What is a foldable smartphone?
This is the question that comes up most in blog comments, a foldable smartphone, what is it? what use, what interest?
It is a smartphone with a soft screen. This means that the OLED slab can be folded and unfolded through the hinge integrated in the phone casing.
Certainly, at first glance, this technological innovation may seem like a gadget for a few privileged people, keen on novelties and able to afford it financially. And even if the flexible phone industry is still in its infancy, we can already see some nice features for soft-screen smartphones:
- A all-in-one device: The foldable smartphone of Xiaomi for example will fold and unfold in three parts, then we will move from a standard large screen smartphone to a screen size near the tablet. This means that in a single device, the possibilities of using a touch tablet combined with the usual functionalities of a high-end smartphone are available.
- A step closer to wearable: Wearables are all those connected and intelligent objects and clothing that are growing exponentially right now. So we come back to Lenovo and TCL but also to Nubia Alpha from ZTE which all three feature a smartphone model that can be folded around the wrist to switch from phone mode to smartwatch mode. Our use of technology is evolving and there is a growing trend to want to benefit from high performance and advanced features without having to carry multiple devices. In this respect, the smartwatch mode of foldable smartphones is really interesting; because it transforms a utilitarian object into life and fashion accessories.
- Redynamizing the world of mobile gaming: It is a fact that video games on smartphones are an industry in their own right and are increasingly popular with increasingly heterogeneous audiences. Games for smartphones are of all kinds and the advent of the folding smartphone will significantly change the dynamics of playing on smartphones. It will start with DS-type games with two separate screens, but one can well imagine games that are completely responsive to folding phone modes, where interaction with the smartphone would become an integral part of the gameplay. Puzzle and puzzle games like The room would have a lot to gain by leveraging this technology to make the most addictive games even more fun. Note that Samsung has already taken over the field of video games on flexible phones.
How much will the folding smartphones of tomorrow cost?
Apart from the Motorala Razr, which should sell for around $500, folding smartphones will not be entry-level or mid-range phones, this is clearly established given the materials and technology used to allow these phones to fold in two or sometimes three parts. It will therefore be necessary to consider at least 1300 € for a foldable smartphone like the Royole Flex Pai. The Samsung Galaxy F should be marketed around 1700 € . Unfortunately, this will be the price to pay for AMOLED flexible displays.
That said, it should be remembered that this technology is not yet fully mature and that developments towards new uses will evolve over time and with successive generations of foldable smartphones. For those who are eager to discover this new technology, we advise you to refer to our comparison of folding smartphones to know which folding smartphone to choose when you next purchase.
Just a few days before the MWC, we hear a lot about the different foldable smartphones being presented at what already seems to be the must-attend technical event of the year.
Major brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi or Samsung are expected like the white wolf while for others, it is a golden opportunity to create a surprise. These include Lenovo, Motorola and TCL, all three of which have been awarded a different orientation for their respective foldable smartphones.
Folding smartphone shopping guide 2019
The choice of your folding smartphone will surely be based on the aesthetics of the model or in relation to the different features it will be able to offer. The idea of a screen twice as big already seems to seduce many future buyers, eager for novelties. Samsung and Huawei seems to lead the dance, but now we have to see what is really inside these folding screen devices to decide on each proposed model. Xiaomi is also a serious manufacturer and Apple is not left out in the cold, although the American firm seems to be in a much less hurry than the others…
The folding screen models of Motorola and Lenovo will differ in design closer to the clamshell phone and do not consider hybrid folding smartphones phone / tablet.
Foldable Smartphone: Huawei & Samsung in the lead
It is no secret that the two Chinese and South Korean smartphone giants have already started a merciless communication war to become the market leader in the folding smartphone market. It is today; Wednesday, February 20, 2019, on the occasion of the Galaxy Unpacked, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Galaxy smartphone range, that Samsung will officially announce the release of its Samsung Galaxy Fold; the brand’s first flexible screen phone. By focusing on an octacore processor, a chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and a super Amoled screen named Inifinty Flex Display, the world leader in mobile telephony intends to let the world know that the future of the foldable smartphone will be written with a big capital S.
