There were smartphones with the sides that are squeezed, those with the curved screen, with the notch and with the hole . Now we are preparing for the loading of folding devices. Here’s who’s working on it and who’s ready to launch.
Royole FlexPai: the first one
The first was a not very well-known brand: FlexPai by Royole, launched at the end of last October, looks like a cross between smartphones and tablets. It bends in two along the central axis. And, once opened, it has a diagonal of 7.8 inches. Price starting from 1318 dollars. To make a (and a lot) of the thousand dollars will be a constant. There is the cost of technology, but also the belief that no manufacturer hopes to invade the market with its own folding. Two good reasons not to launch, right away, in a race to the bottom.
Samsung will also be “F”
Samsung already has several certainties. The folding device (it will be called Galaxy F, as “foldable”?) Has already been unveiled in November, even if it was not an official launch. The South Korean group also assured that it will arrive in 2019, probably within the first half. On February 20, Samsung has set the event in which it will present its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10. Will the folding also be there? Probable, even if you do not know in what capacity. Samsung could launch it or (more likely) reveal some more details.
The acceleration of Huawei
Huawei suddenly accelerated. That the Chinese group was working on a folding smartphone was not new. But it was far from obvious a launch during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February. This was confirmed by Richard Yu , CEO of Huawei’s consumer division, during an event in Beijing. It will be “the first 5G folding smartphone”.
The details are not known yet, neither on the specifications nor on the price. But it is a signal: two of the largest three manufacturers per unit sold (Samsung and Huawei) will soon launch a folding device. And when the leaders push, for others it is difficult to stand out. Also because Android, the most widespread operating system on the planet, has already opened up support for collapsible devices to developers.
The Xiaomi video test
On January 23, Xiaomi also confirmed his folding smartphone. The information, in this case, is void. No characteristics and launch date are known. There is only one video, published on Weibo by Bin Lin, founder and president of the Chinese company. It was a sort of spot to understand the reactions of users: if they prove interested, Xiaomi would consider turning the prototype into a commercial product.
Motorola, back to the future
Motorola (historic brand today controlled by Lenovo) would like to marry past and future. The folding smartphone closes “shell”, like the cell phones of the Razr line of the early 2000s. The only official track, for now, is the design present in a patent. But the smartphone could also be very different. And to be revealed in February.
LG: from TV to smartphone
LG has always been one of the companies most interested in flexible screens, as evidenced by the rolling TV presented at the CES in Las Vegas. Until a few months ago, it was thought that at the American event LG could also present itself with a folding smartphone. So it was not. Many rumors that they would like it in Barcelona, but no certainty.
The big absentee: Apple
Among the big producers, Apple does not seem ready at the moment. Even Cupertino is exploring technology, as shown by some patents of 2017. But there is no reliable trace that can make a launch hypothesis. Recent rumors of the Wall Street Journal have suggested a line 2019 of the iPhone very similar to the current (an LCD and two Oled) and some more innovation in 2020 (three smartphones, all Oled). It’s true: given the sales anemia, the smartphone market needs a shock. What the leaflets could represent. But Apple must also reckon with the house: it is probable that the biggest victims of the leaflets can be (more than the current smartphones) the tablet. Would the cost-benefit balance sheet be favorable?