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Top 10 Facts About the Future of Folding Phones

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Something gamechanging this way comes. For this list, we’ll be looking at the selling points and ramifications of this new tech hitting the smartphone market, from smaller packages, to better pricing, and better battery usage. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Facts About the Future of Folding Phones.
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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Facts About the Future of Folding Phones


Something gamechanging this way comes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Facts About the Future of Folding Phones.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the selling points and ramifications of this new tech hitting the smartphone market.

#10: Smaller, More Compact Packages

Nowadays, when it comes to phones, bigger is apparently better. There’s even a term for the largest models - phablets! Hard though it is to believe, not so long ago, the arms race in the industry was to make phones as small as possible. Smartphones have changed all that, but foldable phones could reverse the trend back again. Their foldability means you can keep or even increase the screen size while reclaiming some of that real estate in your pocket or purse. The first generation will probably come in a range of shapes and sizes - with Apple, Lenovo, Huawei, LG, and Samsung all looking into the technology. Motorola is even bringing back the RAZR!

#9: There’s Already One On the Market, It Just Didn’t Sell

Whenever an industry is developing a new kind of tech, there’s always one company who tries to capitalise on the buzz by rushing a product to market. Typically, this is little more than a shadow of the concept’s full potential. In the case of foldingphones, this honor goes to the ZTE Axon M, released in 2017, which features two displays attached by a hinge in the middle. Sadly, the design is clunky and the gap between the screens, when used as a single display, is distracting. Ultimately, it felt underpowered and more conceptual than functional, and so failed to make a major impact.

#8: The Price

We’re not going to sugarcoat this for you. As with any new smartphone, these folding or bendable wonders aren’t going to come cheap. While any new model of iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Pixel is pricey, given the revolutionary tech going into foldingphones, the first generation is likely to be in a price bracket of its very own. For example, experts estimate $2000 for the Samsung model. Think of this more as an entirely new product, like when flatscreen TVs first hit the market. With that being said, insiders like Roel Vertegaal from Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab think that mass production could eventually bring prices back down.

#7: Heavy Battery Usage

One of the biggest frustrations with modern phones is the battery life. Unless you upgrade your phone yearly, chances are that you’re dissatisfied with how long you can go between charges. And sure, there are strategies for maintaining battery health, but a phone is not a pet - no one wants to be tied to a feeding schedule. When you start adding additional screens, the gap between user needs and battery technology is likely to only get worse. As such, it’s predicted that companies will outfit these smartphones with larger batteries, driving up the price. Even so, buyers should prepare themselves for a disappointing battery life in the first generation of models.

#6: Changing Gaming

Folding phones offer potential benefits to all types of phone users. But depending on the specific designs that companies bring to market, gaming is one of the most obvious and literally game-changing examples that comes to mind. Folding phones with two dedicated displays could be used similarly to the Nintendo 3DS. These distinct screen sections could also finally rectify the issue of having buttons overlaid on the action. With bendable phones, things get even more interesting, with all manner of room for innovation. Imagine if the phone itself became a flexible motion controller, responding to specific manipulations rather than conventional onscreen buttons.

#5: A Dual Monitor On the Go

If you do most of your work from a computer, chances are that you’ve embraced a dual or even triple monitor setup. With flexible or folding screens, you could easily view two or more applications simultaneously. Smartphones are already portable barebones offices, in many ways; with double the display, taking care of business on the go could be easier than ever. Need to shoot off an email while following a GPS? Go for it! Paraphrase an email’s contents in a text? No problem! One need only look at Android multitasking apps and split screen feature to see the potential.

#4: More or Less Durable? The Jury is Still Out

One of the biggest points of contention when it comes to the future of folding phones is that of durability. Many have argued that the moment you add a hinge, you also add a weak point, a concern raised frequently about Turing’s pivoting Hubble phone. Of course, we would hope that developers are taking this into account with their designs. Others have argued that more conventional folding phones will usher in an era of drastically more durable displays. If they can perfect a truly bendable phone like LeNovo has been showing off, you might just have the sturdiest phone on the market. Could this be the end of cracked screens?

#3: Bigger Screens: The Death of Tablets?

Tablet PCs have technically been around for decades, but the world didn’t really take notice until the release of the iPad. It was like something out of a sci-fi film, and people flocked to get their hands on it or one of the similar devices that soon followed from competitors. In less than a decade however, the market has already taken a nosedive, in no small part thanks to the increasing size of smartphone screens. With proposed designs like those from Lenovo and LG unfolding to the size of your typical tablet, what purpose will remain for more conventional tablets?

#2: Greater Choice for Consumers

When smartphones first debuted, it was exciting. Different companies each forged their own path in the hope of finding the perfect blend of design and functionality. Unfortunately, over the years, manufacturers have all come to roughly the same conclusions, at least as far as design is concerned. With folding and bendable phones however, that could change. The differences won’t just be about UI or tech specs; they’ll be much more tangible. Manufacturers will once again be in open waters and hopefully, that will mean more innovation and a return to experimentation. Classic single screen designs will surely continue to thrive, there’ll just be an additional category of phone to choose from.

#1: The First Generation Predictions

Many questions remain about the future of folding phones. Industry experts have weighed in and made their predictions, but until a few different models hit the market and consumers put them through the trials of everyday use, we can’t know for sure. The first wave of phones are bound to be flawed; the question is, will their potential leave consumers hungry for more? Some predict that the format will be dead on arrival - destined to go the way of 3D televisions. Insisting otherwise, Samsung promises a functional product rather than just a gimmick. Only time will tell, but we hope that this first gen proves to be just that - the first of many.

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