Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X have been the first foldable phones off the block, and each have looked at foldable technology from a different angle.
Samsung has taken an LED panel and ‘folded’ it into the inside of the device using clever hinges, essentially making an expandable, traditional smartphone. Huawei has created a screen that folds out onto itself, creating a less durable, but more exciting, foldable experience.
Meanwhile, numerous other manufacturers, including Apple and Microsoft, have teased their version of foldable tech through leaks, and while most have been disavowed by the businesses, it shows that manufacturers are banking on the technology.
But why? What problem – beyond having a bigger screen – does a foldable or expandable screen solve?
The fact is that growth in smartphone sales has slowed dramatically over the last few years, and while some of the blame for this can be placed at the feet of the manufacturers themselves, through a lack of innovation, it remains to be seen if there is a deeper societal change taking place. Basic phones are becoming more popular and simplification and tech minimisation are quickly gaining momentum. Of course, there will always be a requirement for connectedness, but have we stopped seeing smartphones as a tool? Are we now more aware of the link between connection and work-based requirement? If so, businesses like Samsung will need to rethink their entire ecosystem and customer base.