In the opposite corner, the Chinese Huawei, with a CEO Ren Zhengfei at the communication desk. It must be said that the brand is currently in a poor position and is losing its dominant position for the deployment of 5G. However, Huawei does not intend to stay away and relies on its Huawei Fold to also take as much market share as possible in the sale of foldable smartphones. the Chinese brand that has risen to the top of high-end smartphone sales in recent years, relies on a custom-made OLED panel to stand out from other manufacturers who will use all or almost one LG panel for their foldable displays.
Moreover, Huawei intends to stand out for its technological mastery and its high design standards. For the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, it is essential that all the components of a phone are in synergy with each other. It is the technological symbiosis that provides the highest level of performance and durability for smartphones and given the high energy consumption of a flexible slab, these considerations, this attention to detail could well make the difference in favour of Huawei.
Huawei Mate X
It’s time to join our comparison smartphone folding 2019.The Chinese company in less than 10 years has achieved a tour de force unprecedented in the world of mobile phones. When you consider that in 2010, he was selling smartphones for $90 and that today Huawei sells the most high-end phones on the market, you can understand that he is considered one of the 3 largest smartphone manufacturers in the world.
What Huawei understood is that what makes a good smartphone is having a software layer that integrates well into the structure of the phone. It is necessary to create a synergy between the two in order to make the folding smartphone, not just an additional phone, but a real jewel of technology and modernity.
Huawei will launch the folding 5G phone on February 24, in anticipation of MWC 2019
It is for the confirmed blow, the official and world release of the first Chinese folding smartphone, will be made on the occasion of the MWC 2019 in Barcelona, on February 24th… This will undoubtedly be an important announcement because Huawei stands out completely from the other manufacturers, because it will not use a Qualcomm chip, but a completely new chipset from which little information has finally been filtered.
Huawei on the other hand worked on his own OLED tile and will not use the LG Display tile as his Korean competitor. The work of the hinge also seems very careful, making it almost invisible. This is precisely in line with the idea of a good smartphone brand in that the OLED tile used specifically for their proprietary casing will allow the phone to bend both inwards and outwards. Based on our current knowledge, Huawei is the only folding smartphone manufacturer to have achieved this technical feat.
Huawei wants to be the pioneer of the folding smartphone market
For Huawei CEO Richard Yu, it almost looks like a personal matter. Not only does he multiply the ads to tell anyone who wants to hear it (a hell of a lot of people though) that his smartphone will be more powerful than Samsung’s, but he also makes it a point of honour that his flexible phone is the first of its kind to be launched on the market.
Foldable phone Huawei Mate X La 5G officially confirmed
In this series of announcements, the CEO of Huawei still managed to create a huge buzz by announcing that not only would they release the very first foldable, but that in addition it would be better than Samsung and finally to crown it all that this phone will be equipped for 5G.The debate on 5G is in full swing at the moment against the backdrop of a spy business, as we did in our previous editorial, and the context certainly explains the grandiloquence and multiplication of ads from the Huawei brand and its leader, who is trying to drown the fish.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
I have just obtained new information via social networks; reliable and confirmed information: there are many incredible things coming out in the world of smartphones. 2018 was the year of notched phones, 8.5-inch screens with ultra-thin frames and a size ratio: screen close to 100%, but 2019 promises to be totally different, we can already see retractable phone cameras, five-fold cameras, but let’s not get lost in this frenzy of gadgets. The real mobile revolution of 2019 will be foldable, or more precisely the advent and democratization of the foldable smartphone.
There are even some brands, including Samsung, that have already made flexible screen phone prototypes available. The first to have made a slight appearance is the Galaxy F already introduced during the 2018 Developers Conference. We can say that it has created a worldwide buzz.
For when is the Samsung Galaxy F scheduled to be released?
This is the question that burns all languages and fingers on virtual keyboards; When does Samsung really plan to release its foldable smartphone, le famous Samsung Galaxy F? What we know is that many spare parts have been produced, that a new AMOLED display (probably designed by LG, by the way…) has also been produced.
This screen has been patented and tested and could have a lifetime of more than 200,000 folds. I know it is a rather new programmed obsolescence measurement unit. That said, this central hinge is the keystone of the device, let’s just hope that other unit tests have been performed to ensure the hardware reliability of this flexible phone, both on processor capacity and battery management.
