Your World Isn’t Flat, So Why Should Your Screen Be?

Your World Isn’t Flat, So Why Should Your Screen Be?

When you look back at older movies, like Back to the Future Part II, and see all of the cool things that we were
 supposed to have by this point, it can get a little discouraging. After all, we do not have hovercrafts (at least at the consumer level) or Jaws 19 yet. 
However, one piece of futuristic technology that we do have is the presence of flexible and foldable screens on smart devices.

So It Begins

All of the excitement around foldable smartphones truly began back in November when the largely unknown technology company called 
Royole unveiled their FlexPai device. This mashup of a tablet and smartphone shocked consumers worldwide because not only was it the
 world’s first foldable smartphone, but it also did not come from one of the smartphone giant companies such as Samsung or Huawei.
The Royole FlexPai was met with some criticism as its design left more than a little to be desired. The handy dual screen smartphone 
mode provides the user with a suitable 4-inch screen on either side, which is capable of folding out into the tablet mode to provide its
 users with a 7.8-inch display. However, the design was rightfully described as a bit clunky and the performance on it was nowhere near 
the abilities that we expect from our smart devices nowadays.

Samsung Joins the Rush

Of course, other major technology brands soon followed suit, since falling behind on something as impactful as a foldable smart device 
screen could mean serious consequences in the tech world. Within a week of Royole announcing their device, Samsung announced and 
demonstrated their very own foldable smartphone called the Infinity Flex Display. This amazing technology takes what the Royole is able to accomplish and gives it a more sleek look.
When originally unveiled at the 2018 developer conference, the new Infinity Flex Display was shrouded in mystery, even going so far as
 to keep the stage lighting extremely dim to hide the intricate features of the design. It begins as a candy-bar-sized smartphone, which when unfolded, 
puts the two sides together to form a 7.3-inch tablet. One big major announcement about the device’s capabilities is that it would reportedly be able to run 
three different apps simultaneously using multi active window technology.
With so little data being given to us about the capabilities or style of the new device, we are left with a bunch of rumours and leaks to 
go off of. One thing that Samsung has revealed is that their new Infinity Flex Display technology will be used in their upcoming Galaxy X smartphone
Although that is about all we know, since the price point, storage capacity, and battery capabilities are still unknown. We are not even sure about a solid release date yet, 
although it is looking more and more like February 20 is going to be when it hits the marketplace in a limited capacity.

It Is Not Just Phones

Although smartphones have been the center of attention when it comes to foldable screen technology, 
they are not the only devices that are integrating this amazing new technological development. 
Massive electronic manufacturer LG has recently revealed their impressive Signature television, which uses flexible screen technology in its design.
The absolutely enormous 65-inch television is capable of rolling up like a scroll and fitting into a compact rectangular box, 
which doubles as a sound bar. Simply press a button and the TV majestically rises out of the slot located at the top of the box. 
LG has made sure to give this new breakthrough technology all of the bells and whistles as well because it is capable of running 4K and HDR pictures. 
It will even be integrated with Google Assistant,  Amazon Alexa, and Apple AirPlay as well.

But Wait, There Is More

As with any big new technological development, the industry is absolutely buzzing with rumours and
 leaks about possible new product information for flexible and foldable screen technology. One of the 
biggest rumours circulating lately has been the potential presence of a tri fold smartphone reportedly 
being made by Xiaomi. While this would not necessarily be a huge development in the market of foldable screens, 
it would be the first of its kind to feature three folds rather than just two.
While the list of confirmed or suspected new folding screen products seems to change every week, 
there are several that we are being told should become widely available by the middle of 2019. 
Among this list include the previously mentioned Samsung Galaxy X and Royole FlexPai.
One of the others that is getting more certain every day is the upcoming Motorola RAZR foldable phone
which is expected to be sold exclusively by Verizon Wireless. This company seems to be trying to revive their
 once popular cell phone lineup, and they are doing it by using a design that has a long folding screen on the
 inside of the device and can be folded in half to utilize a second smaller screen located on the outside of the device. 
If you plan on buying this product when it likely gets released sometime this year, then you better start saving up
 because it is being reported that the new Motorola RAZR product is going to cost you around $1,500 and there are only going to be about 200,000 units produced at first.
LG is not just focused on using foldable screen technology for their TVs, they also plan on integrating it into thei
r upcoming smartphone devices. While there are essentially no details on what these devices will look like
 or when we can expect them, LG has said that they are focused on being the best rather than being first. 
It might not be until the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020 that we see LG release their first foldable smartphones, but when they finally do,
 they should be extremely user friendly products.
China-based technology giant Huawei has also announced that they plan to dip their toe into the foldable screen waters
. Once again, we do not when they will be released or what they will look like, 
but we do know that they will be compatible with the upcoming 5G cellular network, which has everyone anticipating its 2019 debut.
Oppo has to be one of the winners for least details known about their foldable screen phones currently. 
While they have heavily suggested that they will be announcing something about their ventures in foldable screen technology at the upcoming 2019 Mobile World Congress, 
which takes place from February 25-28, as of right now, we have absolutely no other details about their project whatsoever.

