The first set of truly flexible, foldable smartphones is set to arrive this year, bringing with it a new era of mobile technology that could really shake things up.
Some of the biggest names in the business are working on their own foldable phones, with Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Motorola just some of the firms to have officially announced their intentions to compete in this market niche.
From a gadget insurance perspective, this is an intriguing development, since in the past all handsets have utilised rigid displays. Once screens can be bent and flexed by design, there may be a whole new host of faults and damage that might occur, making mobile phone insurance even more important.
The South Korean manufacturer has not been shy about the fact that it has been working on a phone with a foldable screen for years. Now, with the unveiling of the appropriately named Samsung Galaxy Fold, it is finally bringing the fruits of this R&D work to market.
Priced at over £1500, this device will not only pack a 7.3 inch screen that can be flexed and folded shut on itself, but is also tipped to offer a trio of camera lenses on the rear, a huge 12GB of RAM and half a terabyte of storage space. In short, it is likely to be the most potent device on the market when it launches in April.
The Mate X is Huawei’s take on foldable smartphone design and it goes even further than Samsung thanks to the eight inch screen which will make it closer to a tablet computer than a mobile when fully extended.
Another selling point of the Mate X will be its support for 5G networking, although until this arrives in the UK it may not be that relevant to most buyers.
Expected to sell for around £2000, it will need to justify its price with performance and functionality to match. At this point, there is relatively little indication as to whether or not consumers are even interested in acquiring foldable phones.
Sitting a little further behind the field than Samsung and Huawei in terms of a commercially available foldable smartphone, Oppo nevertheless demonstrated an early example of what it is developing in-house during the Mobile World Congress earlier this year.
It is clearly targeting the Mate X rather than the Galaxy Fold from a design perspective, sporting a pair of asymmetrically sized screens when closed and offering a large unified display upon opening it out.
Another company taking on foldable phones while putting its own unique twist on the technology is Motorola. It is planning to revive its Razr brand from the early 2000s and create a flip phone that has a flexible screen housed within its clamshell design.
Pricing may be similar to that of the Galaxy Fold and its nostalgic pull might be enough to convince consumers to part with their cash, irrespective of the specifications on offer.