During the presentation of the Galaxy F, the production deliberately plunged the new phone into darkness. The light was made on the screen, but nothing transpired from the casing and the rest of the phone. It is doubly strategic for Samsung to operate in this way:
- This allows them to create desire by revealing only a certain part of the device and wrapping it all in a pretty marketing speech
- This allows them to delay to adjust the last technical details and finalize the final design of the device !
- Clearly leaving the foldable smartphone in a thick casing shows the willingness to hide most of the device.
This video will still allow you to see the overall look of the device when it is folded and when it is unfolded to look more like a touch tablet than a phone.
The design of the Galaxy Fold
Quite thin and elegant, the casing of this smartphone. With its 4100 Mha battery and equipped with the Snapdragon 855 chip, which will ensure the device’s performance. When folded, the screen is quite small, but as soon as you unfold your next Galaxy F, you will get a very nice 7.3 inch OLED tile. De what to delight the people behind you on the bus or on the university benches, who will appreciate the beautiful view that this flexible screen offers you.
What price for the purchase of the Samsung folding smartphone?
That’s where the bottom hurts, but at the same time when you see the prices of the latest models from Apple or Huawei, I don’t think Samsung feels embarrassed to have set the selling price of Galaxy F at 1700 – 1800 $, which represents about 1700 to 1600 €. This will be the price to pay to enjoy this amazing foldable OLED display.
Royole Flex Pai – the first foldable smartphone made flop
This company named after Royole is an American company and let’s be honest, before the announcement of their foldable smartphone, the now infamous Royole Flex Pai, nobody knew them.
This model was launched even before Samsung’s and is a hybrid device, a kind of 7.8-inch phablet. Royole’s folding smartphone was first presented to the public in 2018 in San Francisco at a technical event. On this occasion, many geeks and techno freak were able to take control of this device, a functional version of which had been designed for this purpose. First disappointment of the public ; the smartphone is certainly foldable, but does not wrap itself up and does not unfold around the handle; as the brand’s communication seemed to announce. Moreover, the smartphone’s movement is not flexible for a penny, you have to force it a little bit to be able to fold it. This is a far cry from Samsung’s superior quality with this heavy and cumbersome, clumsy folding smartphone.
Major technological failure: (NOLED;)
It should of course be kept in mind that this was only a prototype, but the choice not to use an OLED tile actually makes the device more rigid and formal. The quality of the display on the screen is also affected.
Royole remains on its technology Cicada Wings™ arguing on the extreme robustness of their screen technology which would be combined with a beautiful color contrast and a very high image definition. We just hope that their engineers are better than their webdesigner, given the poor quality of the images presented on their site.
On the processor side, they weren’t crazy enough to ignore Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, that we’ll find on all the devices of this first generation.
Despite all the shortcomings of the FLlex Pai it remains a major breakthrough in the world of mobile telephony and despite this first failure, Royole will be able to count on these many investors (long live the start-up spirit) to continue their Research & Development and hope to catch up, for the release of second generation folding smartphones.
Price and public release date of Royole Flex Pai
The brand has not yet officially communicated on an official release date. However, on their website it is possible to pre-order the phone for 1388 €, price of the 128 GB model or 1533 € for the 256 GB memory.
Confirmed: LG will not release a foldable smartphone
Warning shot, end of recess. LG has all-inclusively positioned itself as a key B2B partner for smartphone manufacturers. LG capitalizes on its strength; the construction of flexible OLED displays that will therefore equip a major part of foldable smartphones. The fact that the firm has decided not to market a flexible telephone model on its behalf is a clear indication of the brand’s strategic finesse. Why go and fight in the arena when we can equip all the fighters and enjoy the show?
LG G FLEX
This is a project we’ve been looking forward to talking about. Technical and discreet, LG has distinguished itself from other display manufacturers, whether they are billboards, telephones and tablets or TVs, thanks to its serious work, the quality of its products and a spirit of innovation that is second to none to the late Steve Job.
LG already winner of the battle for the folding smartphone?
