Foldable Phones Are Coming

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Dope
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Sep 27, 2004
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With the development of flexible screens, several phone manufacturers are taking a crack at making a foldable phone.



Samsung was leading the charge, with the Galaxy F, but Huawei just announced they are going to be releasing one as well.

The cost is going to be as high as $2K. There are concerns about how battery life given the nuances of the design. Still, going to be an interesting trend to follow. Rumors are the Galaxy F is slated to be the flagship for Samsung.
 

djbayko

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Yeah, it seems like a gimmick that we don't actually have a need for, and it only increases the chance of something going wrong.

The genius of the iPhone and all of the many smart phone designs which seek to emulate it is that it is a simple, solid chassis with as few moving parts as possible. The glass is a weak point, but it's a necessary evil up to now and a sturdy case drastically reduces that risk.
 

Couperin47

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Remember when you couldn't buy a high end TV that didn't have 3D 3-4 years ago ? Or large curved panel TVs that actually make the need to sit in the sweet spot even worse ? The electronics companies just keep throwing their shit ideas against the consumer wall hoping something will stick...
 

brs3

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This technology would be great to make an ipad more compact and replace the ipad mini and similar products. Unless this becomes the new blackberry and people who work on their phones find it useful..I'm not sold on it. Though, I thought the ipad would fail, so I'm probably wrong on this too.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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This technology would be great to make an ipad more compact and replace the ipad mini and similar products. Unless this becomes the new blackberry and people who work on their phones find it useful..I'm not sold on it. Though, I thought the ipad would fail, so I'm probably wrong on this too.
If you’re going smaller than a mini what size are you looking at before you get to the big iPhone model? For practicality at least? If I want to do something quick and easy, I use my phone. If I have reading or heavy searching to do I use my mini. Personally I’m not seeing what I would use something in between on but I’m intrigued. A flexible screen offers me nothing.
 

brs3

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If you’re going smaller than a mini what size are you looking at before you get to the big iPhone model? For practicality at least? If I want to do something quick and easy, I use my phone. If I have reading or heavy searching to do I use my mini. Personally I’m not seeing what I would use something in between on but I’m intrigued. A flexible screen offers me nothing.
Pretty sure brs3 was implying the ipad’s full size would remain the same, but compact its transportable size.
Yep, that is what I'm thinking. As a frequent traveler on trains, planes & automobiles, I could see the value add of making an ipad smaller in size when needed and full size when preferred. It'd be the best of both worlds.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Pretty sure brs3 was implying the ipad’s full size would remain the same, but compact its transportable size.
Ok, but what does that gain the average person? Are we looking to put an iPad in our pocket? A mini is - well - tiny. It’s. It packing my bag or briefcase with noticeable weight or taking up room. As someone else noted, this seems like a curved tv that it’s a load crap and marketing.
 

SumnerH

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Ok, but what does that gain the average person? Are we looking to put an iPad in our pocket? A mini is - well - tiny. It’s. It packing my bag or briefcase with noticeable weight or taking up room. As someone else noted, this seems like a curved tv that it’s a load crap and marketing.
I don't get the pushback here. If the technology actually works, it's either returning to the days when flip phones were awesome (halving the pocket size of standard smart phones), or allowing you to open your smart phone into a 2x size screen.

Either one kicks ass. There's probably an interim time when things are muckier, but that's when I let other people debug the tech.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I don't get the pushback here. If the technology actually works, it's either returning to the days when flip phones were awesome (halving the pocket size of standard smart phones), or allowing you to open your smart phone into a 2x size screen.

Either one kicks ass. There's probably an interim time when things are muckier, but that's when I let other people debug the tech.
I don’t particularly care to go back to a flip phone, nor do I find trouble for room in my pocket for a smart phone. My iPhone 7 is perfectly fine size for what I use it for or what I desire. When I want something bigger, I use my mini and that’s perfectly fine for those purposes. Or I use a laptop. Things having specific functions is a good thing, in my opinion, but to each their own.

When I want to make a phone call or do a quick search for a restaurant or address or check the weather, I don’t want to unfold a 9.5” (or whatever) screen to do it. Nor would I want to own a flip phone, that may take up less space overall but also puts a bulge in my pocket that looks likes I should have a fanny pack. But to each their own. I’m perfectly fine with a thin, larger landscape. Neither kicks ass for me.

Edit: to your last point, I think that’s why it won’t be more than a marketing grab. The murky period will deter enough people that it will end up being dropped, but that’s just my humble opinion.
 

johnmd20

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Ok, but what does that gain the average person? Are we looking to put an iPad in our pocket? A mini is - well - tiny. It’s. It packing my bag or briefcase with noticeable weight or taking up room. As someone else noted, this seems like a curved tv that it’s a load crap and marketing.
Seriously, and who needs a camera on your cell phone? Who is going to use that piece of crap camera when I've got me very reliable Canon Supershot with me? I predict the camera cell will die a brutally ugly death.

