While 2018 saw the struggle by smartphone manufacturers to eliminate the bezels and adopt crazy smartphone designs including notched & punch-hole displays, mechanical camera modules and sliders, 2019 will see the unveiling of the much anticipated foldable phones in the market. A number of smartphone manufactures have revealed their plans for introducing foldables.
Consumer Electronics Show 2019 saw the unveiling of the first foldable smartphone by an unknown startup ‘Royole’. The ‘Royole Flexpai’ has a 7.8 inch AMOLED display that folds in two halves like a book with its display on the front sides. While Samsung was expected to unveil the first foldable phone as it showed of its prototype in November 2018, Royole became the first company to launch a full-fledged foldable phone. As expected, the Flexpai is still in its primitive form and it’s a bit of a mess with unoptimised software and laggy animations. The phone also becomes extremely thick when folded making it bulky and hard to carry.
Samsung was the first manufacturer to show off its prototype of what its foldable phone will look like with its Infinity Flex Display and while the stage lights were deliberately switched off not to show the complete design still we managed to get a look of its working prototype and its one of the most refined ones in the market. The benefit of its design is that it folds into two halves. The phone can be used as a traditional phone with its 4.58 inch display when folded and as a tablet when its open. Samsung’s design looks to be the most reliable one and it makes use of both the displays in and out. While the phone was disguised inside a case on the day of its reveal, it will be a complete stunner when it will be fully revealed alongside the Galaxy S10 on February 20th. The phone is expected to be called the ‘Galaxy Flex’ or the ‘Galaxy F’.
Another smartphone manufacturer in limelight for showing off its Foldable phone prototype is Xiaomi. Xiaomi showed off its prototype in a video wherein its co-founder and president Lin Bin was seen experimenting with the device and folding it twice. Xiaomi is working on a completely different design where its phone with a single screen would bend at two corners of the display, that is, a dual foldable phone. This design looks way futuristic with thin bezels and does not possess any thickness factor that would add bulk. This is the best version of a foldable phone design seen till date.
Other manufacturers including Huawei, Lenovo, LG, Oppo, Sony and Motorola are expected to debut their versions of foldable smartphone at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona.
But why do you want a foldable phone ?
While the main purpose of a foldable phone is to construct a unified device that functions both as a phone and a tablet, it has to overcome a lot of challenges in its way. The main problem will be removing bulkiness when folded to make it an easy-to-carry device. Optimising software on a foldable phone according to the advanced hardware being used will pose another challenge to smartphone manufacturers. It will be a tough call for battery life on these smartphones as they will power large displays pushing a lot of pixels. The prices of foldables is expected to cross the $1500 mark which is not feasible for the average consumer and hence it will not be that popular among the consumers.
It will be exciting to see how the manufacturers will implement this design into their versions and overcome the challenges to present their vision of a foldable smartphone. This year’s Mobile World Congress will ignite the competition among the smartphone manufacturers in a whole new category of smartphones.
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