LG is the first manufacturer to be interested in flexible and/or folding screens. Many illustrations are presented here to illustrate this summary of innovation, without which the foldable smartphone would probably not have seen the light of day. It is to be wondered if LG would not have already won the first set of the game. Indeed, it is worth mentioning that it is indeed AMOLED tiles from LG that will equip a large number of future folding smartphones, including the long-awaited Galaxy F. Nevertheless, LG has filed a patent for a flexible display phone as early as January 2018.
A clean design for the LG G FLEX
The casing is certainly thicker and a little less elegant on the model presented by LG, but the phone will fold itself up well (towards the inside therefore) and will offer a display comfort of 7.3 inches. The LG G Flex will be equipped with a front camera and a selfie camera, but with foldable phones, it will be difficult to really differentiate them; the ergonomics of the device will be fundamentally modified.
Foldable LG Smartphone: Official release and price
Alike Apple, LG doesn’t seem in a hurry to release its foldable smartphone. It was not announced at the CES in Las Vegas, nor is it expected that the Korean brand will be present at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona this winter. It seems that LG has chosen to wait until the end of 2019 or even the beginning of 2020 to market its own folding smartphone. So we have no idea of the level of the range or the price in which this device will be located.
LG : a 31.5 inch 8K TV and a transparent 4K OLED wallpaper
Clearly, LG has a certain technological lead in flexible screens and mastery of OLED technology. Hold 4K of screen resolution in a transparent wallpaper with a thickness of 6mm there is still a small level to greet in South Korea society. This wallpaper is actually a 77 inch diagonal OLED 4K TV, with an integrated speaker, a power cable that goes almost unnoticed as it blends into the background.
LG Oled 77W7V will be marketed at around $20,000.
At the same time, OLED is in the process of marketing an OLED 8K TV with 31.5 inches diagonals. The 8K offers you an incomparable visual experience from the comfort of your living room. With images up to 33 million pixels, la 8K offers a resolution four times higher than 4k and 16 times higher than Full HD.
This feat is partly possible thanks to the brand’s intelligent A9 processors, which allow infinite contrast rendering and give the ultra-thin screen of this OLED 8K TV an unparalleled reactivity in the world of OLED flat screen TVs.
The first 88-inch 8K Ultra tile with a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 px will be available for a price of nearly €25,000.
Xiaomi : New foldable phone with new folding method
A new leak suggests that Xiaomi could work on an ambitious triple foldable smartphone, you have to understand a phone that folds and unfolds in 3 parts. Journalist Evan Blass quickly uploaded a video presenting the smarthpone Xiaomi model with a folding screen via his twitter account.
Characteristics of the Xiaomi MiFlex
More than a phone, this smartphone foldable is unequivocally a concentrate of technology. In order to make the image quality even more beautiful, the Korean manufacturer has significantly improved the performance of the image processor. The foldable screen provides you with levels of detail that seem infinite.
- Processor: Snapdragon™ 845 is Qualcomm®’s flagship processor of the highest level.
- Ram : 6 GB of RAM
- Storage : Internal memory capacity: 128 GB
- Network: Switch to 5G speed! Speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s on average can increase to 20 Gbit/s. You can have the 4k or the 8k!
- 6.39″ Full Screen Screen,
- 93.4% screen size ratio
- Main camera 24 +2 MP
- Secondary camera 12 +2 MP
- Dedicated DOF (depth of field) camera
The short demonstration of his new foldable smartphone in early 2019 by CEO Li Bin, amazed the world of technology and shook the world of the latest generation smartphones. Running under android, amazing software feat.
The Cover Display which acts as the main screen when the unit is folded in half (4.58 inches, 1960×840 pixels) and the Main Display of 7.3 inches (1536×2152). For Android, it would be revisited to adapt to this new medium, in unfolded or un-folded mode, for optimal readability. Android has confirmed that it will be the operating system for this model. Xiaomi ensures an excellent resistance of its product. This Xiaomi is extremely robust so as not to be damaged after a few uses. Xiaomi talks about hundreds of thousands of openings, but how many times a day do we consult a mobile phone? What would this represent in terms of months of use?
TCL, ZTE & Lenovo for rollable folding smartphones.
One is Swedish, the other two Chinese. At first glance, there is nothing in common between the two mobile phone brands, yet on the field of the folding smartphone, the two brands have bet on a flexible, hybrid phone that can be operated as a smartphone or a smartwatch that will be wrapped around the wrist.
