When Samsung released their prototype of the Samsung Galaxy Fold (Galaxy F) it shook the world. The technology world that is. More specifically, the mobile technology world. This was the first time anyone had ever heard of or laid eyes on the concept of a folding smartphone. Samsung has always been known to push the envelope. From their edged phone screens to their curving TV displays they have continued to change the game. After the debut of this new flexible display smartphone technology, manufacturers across the globe began releasing their own prototypes. This sparked a new wave of innovation and creativity. It also raised a lot of questions. Questions that we will spend time answering in this article.
Who Will Be First?
If you had to guess who would win the race to release the first folding smartphone, your initial guess might be Samsung, since they were the first ones to debut their design. However, by broadcasting their design they created manufacturer mayhem in the marketplace. They ushered in a new wave of companies aiming to compete with their design and beat them to the punch. In addition to Samsung, Huawei and LG were expected frontrunners to release the first commercially available folding phone. Instead, an underdog startup company, Royole, came out of nowhere and was able to push their product out before any of these companies. They released the FlexPai on Oct. 31st of 2018. Although they were first, that doesn’t necessarily mean their phone is the best by any means. This technology is extremely new and challenging to create. Therefore, rushing to release a new product just for the sake of putting it on the shelves may not be the best strategy. Especially when consumers are still trying to figure out how it works.
How Does It Work?
As fragile as smartphone screens already are, how on earth is it possible for one of these devices to bend? That is the million dollar question. Here is the million dollar answer summed up into four letters. O-L-E-D. OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. These screens produce their own light through organic compounds without the help of a backlight, like what is needed on LCDs. Eliminating the backlight allows these screens to be made thinner, which is key in the world of folding phones. The slimmer they are the more flexible they can become. Instead of putting these OLED screens on top of glass, the idea is to put these screens on top of a glass and plastic hybrid polymer. This bendable polymer is what allows the folding phone to fold!
How Much Will They Cost?
Are you sure you want to know the answer to this question? I am sure you can imagine that a revolutionary product with a game-changing technology like this can’t be cheap. The previously mentioned FlexPai is $1,318 for the 128 GB version and $1,469 for the 256 GB version. That is just one manufacturer, but Samsung is expected to be even pricier. Apparently the starting price for a Samsung Galaxy Fold will be $1,980. That being said, this technology is extremely new and prices will eventually drop to a more affordable range. Not sure when that will be exactly, but for the time being it might be a good idea to see what these things can do before jumping into the foldable era.
At the End of the Day
This isn’t just an exciting time for consumers, manufacturers and the mobile industry. The whole world is witnessing the birth of a new generation of smartphones. We still aren’t even sure of all the possibilities this new technology will allow. I’m not even sure if the manufacturers know themselves. All we know is that things are about to change. Only time will tell if these devices will be the new trend or a failed experiment and passing fad.
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