On an average, temperate day in San Francisco, early January of 2007, an innovator by the name of Steve Jobs unveiled news to the world that was anything but average.
The then CEO, founder, and face of Apple Inc introduced the iPhone to the public. The candy bar shaped, touchscreen enabled cell phone set the new standard for mobile technology.
While other tech companies experimented with physical keyboards and hybrid designs, the “candy bar” form factor eventually plateaued the mobile industry for several years. Software developers designed apps and games with only this form factor in mind.
Under the hood, hardware developers continued to refine the horsepower with impressive capabilities such as the 120Hz screen on the Razer Phone 2 and 1TB storage capability of the Samsung Galaxy S10. With a standard design, software developers only had the decision to design their apps and games to be used in portrait, landscape, or both.
This Isn’t Even My Final Form!
Games like Pokemon Go, Fate/Grand Order, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could maximize their user experience without the worry of excluding players with a different style of phone.
Now in 2019, the first real challenge to the standard phone design is hitting the market. The Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X is shaking up the norm with their flexible, foldable screens. The Samsung variant sports a 4.6-inch exterior screen and an impressive 7.3-inch screen when unfolded to its full glory.
But what does this mean for mobile gaming? Certainly this new form would open up the proverbial Pandora’s box for creative design, but several questions must be answered for this now uncertain future in this blossoming market.
Could developers still create rich, full games like Dragalia Lost and Pokemon Masters that could work across both the standard design and this new contender? What hiccups would this create for the rich PVP experience of games like Dragon Ball Legends, which is optimized for portrait mode? How popular will this new design be?
While both foldable phones have been the subject of criticism such as creases along the folding edge and the fragility of the moving parts, they have certainly caught the attention of the average user and software developers alike.
Android 10 includes compatibility with the new design, allowing early tech developers to tinker with the supposed future of mobile technology, but — like the hardware itself — new software is sure to experience some growing pains. While the industry scrambles to predict whether this will be the new standard or just an alternative form to challenge developers’ programming skills, the exciting future of mobile gaming appears More