The Lenovo foldable smartphone wraps around the handle
Foldable smartphones and tablets look like they’re also coming to Lenovo. At Tech World in San Francisco, many cool things were announced, like the fab 2 Pro ready for tango and Moto Z and z-force. But the most beautiful technological innovations at Lenovo are for the moment only in the order of the concept, and unfortunately, it is impossible to buy a concept. That said, the question and answer session organized with some of the brand’s engineers provided a little more information about the real announcement made during Meghan Mc Carthy’s Keynote.
A foldable smartphone extended
The Lenovo foldable smartphone will be like the RAZR, a smartphone more elongated than wide. In a short demonstration seen on the net, we notice that the Lenovo the Lenovo Flex has several folding points towards the center of the device. The problem is not to fold the screen, the technology soft screens AMOLED being sufficiently proven; the challenge lies in the flexibility of the chassis and the plastic film ( most often) that covers the screen.
Smartphone bracelet for Lenovo foldable
What is really interesting with this folding smartphone model is that it is clearly designed with the objective of making it a connected bracelet. The folding points and format of the smartphone are designed to allow the phone to be wrapped around the handle. We must now see how the Android interface reacts when the smartphone is manipulated, is there a bracelet or smartwatch mode for this foldable phone.
Price and price, all this is still unknown. I don’t think Lenovo will try to compete with Samsung Galaxy F or Xiaomi and its smartphone foldable into 3s. No, Lenovo has instead set out to position itself on mid-range, targeting young athletes and active people who are keen on connected objects and the Internet of Things in general.
Motorola revives RAZR as a folding phone
If you are of a certain age, you must have had a Motorola RAZR, the emblematic phone released in 2004 and almost immediately it became a symbol of social status for celebrities while remaining accessible to the average person, like the iPhone of the time. It seems that Motoroala is trying to relaunch the range, The Wall Street Journal reports that Lenovo, owner Motorola will release a foldable smartphone, the Motorola RAZR; which will be a mid-range folding screen smartphone, marketed around $500.
A presentation at the WMC
Motorola has also chosen to announce its next folding smartphone model on February 24, 2019 in Barcelona, at the World Mobile Congress 2019.
Somewhere along the line, Motorola is trying to revive the clamshell phones, to stand out from other manufacturers who are more inclined to build hybrid folding tablet / phablet smartphones. Motorola provides a comfortable screen size in a very small casing. It’s a completely different segment and I’m convinced that positioning yourself in a niche market probably reserved for seniors is a very good strategic decision for the brand. Let’s wait until WMC 2019 to learn more about the functional and technical specifications of the Moto Razr.
Motorola for a foldable smartphone all in length
Motorola has chosen a radically different positioning for its revival of the Moto Razr. By opting for a smartphone that folds in on itself in the length, Motorola is addressing a category of consumers who could see in this foldable smartphone as an excellent compromise between their old clamshell phone that they appreciated for its thinness and its very compact character, and a latest generation smartphone allowing them to benefit from all the technology of the moment (high resolution camera, mobile internet connection, 4G networks, games on smartphones, full HD videos…)
Sony Xperia Foldable Phone – will have a transparent screen
Clearly, Sony is not being smart in the folding smartphone market. The company has prided itself for many years on producing quality smartphones that combine simplicity and high technical performance. The strength of the cameras lies in the quality of the cameras and the rendering of the photographs, but beyond that, the models type Xperia are not very recognized on the market and do not seduce the crowds.
Is the Japanese company experiencing a burst of pride? This is what you can think when you see their folding smartphone model, the Sony Xperia Note Flex Foldable Phone, which should feature nearly 6 different presentation modes: 3 for the folded phone and 3 others when the device is completely flat.
A hybrid phone
This device will be a hybrid smartphone tablet model with a special feature of size. The screen would apparently be transparent, semi-transparent or completely translucent. The brand is not at its best on transparent screens, and the Sony XPERIA Z Pureness, le first smartphone with transparent screen should be released this year. With its frameless transparent screen and chrome steel body it is a really impressive phone. For the moment, the technical specifications of the Xperia Z Pureness are known: 5.2 inch 1080p transparent display, 8GB LPDDR4 / 128GB UFS 2.1, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with Android 8.1.