I also don't understand the pushback here. This technology could kick ass, in a major way.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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hen I want to make a phone call or do a quick search for a restaurant or address or check the weather, I don’t want to unfold a 9.5” (or whatever) screen to do it.
The mockup posted in the OP has an exterior screen when the phone is folded. That could presumably be used as a smartphone is used today without having to unfold the phone.

Put me in the puzzled by the push back camp as well.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Seriously, and who needs a camera on your cell phone? Who is going to use that piece of crap camera when I've got me very reliable Canon Supershot with me? I predict the camera cell will die a brutally ugly death.

I also don't understand the pushback here. This technology could kick ass, in a major way.
Yeah, it’s the same thing as a camera. If you want to spend $2k on a phablet so you can fold it in half, that’s cool. I just don’t see a heck of a lot of people doing it, especially when most people have a two year cycle on phones and this will be virgin territory with the normal expected bumps in the road to start. I’m not saying it’s not cool tech.
 

uncannymanny

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You don’t see how breaking the entire multisize paradigm would be huge? No more phone/tablet *at all*. It’s not going to happen anytime soon because this tech is still fantasy, but you’re trying to fit this into a device lineup created by the limitation this would bust.
 

Beomoose

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Really looking forward to Papelbon's Poutine's gushing posts in praise of the iFold 3 years after the Galaxy F is in stores. (Sorry, PP, nothing but love :redwine:)

I'm really interested to see what is and is not compromised to make the display do it's thing, and how consumers react to those changes.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I'll own ten of em.

It's really cool tech and I get it, you need something cutting edge in this market; I may be totally speaking selfishly but I've just never looked at my iPad and thought "man, I wish I could fold that in half"; nor have I missed having a flip phone the last ten years. It just strikes me as a very expensive solution to a problem not a lot of people find they have. I genuinely would love to play with if it happens, it does seem cool to see how they do it, but I don't think I could see myself ever buying one.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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I mean... I am often wrong about how people will react to high priced gadgets. I understand the smartphone price creep exemplified by the iPhone X line. But $1980!?

I just don’t see the market for a $2,000 phone. Not until it’s utterly life changing (a portal to VR, or a key to hail an exclusive fleet of self driving cars).

Yikes.

Edited to add:

I didn’t understand the iPad when it was released. I have an iPad Air 2 that I use daily. I didn’t understand the Apple Watch when it was released. I have a series 4.

I’ll probably use a foldable phone, once developers have some time to play with it and once the price goes down. I’ll probably wonder how I ever lived without it. But right now, I can’t help but think that Samsung misread the market.
 
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NortheasternPJ

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So as an Apple fan and generally not an Android guy and think there's a lot of crap pushed out, I like this. I don't think there's a market for $2k smartphone and I don't think that's a bad thing. I'm not a Samsung investor so I don't give a shit about their stock price, but if they can get this out, which is pushing the limits, the real focus is what are the 2nd gen products going to look like? If this is basically a large beta for rich people and they can work out the issues, this is a win for everyone.
 

Max Power

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Huawei has a different take on the folding phone. It folds so the screens are on the outside. It allows for the device to be thinner, since there's no third screen for when it's closed, and it can use one camera for regular pictures and selfies. The downside, of course, is that it looks significantly more fragile. If you drop it when it's closed, it's going to land on some portion of the screen. I'm curious to see which direction the market goes on it.
 

Max Power

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Sure, but these are just tech demos for the rich right now. The price will come way down once the right formula is hit on and it can be produced for the mass market.
 

dirtynine

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I remember about 8 or so years ago when Microsoft thought about making a fold-based phone thing - the Courier. It didn’t have a bendable screen (two screens and a hinge) but I always thought it looked kind of interesting, with an e-Field Notes vibe. They killed it in the design phase. The booklet metaphor makes folding phones undeniably different, psychologically, than tablet phones. I can see a path to success that doesn’t involve playing completely on the basic smartphone turf. Maybe the Courier was before its time rather than misguided.
 

Max Power

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I remember about 8 or so years ago when Microsoft thought about making a fold-based phone thing - the Courier. It didn’t have a bendable screen (two screens and a hinge) but I always thought it looked kind of interesting, with an e-Field Notes vibe. They killed it in the design phase. The booklet metaphor makes folding phones undeniably different, psychologically, than tablet phones. I can see a path to success that doesn’t involve playing completely on the basic smartphone turf. Maybe the Courier was before its time rather than misguided.
They're still working on it and came close to releasing something last year, but decided to pull the plug again. The software just wasn't where it needed to be to guarantee a good experience. They're usually quite willing to release tech demos like this, so it's odd that they really want to get this one right before putting it out there.
 

steveluck7

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In the summer of 2001, I worked for something called the Gordon Research Conference. Evidently it's a big deal in the science community. During one of the sessions, a presenter unrolled a display screen. It was just bright yellow text on a black screen but i remember it and remember thinking that it was going to be something we saw commercially very soon... I was off by a bit.