Feb 17th, 2019

Foldable smartphones are currently a design trend that we’re starting to see more than a few handset manufacturers start to adopt. Its usefulness has yet to be proven, although in theory, the idea of smartphone-to-tablet and vice versa sounds rather ideal, at the same time we have to say that it could very well be the game changer that we’ve been waiting for.

Mobile phone design, for the most part, has been pretty static. They tend to be candy bar-shaped in design, even back in the feature phone days, save for a few oddities here and there largely thanks to Nokia who were willing to invest in some rather weird and outlandish designs at their own expense.

This has remained true until today where if a phone’s display was completely off and you were looking at it head-on, you might have a hard time telling an iPhone apart from a Huawei phone, or a OnePlus phone, or a Samsung phone, and so on. This is why we think that foldable phones could definitely help change that.

By challenging the way we think of what a smartphone looks like, it could force other companies to sit up and rethink their approach in design. Maybe phones no longer need to be shaped like a rectangle. Maybe phones could be shaped like a square, or maybe even circular. Maybe even project a holographic display that would allow us to view objects in 3D as we see in the movies. Granted that last bit might be a long time coming, but perhaps this could be the catalyst we need.

It will also challenge the way we use our phones which are typically viewed as a communications device, but if it could transform into a tablet form factor, it could also be looked at as a productivity powerhouse, a tool that artists use to draw while on the go, an editing vehicle that music producers, video editors, and photographers can use while in the field, or maybe even a digital textbook for students attending class where they can easily pull up textbooks for all their classes without the need for heavy and expensive.

Foldable phones picking up in popularity might also spur the adoption of foldable displays in other fields. Recently at CES 2019, LG themselves took the wraps off their TV with a rollable display, so imagine the day when you can roll up a TV into the size of a yoga bag, sling it over your shoulder, and go out. Wouldn’t that be something to look forward to?

Of course, this is just pure speculation (and a little bit of excitement) on our part, but at the same time, we understand why some might be skeptical. For a while, 3D phones were also heralded to be the next big thing, but look at how that turned out. Will foldable phones usher in the next era in smartphone design or will it go down in history as a very expensive proof of concept? We guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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