It’s no secret that the performance and camera capabilities on smartphones have dramatically improved. However, the same cannot be said about the design of the phone. Smartphone growth is predicted to slow down as global markets get saturated; however, things might change in the near future.
A foldable phone could be the answer; the one that will be radically different from the standard conventional smartphone design. Samsung and LG have already invested in the foldable display technology and probably this year, we may get to see the first commercial smartphone with a bendable, form factor. Here’s a list of smartphone giants working on foldable smartphones.
A bendable smartphone will be a game changer, something Samsung firmly believes in. The idea dates back to 2013 when Samsung first showcased its flexible display, and the year later it demonstrated its first foldable phone prototype in a private screening at CES 2014. There have been rumours that Samsung is developing a smartphone under the codename Project Valley.
Later it was revealed the phone will be called the Galaxy X, and although the name isn’t confirmed yet, this device could be released in either Q3 or Q4 of 2017. Apparently, it will be the first commercial foldable smartphone that can also be turned into a 7-inch tablet, and publications like Bloomberg have also reported on the same.
Like Samsung, LG is also said to working on a flexible display smartphone. It’s believed LG is going to release its foldable smartphone after Samsung brings its device to the market. A report from The Korean Herald reveals LG is working to make 100,000 foldable devices for the fourth quarter of 2017.
A source told the publication that LG started developing the fold-out technology two to three years ago, and its technology reportedly beats Samsung. Apparently, LG may manufacture foldable screens to be used by other manufacturers such as Huawei and Apple. A few week ago, LG was awarded with a patent for a “Mobile Phone” feature which allows the upper side of the phone to fold. The patent was originally filed on January 7, 2015, and approved in January 2017.
While Microsoft’s smartphone strategy is far from clear, it seems as if the Redmond-based company may be working on a phone with a foldable design. The company this week was awarded a patent that reveals a device capable of being used in multiple modes.
It could fold over a hinge or be used in a tent-form like a convertible laptop. If Microsoft is indeed planning a comeback in the mobile phone market, a foldable smartphone could be one of the possible ways to grab the attention.
Apple is expected to use an OLED display technology on an iPhone for the first time, hinting the biggest redesign of the iPhone since 2007. In a note to investors, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri said Apple is planning the iPhone 8, which will supposedly feature a “flex screen”.
The company has been attempting to make a foldable iPhone since 2014, with patents including one of a “Flexible Electronics Device” having surfaced in the past. But of course with Apple, these might end up remaining patents and not actually see the light of day.
The idea of a foldable smartphone right now seems something straight out of science fiction. But given the number of patents, and investments that most of the major players are making on this front, don’t be surprised if the foldable phone becomes a reality soon.