Above: The Royole Flexpai 128/256
You will probably remember that back in October last year we shared the story of the race to develop and bring to market foldable smart phones that would give access to much larger screens. Well it hasn’t taken long and just 5 months later here we are with final devices, prices and the dates that these amazing new phones will be available in stores.
Initially it was a smaller Chinese player that came to market first at the back end of 2018 with the Royole Flexpai (pictured above). Priced at circa $1600 this handset set the tone for the big players to enter the market.
And in they came. Samsung announced the launch of the new Galaxy Fold, which not only folds in half with a 4.6 inch front screen, but opens up like a book to present a whopping 7.3-inch tablet. It boasts 6 camera’s, a blistering 12GB of RAM and a massive 512GB of storage. Available from 26th April in the USA and from 3rd May in Europe, in either 4G or 5G models – Prices start at an eye watering $1980.
The new Samsung Galaxy Fold
Not to be outdone Huawei swiftly followed Samsung’s announcement with their own, intruding the new Mate X. The Mate X is much larger than the Fold, with choices of 6.4 inch or 6.6 inch front screens that open to reveal a whopping 8 inch tablet. Not boasting quite the same RAM as the Samsung (8GB) it also has the ‘de rigour’ 512GB’s or storage and a powerful 4,500 battery. Only available for 5G networks (EE will turn on 5G in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester by mid-2019) they are due in the UK between June and August. Priced at an priced at an eye watering £2,000 / $2,600 it will be an interesting to see how the battle goes with their Samsung rival.
The Huawei Mate X
But don’t worry if you are not a Samsung or Huawei fan, other manufacturers are rumoured to have devices on the roadmap too, including LG, Motorola, TCL, Xiaomi.
What about Apple we hear you shout, no scream – we hear you scream. Well, there is no hard news to suggest that Apple are racing to launch a foldable device. They have alluded to a watching brief to see how the market unfolds (sorry about that – couldn’t resists a wee pun) but do have relevant patents in place plus are rumoured to have placed orders for foldable screens from LG – assuming you believe every rumour that you hear of course. There has been much speculation as to what an iFold (it has to be the name doesn’t it?) might look like. Well here is a mock up for Foldable Phone News by the Dutch industrial designer Roy Gilsing. How enticing.
Might a new Apple foldable phone look something like this?
One thing is for sure, smartphones are getting larger and larger, for some foldable phones might be the answer and for many of us they could be the future. As long as those prices come down of course.
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