We recently reported on Huawei’s latest phone announcement: The Huawei Mate X. What made this announcement stand out from all the rest was the innovative phone design: a foldable phone with an impressive screen experience! In this feature, we’re going to explore why the foldable phones are making such an impact on the market and why all the major manufacturers are scrambling to make their foldable phones public this year. Of course, no great tech feature would be complete without investigating the rumours around these upcoming releases.
Why are Phone Manufacturers Making Foldable Phones?
Apart from being down-right snazzy, phone manufacturers have several reasons to migrate from traditional phone design. Perhaps the most predominant cause being the declining smartphone sales over recent years. Last year, for example, smartphone sales dropped by a staggering 3% due to tariff price hikes, slowing economic growth in major countries, longer upgrade cycles and stagnation in the market.
Understandably customers buying habits are changing in light of turbulent times; they are more money-conscious, buying items out of necessity rather than desire. Holding onto their older handsets for longer does mean that customers need to consider protecting their phones over the long-term, including utilising smartphone screen protectors, the latest security updates and insuring their devices against damage, loss or theft.
Quite frankly, customers are happier to hold onto their handsets for longer because there have not been given many compelling reasons to upgrade. Until now. A shake-up in the design and features of the phone models of 2019 will be one way to light a fire under sale rates for all phone manufacturers willing to progress their technology.
What Foldable Phones Can We Expect to See in 2019?
There will be several phones released onto the market. Alongside Huawei's Mate X, we can expect to see models from Samsung and Motorola, and possibly Apple.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold
One of the confirmed big phone manufacturers to release a foldable phone is Samsung. While they may not have taken first place in this race (the honour goes to underdog Royole FlexPai), it is the biggest manufacturer to announce their position in the foldable phone market.
First showcased behind glass panels and promo videos, the Galaxy Fold is yet to be handled by anyone outside of the company (not even major news reporters!).
Customers can buy this phone from April 26th; although not all, as the Galaxy Fold will be released under limited availability and an eye-watering price for most of us! The Galaxy Fold (4G model) will be marked at around £1,500, and pricing for the upcoming Galaxy Fold (5G model) has yet to be announced, but we can make an educated guess it will be more than the 4G model.
The Fold will open like a book, turning its 4.6-inch display “cover” (also equipped with a screen) into a substantial 7.3-inch screen experience that mirrors our familiar tablets.
This luxury, foldable phone incorporates new OLED screen technology called Infinity Flex Display which prevents any lines across the screen from the mechanics of the fold. The screen will be made out of innovative plastic material that prevents the screen from breaking, no matter how many times the device is folded and unfolded. And with the help of Google’s OS, your apps will smoothly transition between display sizes also! This Infinity Flex Display is set to become the standard for all future Samsung devices.
Additional features include a fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, high storage (512GB) and more battery power! You can also take pictures on one of the SIX cameras available on this model. While this may sound excessive at first, the idea is that you can take a picture regardless of how your phone is positioned.
Nostalgia will hit us hard with this little beauty from Motorola. Taking the old flip-phone Razr and giving it a face-lift, Motorola is set to cause a stir with this foldable device. The Motorola Razr was popular more than a decade ago, selling more than 50 million phones before disappearing from the market, so it could technically be classed as a “vintage revival”. In 2017, the CEO of Motorola said: “With the new technology, particularly foldable screens, I think you will see more and more innovation in our smartphone design.” They’ve certainly delivered on that! The phone will be a flip phone with a screen on the front, opening up to an even bigger screen experience inside. The idea behind using the flip phone casing will mean this phone will fit snug in pockets, making them easier to transport than competing models. Reports mark the Razr to come in at around $1,500 (converting to roughly £1,200). Although there is no indication when this phone will be released for purchasing, the company have announced they expect to launch the model some point this summer. Unlike Samsung, we are not aware of all the specs the Razr will feature, enthusiasts have weighed in with their expectations. Featuring a 6.6 inch OLED screen, the Razr will likely run on Android OS. Customers will be able to pick from 64GB or 128GB storage, making this a small but mighty phone for the average consumer. Unfortunately, there is no news regarding camera features.
Apple Foldable Phone
Considered by many to be the King of smartphones, Apple has had a tough run in recent years. While the company have kept quiet about the foldable phones from competitors, it was announced in November 2018 that Apple had filed a patent for “electronic devices with flexible displays… that bends about a bend axis.” Rumours suggest Apple will wait to see how the general public receives the foldable phone, monitoring likes and dislikes before offering up their version later on this year (or even 2020!). Find out more here.
What do you think of the foldable phones? Would you buy one? Let us know.