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Stop with folding smartphones already, nobody wants them

Stop with folding smartphones already, nobody wants them

I am very confident that Samsung will launch the next generation of a foldable smartphone on February 11. Have you seen the promotional video, where a small square object scurries back and forth under a white cloth, adding "Galaxy" at the end? It's a sure thing. The Motorola Razr is also about to be delivered. I'd like to be happy, but I'm skeptical. More than that - I want manufacturers to finally stop bringing immature products onto the market.

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It's been almost a year since my tech colleagues and I regularly snuck around the ominous overexposed box during MWC 2019, where Samsung had "presented" its even more ominous Galaxy Fold to the public. It's ironic because the whole glass case was designed so that neither eye nor camera could get a really good view of the prototype. True to the motto: "Please go on, there's nothing to see here," I saw colleagues and visitors to the fair casting amused looks at each other. To make the device inaccessible so shortly before the market launch - it was bizarre. However, we eventually learned why.

huawei mate x and galaxy fold
The Huawei Mate X (left) and - with some imagination - the Samsung Galaxy Fold at MWC 2019. / © NextPit

The day after the unofficial performance of the Fold, the Huawei Mate X, which was well-staged, was more tangible and could even be picked up. The amused looks were to be proved right, Samsung was not yet as far along as Huawei when the Galaxy Fold was sent out to hungry journalists. Fortunately, the drama didn't take on the proportions Samsung had gone through with the Galaxy Note 7 - no fire, no "explosions" - and meanwhile the explosive negative headlines around the Galaxy Fold have died down as well. The Galaxy Fold 5G simply exists. And Huawei was just pure lucky that all the teething troubles of Mate X only broke out long after all the praise had been released.

Are we being led down the garden path here?

Nevertheless, I keep asking myself why the race for the latest technology has to be fought at the expense of consumers. Where are the manufacturers who take the time to develop a really mature product with added value before releasing it on the market? How embarrassing is it when the most expensive smartphone on the market is actually a pile of junk that isn't even worth the price of a dummy like the one you can find in numerous provider shops in the city center because it simply can't stand up to everyday use?

Huawei, Samsung, Lenovo, LG - they have all been researching the technology of foldable displays and smartphones for years. Really quite a lot of years, and I believe that an inconspicuous company called Royole at the end of 2018 with its "OMG, what's that" FlexPai has created a lot of pressure in the research departments of the big companies. Otherwise, I can't explain to myself that hinges don't work properly, plastic displays can be scratched with a fingernail and dents and bumps are supposed to be normal in a $1,500 smartphone. And who the hell buys a product like that anyway?

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The Royole FlexPai was one of the highlights at CES 2019. / © Julia Froolyks / Androidpit

There's no such thing as bad press

I'm not prejudiced. I'm surrounded by tech lovers who get bright-eyed when they can take on something new at trade shows or product launches; when they are allowed to report on something new; and I too, on a seductively starry night over the rooftops of Barcelona, felt and adored Huawei Mate X. Opened, closed. Marveled and gawked. But the end-user - you - do you really want to own a foldable smartphone? Are you just waiting to buy the Mate X? Is the added value really there or do we tech journalists let ourselves be fooled by such gimmicks? During my short time in tabloid journalism, I learned one thing: there's no such thing as bad press.

So where is the manufacturer which doesn't flood the market with foldable technology scrap and take its time to perfect it? Patiently researching to bring the perfect, mature product to market? I think we all know the sad answer... But perhaps on February 11, we will be taught a better lesson.

Do you share my opinion or do you think the whole foldable theatre is exaggerated? Let us know below the line.

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6 comments

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  • Has you commenters heard about foldable glass? They'll find a way to protect the screen. Samsung has it, and will use it in the flip phone. Tablets are not used like phones, and are unweildly as a pocketable device. Foldable screens are in their infancy, and can further the pockable device. This form - factor makes more sense, once they get it right, no more broken, or exposed screens to the elements. The razer, and flip, are steps in the right direction, and now it's protection that has to be done right.


  • It's not so much the folding phone that is the problem. It's the INSANE price they want consumers to pony up for them.


  • Speak for yourself. I'm sick of carrying around a 6 inch by 3 inch box in my pocket. Give me a 3 inch by 3 inch square that fits easily in my pockey I can unfold to 6 inches by 3 inches when i need it.


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    6 months ago Link to comment

    I can carry a tablet, if I need one. I see no reason to buy expensive foldable phones to get the same result. Not only but imagine what would happen if car manufacturers would put on the market their most expensive cars with a lot of fanfare to convince buyers and then had to recall them, several times, to fix problems or update parts. Or what would happen if the did not even recall their cars but tried to convince us that the problems are "normal"?


  • storm 6 months ago Link to comment

    Fragility, certainly a problem. Odd ball sizes a bigger problem? A z fold tablet has some potential for me. True tablet screen, a reasonable phone size screen when folded but thick. That might be a compromise that works for me. More likely the case when we can thin things down a bit more. Fortunately there is a lot of improvement to come that might achieve something good for consumers.


  •   46
    Deactivated Account 6 months ago Link to comment

    My main issue with todays foldable phone, is their soft screens that are easily damaged as shown buy many Youtubers. I will most likely get the new LG V60 when it comes out with it's dual screens. I can have the two screens when I want them and separate them when I do not. LG has the best solution to the foldable so far in my humble opinion. I do not agree nobody wants them but I do think it is a niche market

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