriate, filing patents.
A few concepts and MVPs (minimum viable product) has already been released as novelty items. But we are still waiting to see this innovative type of smartphone in mass production.
How Recent Is the Concept of Flexible Display?
The day when foldable smartphones become a reality is drawing near. But the concept of a foldable display has cropped out here and there over several decades.
The grandfather of foldable smartphones is called Gyricon. It is a model of e-paper developed by Xerox PARC back in 1974. Much later, in 2003, the company even founded a subsidiary to develop and market Gyricon, but it closed down after only two years, in 2005.
In the same year, the Arizona State University partnered with Hewlett Packard to create a flexible display.
The project involved a few demonstrations over the next three years, but there were no further developments.
The first truly foldable phone was invented as a prototype by Nokia. Named Morph, the device was released for press demonstrations in 2008. It was developed in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.
This was the history – but what does the future hold? Let us look at some of the upcoming or even rumored foldable smartphones of 2019.
Foldable Smartphones of 2019
1. Royole FlexPai
The small Chinese phone manufacturer has already stolen the spotlight from much bigger players on the market. Their foldable smartphone model was launched in November 2018 and can be purchased for around $1,300. The phone does not have a sleek and polished designed. but it has some interesting features.
Key Features of Royole FlexPai Include:
- 7.8’ AMOLED screen with 1920 x1440 resolution;
- Snapdragon 855 chip
- 2-camera system, one of 16 MP, the other of 20 MP
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB internal storage space.
The phone has an operating system called Water, built on Android 9.0 Oreo.
2. Samsung Galaxy Fold
The largest and best known Android phone manufacturer has teased the possibility of developing foldable smartphones for a while now. But the time of rumors is over, and the Galaxy Fold model is ready to be launched in March.
Samsung presented the foldable phone during their developers’ conference in November 2018. From the information included in the presentation, we know that the phone will have a 7.3’ screen that folds down to 4.5’.
The display will be made with a proprietary technology developed by Samsung and called Infinity Flex Display.
This type of display is extremely thin and it can be allegedly flexed for hundreds of thousands of times without damaging it.
Samsung Galaxy Fold will run on the brand new One UI interface built by the Korean company. It is already one of the most talked foldable smartphones of 2019.
Key Features of Samsung Galaxy Fold Include:
3. Xiaomi MIX Flex
Xiaomi has grown steadily in the last few years and now it wants to be among the first companies to launch foldable smartphones.
Their first model, named MIX Flex was leaked online by no less than the co-founder and president of the company, Lin Bin.
According to the message accompanying the video, Xiaomi MIX Flex will be a double folding smartphone. It can be used either as a tablet in full size, or it can be folded back on both sides, turning it into a conveniently sized smartphone.
4. Motorola RAZR 2019
RAZR was one of the most innovative and one of the beloved foldable smartphones of 2019.
It opened the road for many other flip phones through its cutting-edge, hi-tech look. It seems that Motorola has not forgotten its glory days and wants to bring them back by resurrecting the RAZR model with a vengeance.
However, unlike the other foldable smartphones, you have read about here, RAZR 2019 is still a rumor. Although Motorola filed a patent for a two-screen foldable phone, there are no actual details on when we will see the first MVP.
According to the patent, Motorola is working on a 7’ phone with two cameras and hinges at the top, bottom, and middle. The designs also show that the phone may be propped up like a tent.
5. Huawei MATE 5G
ImgCredits – digitaltrends.com
Huawei was not going to be left behind in the foldable phones rate.
According to CEO of Huawei – Richard Yu, the first foldable Huawei phone will be powerful enough “to replace a PC”.
It will be an impressive 8’ unfolded and fold down to 5’. The design shown in concept photos indicates that the phone will have a notch for facial ID recognition and no bezels.
Key Features of Huawei MATE 5G:
- It is a 5G device
- Kirin 980 processor
- Huawei’s new Balong 5000 5G chipse
Although there is no official release date for this model, the company made several official reiterations of its commitment to launch a foldable smartphone.
What do you think? Will foldable smartphones become the norm and make tablets obsolete? Share your opinions in the comment section below!
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