Reportedly, Samsung will debut its foldable phone in February.
Would you use a foldable iPhone? I would, if the phone folded to the size and thickness of an iPhone X. Apps on a screen 2x the width of the X (which would be almost square) would be more comfortable and the onscreen keyboard easier to use. The downside is that the folded phone – the default configuration for phone and Messaging use – would probably be thicker and maybe heavier, which would make single-handed use less comfortable.
It all depends on the quality of the image and the durability of the device, and the price (of course). Bigger screen in smaller size - why not if it’s sufficiently small and still usable folded?
Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others all have patens related to flexible and folding screens. Last year Apple was awarded patents for display coatings sufficiently flexible for folding displays, for flexible sensors/battery/circuits, for an update to a 5-yr-old patent for a wraparound display, for flexible support structures for mobile devices, and for single-fold and multi-fold devices. Apple’s first patent for a folding phone was filed in the US in 2016.
Unless you want foldable to get a hardware keyboard, I think that the phone plus watch cover the utility of the foldable phone. The watch replaces the at-a-glance that the small screen on the outside of the foldable phone would do.
I think a portable, more foldable tablet would be a more interesting product and possibly pave the way to merge tablets and phones for a lot of people given battery and screen improvements, especially if most quick uses of phones could be done on the wrist or AirPods.
There is nothing about the concept of a folding phone that appeals to me. To me, phone screen space is not something where more is necessarily better, and after a point more is actually worse. That being said, I’m willing to be convinced otherwise by designs that I cannot envision.
This is not something I’d expect Apple to be “first to market” on. A lot of them look pretty gimmicky to me. Did anyone see that one (Samsung?) presentation where they turned down the lights so you wouldn’t see how clunky it was?
That being said, if they could put this feature in non-clunky hardware, I’d at least be interested. It would be pretty nice carrying something that turns into an iPad in your pocket.
Steve Troughton-Smith just retweeted a tweet that highlights a video the President of Xiaomi had published previously.
The video can be watched via YouTube:
Watch the whole thing…
This is the first foldable phone that really looks useful. It is a “small” phone when folded and can be extended to a tablet.
I agree with Steve Troughton-Smith: this is the year 0. And this has legs. If it really works in real life, this will change smartphones and tablets as we know them today. To me, this does not look gimmicky at all…
Many years ago there was a rumour about an iPhone with a touch sensitive back, which never came true. I still find that idea kind of appealing. You could scroll on the back without hiding parts of the screen, for example.
Something like 75% of smartphone users use cases. It’s one thing for a Goldman employee to float an unsourced, wrong rumor in 2010, another for a company to recognize a tech that consumers will not want to adopt.
I’ll give you a use case where I’d love one but the parameters are hard. I’d like it to be my EDC computer.
Folded is is not much bigger than an iPhone 8. It can be a bit thicker but not much more than one in an Otterbox case. Not the size of the giant size iPhones at all. When folded must have the full functionality a smartphone has now. Make calls, look up stuff etc. Unfolded is must have the screen size of an iPad with full true multitasking. Yes, a lot like the new Westworld 3 fold ones In folded configuration needs to be semi rugged with at a minimum shock, water and dust resistant (will need much better connectors to do this). Survive a 1 ft drop onto concrete (standard for rugged mobile devices in the military) but ideally survive 3 ft drop, survive being stepped on by a 150 lb sheep (think small pointy feet so the foot pound pressure, especially at ramming speed, is a lot more) Cannot require face recog, or fingerprint id. to unlock. If voice unlockable needs to be an order of magnitude better than Siri is. (Think Minerva in Time Enough for Love ) Siri is unusable in my environment. Must have a low power mode for energy conservation and ideally the back/cover is a solar cell so when out in use it recharges itself. I want a color e-ink type display with full sunlight readability. Lanyard hole so I can clip it to me when hiking or in other environments where it might fall out of a pocket. Enough storage space that I can store 5K books plus other data with ease. Fully open bluetooth and other interfaces so I can attach things like the Butterfly ultrasound device and a Nanopore DNA sequencer plus attached Flongle (look them up they both already exist) as well as FLIR cameras and environmental sampling/testing gear for air, water and soil. When back at base camp it must seamlessly share data with whomever and whatever locations I choose but transmit data fully encrypted. No data transmission is required though. Can work totally wired for data transfer if desired. Full control of what and how much detail I allow to be shared. Support for a personal iCloud system of some sort.
I want it to replace both my iPhone and my iPad and my Kindle and be more than a tricorder ever dreamed of being.