Is the future of smartphones foldable? An investigation
The future that science fiction films predicted is almost upon us.
The world today includes many of the technologies we’ve always wanted, like useful things such as robot delivery drivers, universal translators and self-driving cars.
On the other hand, we also have quite a lot of things that are downright absurd, (we’re looking at you, $6,000 dollar voice-enabled smart toilet), but that hasn’t stopped companies from building them.
Enter the foldable smartphone, a technology that is either amazing or totally unnecessary (we’re still not sure).
Both Samsung and Huawei have unveiled foldable smartphones, making them the flagbearers of the new technology. But both have had major issues with the technology, and in doing so has raised more alarm bells than calls for celebration.
Indeed, the flexible smartphone has just arrived, but it is already causing problems.
Samsung was the first major tech manufacture to launch a foldable phone. The Galaxy Fold is a 7.3-inch smart slate, with a hinge in the middle. When folded, the screen clocks in at 4.6 inches and has a separate front display.
Sounds pretty awesome. But in producing the flexible smartphone, Samsung discovered a major manufacturing issue: they’re really hard to make.
The Fold was first showcased in February for an April release, and early versions of the device were sent to reviewers and technology influencers ahead of the launch. Problem was, Samsung might have been a tad premature as the things started breaking.
Cue a major product recall and a tentative release date of “sometime later in the year”.
Samsung has gone on to say that it is taking measures to improve the display, as well as generally improve the device. However, that hasn’t stopped brands like Best Buy and AT&T refunding pre-orders of the device.
Now, there’s fresh news out of Korea that Samsung is still slightly clueless as to when its Fold issues will be sorted.
A damning report by the Korea Herald points to confusion within the tech company. One Samsung official was quoted saying “Nothing has progressed since the April delay.”
But Samsung isn’t the only tech company grappling with foldable challenges.
Just days after Samsung unveiled the Fold, Huawei hit back with the Mate X. This one boasts a 6.6-inch OLED screen that unfolds into an 8-inch tablet.
Like Samsung, it too was supposed to hit store shelves in April. And like Samsung, the launch date has been delayed indefinitely (Although, after moving shipping date two-times, it has now said the ‘final’ launch will happen in September).
A CNBC report explained that Huawei might have got cold feet after watching Samsung’s attempts to bring its foldable to market. According to the report, “the company is doing extra testing with mobile carriers around the world and developers to make sure their apps work when the device is fully unfolded.”
The spokesmen goes onto to explain how the problems with the Galaxy Fold has made Huawei “cautious” about the Mate X.
It seems while the world is ready for the flexible future, technology companies aren’t quite there yet.
Yes, 2019 does involve many of the gadgets and technologies that sci-fi dreams are made off, but perhaps our world isn’t quite ready for the foldable phone.
A voice activated walking fridge on the other hand? That can’t get here soon enough.