OK , first question: why?
Phones have been getting larger as time goes on. Essentially, the public at large wants bigger screens, and phone companies want to sell more phones. The potential of including a double-size screen along with a highly exciting gimmick means the foldable phone is the next big thing in pocket handsets.
But why would I need one?
You probably asked the same question when the first wave of smartphones came along. And just as we couldn’t give you a solid answer then, we can’t now – but practical uses for wraparound screens will no doubt emerge, and being able to fold out your phone into an extra large display has obvious benefits.
So who’s involved?
Two big names, at least to begin with: LG, which makes its own handsets but is also responsible for supplying the displays found in hundreds of different phone models; and Samsung, which has been sitting on a folding phone patent for some years. But neither were first to market. Cheeky startup Royole, which has been working on flexible displays since 2015, sniped in with the FlexPai, a worlds-first foldable phone aimed at the premium end of the Chinese market.
Really very premium – the FlexPai, which will apparently withstand some 200,000 bends, is priced at the equivalent of £1,000, and will likely cost a lot more if and when it is released on these shores. Don’t expect the price to stay that high as the tech develops and becomes more commonplace, though emptying wallets is also very trendy in the mobile market.
When can I get one?
Mark our words: 2019 will be the year of the foldable phone. Also mark these words: don’t buy one in 2019, because they’ll be full of teething problems and unforeseen technical issues.