Are folding phones the future?

Mobile phone manufacturers are continuously researching new and innovative technologies to give them a lead over their competitors. The introduction of the smartphone revolutionised the way we use our phones and enabled us to migrate more from our desktops. Many believe the iPhone to be the first smartphone released on the market, in actual fact, the first true smartphone made its debut 15 years prior to this and was manufactured by IBM called the Simon Personal Computer. Other attempts at being innovative have not proved as popular. Take Nokia’s attempt to fuse internet browsing (WAP), an MP3 player and a games console into one device – the Nokia N-Gage. A fail Nokia has never seemed to recover from but has managed to keep a certain cult following. Fast forward to 2018, the next big thing is folding devices.

The battle to unveil the first flexible handset

It had been rumoured for the last few years of smartphone manufacturers developing devices with flexible screens that can be folded in half, without a hinge or seam in the middle. Leading the race to produce the first commercial device for production were Samsung and Huawei. However, out of nowhere Chinese based Royale introduced their very own flexible display smartphone on 31 October 2018 to the frustration of Samsung and Huawei. The Royale FlexiPai phone boasts a display measuring 7.8inch (19.8cm) when opened bigger than many tablets. Whether this device will be commercially successful time will tell, but they hold the bragging rights for introduction the very first flexible handset.

Samsung Galaxy X

Samsung can be glad they have at least managed to beat Huawei to unveiling their flexible device. On 7th November 2018 Samsung held an event showing off their new device rumoured to be called the Galaxy X. When unfolded, the device resembles a 7.3inch (18.5cm) tablet. Samsung chose to obscure the design of their device and only displayed the main features.

How will folding phones fair with consumers?

Are there really any benefits of owning a phone with a flexible screen? The manufactures clearly believe so or else they wouldn’t have invested so much money in their products. For the success of any product, there has to be a use for it, the novelty of a new product can quickly wear off. The main benefit of the technology is it allows you to effectively carry a smartphone and a tablet with you in your pocket. The need to switch to a bigger display for watching videos will also be extremely useful for avid Netflix fans.

However, it raises concerns for the lifespans of these devices. Constant opening and folding of the screen will eventually wear it down, regardless of how well the phone is treated. The smartphones unveiled by Royale and Samsung are considerably heavier than the current biggest smartphones on the market. The Royale FlexiPai weighs 320g, which is 50% heavier than the iPhone XS Max or Galaxy Note 9.

Many factors will have to be considered by manufacturers to compete with their rivals – Price, weight and size will be the most important it seems.

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Folding phones are far away from becoming a staple device in the market, they may even be a flop along with the Nokia N-Gage. At Blue Whale media we specialize in designing mobiles apps and creating websites responsive for all handsets. So get in touch today.

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