Editorial

Foldable phones: bet of the future

Brands like Samsung, Motorola, Apple, and Xiaomi are already following this trend. Discover the foldable phones’ features and what you can expect for the future.

Since the first cell phone was launched in 1973, brands have been doing the impossible to make the devices better every year. Over the decades, we have seen several new models, brands, features, and technologies of these tiny devices that became so important.

If, a few years ago, a cell phone was really simple in its features and design, now, you can customize your phone, choosing its design or color, and use it for countless new activities, from the simplest to the most complex.

Nowadays, it is pretty impressive all the things we can do with any smartphone: take high-quality pictures, record long videos, pay bills, read newspapers from anywhere, and much more. To make these activities possible, technology companies invested much time and money to develop new devices.

The new bet for the future of this business is the foldable phones, devices that resemble the 90s models, but with countless new features and possibilities. Discover what are the available models and what are the expectations for the coming years.

Available devices

Two things all foldable phones have in common are less space when folded and a bigger screen when opened. These characteristics are especially useful for those who like to carry their phones in pockets or tiny bags, as well as those who really appreciate large screens to play games, watch videos or edit visual content.

The first foldable cell phone released was Royole FlexPai, developed by the Chinese startup Royole, and launched in November 2018. Since then, all the big cell phone companies have developed its foldable models, with different features and specifications.

Between the available foldable models, there are Samsung devices, such as Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. Last year, Motorola has also released its first foldable model, the Motorola Razr 2020. Besides, the Chinese company Huaweii launched the Huaweii Mate Xs, and the pioneer Royole has updated the first model, launching the Royole FlexPai 2.

Each one has features and specific characteristics of its brands. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, 12 GB of RAM, 4,500mAh battery, and 5G support. The Huaweii Mate Xs has a high-end Kirin 990 chipset, 8 GB of RAM, a quad-lens camera, and a notch-free design. 

The giant ones, Apple and Xiaomi, seem to be developing its own models, which still do not have a release date. All we know is that they are already very expected by the brands’ consumers.

Designs

At first sight, the main difference between these smartphones is the design: the technology market has two foldable models. Some companies have been working with only one type, like Motorola, while others have already launched both designs, which is the case of Samsung.

Clamshell

This model is already used by Motorola and will be launched at the upcoming model, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. It is composed of two separated screens and one hinge, which means that the screen is not really foldable. The smartphone actually bends horizontally, in a central line that separates both screens.

Foldable display

This kind of design contains really only one screen and bends vertically, with no hinge. This model is more complex to develop, being available in Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huaweii Mate Xs.

What is yet to come?

Considering the foldable phones are a new bet, many new updates are being developed by technology companies. Most of them intend to bring more resistance and performance to the devices.

Better battery life

Every new smartphone model, including the non-foldable ones, has already been updated to present longer battery life. Due to the fact that the foldable devices may have two screens, a main large or a tiny one on the back (designed to show notifications and time), the battery spent may be bigger than in average smartphones. It might be a new concern to the companies.

Resistance

The folding displays need to be more resistant. The prototypes have to be tested hundreds of thousands of times to certify the durability of the device’s screen or hinges. So, for the future, the bet is that the screen and hinges will be even more durable.

Thinner screen

Since cell phone design became so important, screen thickness has become an attention factor. One of the customers’ main complaints about foldable phones is that, when folded, the devices get bulky. This may be a concern for the upcoming models.

High investments

After all, it is normal to wonder if foldable phones are worth the price. The answer is that it seems to be the main bet of most companies. It means that, even if the device feels like a waste of money, the foldable techniques are the main investment of the companies, and it can pave the way for revolutionary new technologies.v

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