Like 5G phones, the foldable phone trend is undeniably on the rise and back in Februray, it stole the show at MWC 2019.
With one flexible phone already available to buy and a couple of others expected this year, phones with foldable displays aren’t far-off concepts any longer. Everyone from big-name Samsung and lesser-known brands including Huawei, to unknown startups like Royole, are ready to inject a much-needed jolt into the industry.
In addition, Google’scommitted to providing Android support for foldable designs, so we can expect even more phone companies to get involved with the trend. (Given some of its own patent filings that recently came to light, it may even release a foldable phone of its own.)
If you’re struggling to keep up with which companies have announced plans, filed a patent or are simply rumored to jump on the foldable bandwagon, read CNET’s who’s-who guide to foldable phones.
Samsung Galaxy Fold: Available April 26
As the biggest tech company to throw its hat into the ring, many were eager to learn about the Galaxy Fold at Samsung Unpacked and it didn’t disappoint. When closed, the Fold has a secondary 4.6-inch display that serves as its “cover,” with all the usual features you’d expect on a phone. When you’re ready for something bigger, the Fold opens up like a book to a 7.3-inch tablet.
To achieve this design with no visible line across the screen, the Fold has what the company calls an Infinity Flex Display. Essentially made out of a fancy plastic material, the screen can flex and fold hundreds of times without breaking. With the help of Google’s OS, apps will switch smoothly between display sizes as well.
The Fold also has six cameras. On the back, there’s the same triple-camera setup as the Galaxy S10 and on the front a single 10-megapixel camera. In tablet form, there are two additional cameras inside: a selfie camera and an 8-megapixel depth camera. Unfortunately, with its novel design, two screens, handful of cameras and bigger battery, the Galaxy Fold costs a pretty penny at $1,980 (about £1,500 or AU$2,800).
But that’s not the end of it. Samsung is said to be developing two more foldable phones, according to Bloomberg. Citing people familiar with the company’s plans, Bloomberg reported that one phone will fold vertically, while the other will fold inward instead of outwardly like the Fold.
Huawei Mate X: Available ‘mid-2019’
Jumping on the trends of foldable phones and 5G, Huawei’s new phone has both. The Mate X has a 6.6-inch display when folded closed and an 8-inch OLED screen when you flip it open. And it features 5G connectivity that’s said to be four times faster than 4G, a 4,500-mAh battery and three rear cameras.
Similar to the Fold, it’ll also be very pricey at 2,299 euros, or about $2,600, £2,000 or AU$3,660. However, at its MWC keynote event when Huawei first announced the phone, the company hinted that cheaper models may be coming down the pipeline.
It’s unlikely that the Mate X will be available in the US when it launches mid-2019 though. Calling it a security threat to the Department of Defense, the US government banned the sale of Huawei phones on US military bases. Retail giant Best Buy stopped selling them in March 2018 and Huawei’s CFO was arrested in Canada at the request of the US in an act her father said was politically motivated.
Huawei devices are still available in more than 170 countries around the world, however, according to a Huawei spokesperson. More