Samsung was among the fray of smartphone manufacturers to premier their iteration of the much anticipated foldable phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. A break from the traditional smartphone form factor of recent years, the Galaxy Fold offers a tablet-sized screen in a mobile-sized body.
The hype leading up to Samsung’s big reveal was mammoth, and undoubtedly intensified by Huawei’s foldable Mate X, announced just two days after the Galaxy Fold in a conference at MWC. Select media were able to get hands-on with the Mate X, which is miles more than what Samsung offered who instead chose to keep their prototype secure in a glass-walled case.
The Galaxy Fold design features a 4.6 inch AMOLED screen on the front, which can then be opened to reveal a 7.3 inch AMOLED screen on the inside. By comparison, Huawei’s Mate X is almost inside out in terms of design, with one 6.6 inch screen on the front and a 6.38 inch screen on the back which folds out to form an 8 inch screen.
Huawei Mate X. Image: Getty
In an effort to gain an early edge in the foldable market, reports have emerged detailing that Samsung are working on two more models – one that has a wrap-around screen similar to the Mate X, and one that has a vertically oriented screen, dubbed similar to a clamshell style. It appears Samsung are attempting to cover all their bases, which is wise considering that no one knows which foldable design will take the market lead.
Innovation in form factor in the smartphone world has plateaued in recent times. The foldable phone design is perhaps the most exciting shake-up we’ve seen in years. The flexing display has an unmistakable futuristic look about it, but is the 2019 consumer ready for foldables?
For some reviewers at the MWC, their first look at the new form factor raised some concerns about functionality and size. With manufacturers slimming down their flagship smartphones every year, will consumers be open to embracing a thicker, heavier iteration?
The bigger screen that is offered on the new foldables could eradicate the need to own both a tablet and a smartphone, opening up a large segment of new potential buyers wanting to consolidate their tech. The huge display also lends itself to being perfect for gaming. Both the Fold and Mate X boast some impressive camera specs, too.
Matthew Hughes from The Next Web speculates that companies are using the initial release of foldables as a way to lay the groundwork for future, more refined models. He mentions that with time production costs for the devices come down and the retail will follow. This is good news, considering the hefty price tags currently placed on the devices. The Fold was announced to be priced at US$1980, with the Mate X coming in at US$2600. Exact Australian Dollar pricing is yet to be announced.
Featured image: Samsung