After smartphones with notched displays in 2018, 2019 is set to see a lot of smartphones with punch-hole cameras. But at the same time, companies are also working on foldable smartphones which seems to be the next big thing. The possible reason for these companies to be working on devices with a foldable form-factor is to push the manufacturing material and technology to its limits. A foldable form factor means that the device makers will need to make almost everything inside the body, foldable or at least flexible enough to function without any issue.
According to analysts, surveys and polls across tech websites have tipped foldable display to be a trend in 2019. The expectations are that foldable mobile phone shipments will reach 700,000 units in 2019, and 30.4 million units/50.1 million units by 2021 and 2023 respectively.
Samsung unveiled the prototype of its folding smartphone in early November at its developer conference. Unlike what was rumored, the device mounted two screens with which the user could have a 4-inch smartphone and a 7.3-inch tablet when it opened. This device is widely expected to be unveiled on February 20 alongside the flagship Galaxy S10 smartphones. However, the South Korean company will not be the only one to have a phone of this type in 2019.
LG is also preparing a folding smartphone to demonstrate what it is capable of doing in the mobile segment. As revealed by Dutch media outlet Let’s Go Digital, the company has patented a smartphone that incorporates foldable smartphone technology. The mobile patented by LG would open and close like a book while the screen will be foldable inside, and can be opened up to 180 degrees through a mechanism. LG is expected to launch this foldable smartphone at MWC 2019 in Barcelona.
Watch: Vivo NEX Dual Display First Look
Beyond the two South Korean companies, Chinese giant Oppo too has announced that it will also have a folding phone in 2019, and that is currently under development. Chuck Wang, Oppo product manager, has explained that beyond Samsung there are competitors who are working on the development of folding phones so “users can expect more news from Oppo on the subject”. According to a patent filed by the company earlier last year, the concept smartphone may feature a flexible display panel, which can curve back on itself.
Recently, Xiaomi too jumped onto the bandwagon of foldable smartphones. The company released a 51-second promotional video of a foldable device in action. The video shared on Weibo showed how the and how folding the sides changes the UI. The three-screen foldable phone works both as a tablet when unfolded, and as a phone when folded from both the sides.
As per previous leaks and rumors, Huawei has a prototype of its folding smartphone that could be showcased at MWC 2019. Huawei’s folding smartphone will be equipped with a BOE screen, which is the same company that manufactures the curved OLED panel for the flagship Mate 20 Pro. Huawei is said to have recently shown the device to Korean cellular operators, and, as an insider notes, this is not a prototype and concept phone, but something much more complete. Huawei’s foldable smartphone is expected to feature an 8-inch external screen, which is slightly larger than the 7.3-inch screen on Samsung Galaxy Foldable Phone display.