Something that’s always sitting in the back of our minds is the elusive foldable display technology that’s been rumored, tried and tested for a few years now. They’ve been no more than focus points of gimmicky trailers that have spread across the internet. WellThe patents point to a device that is actually foldable, like a wallet; so when closed, it’ll be roughly 5.7 inches, but when opened, it’ll be about tablet (or extra large phablet) sized. It’ll fold using a hinge mechanism in the center of the device.
This isn’t just a new design, but an entire new genre of smartphone that Samsung is planning; which means that there will be major benefits, but also major drawbacks that require trial and error over newer and newer iterations to perfect. Benefits could be having a 5.7 inch device that functions and feels like a phone, but can convert instantly to a tablet, which could mean some major leaps in productivity. Say, you take a phone call and then go to writing a full paper with the same device, instead of having to switch. Or you want to do some multitasking and splitting a 5.7 inch screen in half just doesn’t cut it for you, what do you do? You unfold it and have two full phone sized screen to work with. Other benefits will be highlighted when and if a device with a foldable screen gets launched in the not-so-near future.
But what about the possible pitfalls to this? For starters, a folding device will be considerably thicker than modern phones. Not arguing that thinner is better, but it seems that it’d be SIGNIFICANTLY thicker, to the point to where it’s not comfortable to use. Also, this is a phone that’s basically ALL screen; don’t you hate it when your phone screen get’s scratched? Well imagine this struggle two fold (pun not intended). The entire surface seems that it will be pure screen, which will make anyone a bit paranoid about bumps and bruises on it. And lastly, with any new innovation, there’s always the issue of finding a market that is fits in. The iPad Pro fumbled, due in part to the fact that there was just not a sufficient market of people to buy that 13 inch slab. This raises the questions: who really needs a foldable screen? What can a foldable screen do for us and for our smartphone experience? Is a foldable screen worth the extra money? Obviously this technology will not be cheap, so Samsung will be expecting people to pay a substantial amount of money for technology that they don’t particularly need. It’s even a bit of a struggle finding sufficient use for their famed curved edge displays. Whatever gimmicks or ploys they can put into play to make this more attractive to the general user, they will have to use.
Regardless of whether this new technology will take off or not, we have to give Samsung a hand for taking the initiative in this new and rather shaky territory. The trends in modern mainstreamed mobile technology are leading toward less and less innovation as phones are conforming to certain norms. It’s hard to make a metal unibody phone with a 5.5 inch QHD screen much different from another phone with a metal unibody and with a 5.5 QHD display, as these premium qualities, and others, are becoming the standard across the board. LG made a dent in that by introducing it’s modular LG G5, a rarity in the smartphone market, and what’s quite possibly the dawn of a new age for the smartphone. LG hopes to lead a new trend in the smartphone market, so all we can do at this point is hope that Samsung can do the same with foldable screens. With that said, let’s put this back in the back of our heads for the time being, as we don’t expect this to develop anytime soon; the Galaxy S7 was just unveiled, so Samsung already has enough to WOW tech fans with for now. But before we know it, there may be another smartphone genre on the block, and it might begin with a “Galaxy Fold.”