It also features a 13MP front camera, an available Face ID and full motion control. We also have a photovoltaic charge under the panel and a 2,250mAh direct methanol fuel cell battery.
If Sony can combine its different technologies in its foldable smartphone, it could be emulated.
iPhone Pro Foldable Phone – Apple’s Flex Display planned for 2019
Nothing convincing for the moment on the side of the apple mark. Apple will probably release a foldable iPhone by 2020, but at the moment no concrete information has been received. What we can anticipate is that the Apple folding smartphone will be a technological gem like the latest Iphone X and XR models. In my opinion Apple will not launch into the marketing of a foldable smartphone if it does not replace an Iphone and an Ipad. If the flexible apple phone doesn’t match the performance of the latest Ipad, the brand won’t release it, I’m sure.
It is clear that for Apple, entering the folding smartphone market is no small feat. And yet this is exactly what the brand plans to do. Make the foldable smarthone simple, slim, beautiful and ultra efficient. The brand’s requirement level is irrevocable for Apple:
” If we have to release a foldable iPhone” it must be an excellent iPhone. Point.”
Clearly, the brand’s ambition is not simply to meet another technological challenge and produce a gadget, a medium phone that would fold in half.
Not for Apple, a foldable iphone is also a foldable iPad. The concept of a foldable smartphone must make it possible to connect the smartphone and the tablets, but not just in terms of screen size.
Apple’s requirements for its foldable smartphone
The foldable iphone must therefore combine the best of both worlds. Siri must also be able to adapt to this new model of foldable smartphone. The important points for Apple in the design of the foldable smartphones of the Iphone XR range are:
- Balance and comfort of use
- Durability and strength of the materials used, especially for folding hinges
- Be an easy-to-use everyday object, such as writing and note-taking
- A long battery life, without sacrificing the total weight of the device
- Contains games optimized for foldable dual-screen smartphones like a Nintendo DS-type handheld game system.
- Intuitiveness of the device and above all intelligence in the recognition of the smartphone’s active mode for a smooth use of all available applications.
It is difficult to hate the apple brand when you understand how it envisages their implementation in the current landscape of the folding smartphone. Apple’s commitment to excellence is definitely making this race more and more interesting to follow.
Price of the foldable iPhone.
It is still too early to comment on the price of this Apple folding phone, but given the exorbitant price of the latest Iphone X, I think the folding Iphone will be beyond the top of the range, but really in a Luxury positioning. I put my small ticket for a minimum sale price of 1899 € for the entry-level model.
Oppo : a foldable smartphone is also planned.
For the moment, information about a possible folding smartphone from Oppo, another Chinese generalist electronics company located in Guandong province, is scarce. The brand has announced that it will be present at MWC 2019 and that it could announce a folding smartphone model, but for the moment nothing or almost nothing is filtering in the specialized press.
What is known about the Oppo
- The phone will fold in half like a wallet
- There will be only one screen
- The foldable smartphone will be folded inwards
- The choice of the placement of the camera sensors is not yet defined
- AMOLED or OLED technology for the flexible slab.
- It will be marketed under the brand name Oppo Find X or Oppo RX19
Finally, it should be said that all the information presented in our comparison of foldable smartphones is questionable, particularly with regard to the announced, partial or missing technical characteristics for many foldable smartphones. Let’s hope that following the MWC we will have more information on the different models which will allow us to regularly update this article.
The folding smartphone market is emerging and not yet mature, so we will focus more on a second generation in the next one to two years rather than on this first generation which does not yet seem to have mastered all the technical aspects, nor to have succeeded in offering a radically different user experience and use of our current smartphones, tablets and connected objects. Perhaps it is in the concentration of functionalities in a single device that the war of the folding smartphone is really being fought.
- Foldable smartphone: Hulls and other essential accessories- It was the American brand Spigen that first unveiled its first protective shells for folding smartphones. The brand specialising in mobile phone accessories plans to launch 3 protection models in 2019: Tough Armor, Ultra Hybrid and Thinfit.
The foldable smartphone is one of the major technological innovations of 2019. All the major mobile phone brands should therefore release their models. It is likely that telephone operators will also wage a merciless battle to conquer this new market.