Is It Worth the Hype?

Not everyone is as excited for foldable screen technology as others. 
There are some pretty vocal critics of the so-called technological advancement who boast a number of 
reasons why they think foldable screens for smartphone devices will end up being a consumer flop.

A Lack of Desire

One of the most common issues brought up is the lack of vocal demand for this from consumers. 
While almost everyone in first world countries now carry smartphones with them everywhere they go,
 you almost never hear about them wishing that their screen was capable of bending or folding.
The more common things that are requested by smartphone users is a longer battery life, 
skinnier and more lightweight design, faster download and processing speeds, better built-in sound system,
 faster wired and wireless charging, and a better camera. It just begs the question whether anyone actually wants this
 capability for their smartphone or not.

Unreasonable Price

Another important issue is the extremely high price tag that is often associated with these upcoming foldable 
smartphones. Sure, consumers are already becoming accustomed to paying way more than they should for a
 smartphone, especially considering that the iPhone XS retails at a starting point of over $1,000, 
but the cost of foldable smartphones is expected to be even more ridiculous.
As previously mentioned, the Motorola RAZR foldable screen phone is supposed to have a price tag of 
about $1,500, and this is pretty much the standard cost that other major smartphone producers have said 
they are going to retail their new foldable screen smartphones at. This is a high price to pay for a smartphone, 
considering the fact that you could get a really good laptop or tablet for the exact same price if not cheaper, 
and that laptop or tablet is likely to last you at least four or five years. This is not the case with smartphones nowadays, unfortunately.
The average consumer tends to replace their smartphone every two years, not for a lack of good condition but rather a 
significant decrease in speed and overall performance compared to the newest models being released.
 There is no reason to think that this cycle will not continue with the foldable screen phones, 
which means that smartphone companies expect consumers to be allocating $1,500 every two years for a new phone, which is unlikely to happen.

Bulky Design

While there is not always an agreement among consumers regarding what size of screen they prefer to have,
with some preferring the rise of larger screens that resemble tablets more than they do phones while others 
like to stick to their more moderate-sized ones, they do all agree that they hate bulky. With a significant portion
of the population often keeping their phones in their pockets, the last thing they want to experience is something
thick and bulky making it awkward to sit, wallk, or store anything else in their pocket. 
Unfortunately for foldable screen phones, the designs that we have seen so far indicate that their thickness is going to  
be much more than what we have become accustomed to in the last few years. Once the screen is folded in half, or even 
 in thirds in some cases, then it instantly increases the thickness of the product by quite a bit.

Protective Options

This either seems like a giant oversight by the companies who are planning to release these foldable 
screen phones, or they are going to simultaneously reveal amazing new protective case options at the 
same time. Currently, there is no conceivable way that any foldable screen phone would be able to have 
a protective case with it because the folding features make it too much of a hassle.
Sure, a lack of cases worked for flip phones back when they were popular about a decade ago; however, this 
was when phones were being sold for $150 rather than $1,500. If someone is paying that much for a phone, 
then they expect that it is going to be able to be used with something that is designed to protect it. 
There is no way that consumers are going to willingly pay that much money for something just to have to replace it a few months later because it accidentally fell
 without a case on it and got damaged.

What Is the Benefit?

It seems like the purpose of a foldable screen smartphone is to have something that adapts its screen size and can
function as both a phone and a tablet. Unfortunately, the current designs that we are seeing make it seem like this
will be a subpar version of both of these things. Not to mention the fact that the majority of Americans already
have a laptop or tablet in addition to their smartphone. If you use it in its phone form, then it is going to feel bulkier than
current phones, and when you flip it open to its tablet form, it will still be significantly smaller and less user friendly than your average tablet.

We could continue to go over the possible benefits and downfalls of foldable screen technology for days,
but we won’t actually know how well these things perform or how successful they are in the marketplace until after some get released later this year.

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