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Editorial: Are Foldables The Future?

This week at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, we’ve seen Samsung announce their Galaxy Fold, and Huawei their Mate X devices. Both are close to the €2000 mark at the time of release according to reports, and both are foldable devices utilising a POLED display in two very different implementations. With so many suggesting that 2019 is the year of the foldable phone, will this first generation pave the way for bigger and better implementations, or put people off?

Samsung Unpacked 2019

Let’s start with the facts; neither of the aforementioned companies was the first to bring a foldable device to the market, they are bandwagon jumpers by definition. Royole’s Flexi has that privilege and based on reports, it’s not a good first impression.

It seems the main differentiator between devices in this newly emerging category is whether you are an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is an ‘innie’ with it’s 7.2″ display folding on itself when in the closed form, whilst Huawei’s Mate X is an ‘outie’ and as such, the display wraps around the outside of the device when closed.

It’s a very interesting debate as to which is better, and truth be told, only time will tell. Based on my initial thoughts, the Mate X looks like a cleaner and more intuitive device for those who want to use the Mate X in its extended format. Android Tablet users will rejoice, as not only do they have an 8″ display to fawn over, but it has a ‘handle’ of sorts to make it a little more ergonomic to use. Huawei has been clever here and highlighted this as a positive aspect of their design when in truth they need it to fit in all the internals that can’t hide in the normal areas due to their screen design.

Mate X

By contrast, the Galaxy Fold by Samsung folds inwards, and whilst using the same screen technology

Truth be told, I’m edging towards the Mate X for day to day usability, but the Galaxy Fold in terms of durability for the above reasons. As always, time will tell whether this turns out to be true (if we manage to get review units, we’ll share more detail) but the answer to this, and other technical questions, are key to the longevity of a category that both Samsung and Huawei are clearly heading currently and are banking on growing to ensure that the mobile device sales drop off we’ve seen of late. It’s clear here that a shift in marketing from the 2017/2018 mantra of delivering quality handheld photography devices, to a 2019 message of productivity, is key in ensuring that the consumer takes notice, buys into this new category of devices, and keeps their profit margins propped up nicely. Let’s face it, it’s going to have to be some compelling argument to have people stumping up that sum of cash.

What are your thoughts on the foldable phones debuted at MWC 2019? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media.

About Craig Bradshaw

Tech enthusiast and Editor-in-Chief of MobileTechTalk

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