Galaxy X: Samsung’s foldable phone must learn from ZTE, FlexPai’s mistakes

Four major takeaways can make or break Samsung's futuristic phone

Samsung's upcoming foldaphone phone
Samsung's upcoming foldaphone phone

Samsung’s upcoming foldaphone phone, rumored to be called the Galaxy X, is expected to release sometime this March.

And with the Galaxy S10 slated to launch Feb. 20 and MWC 2019 kicking off right after, we wouldn’t be surprised if we start getting more details about this novel new phone over the coming weeks.

Back during its developer’s conference in November, Samsung gave a sneak peek of a Galaxy X prototype (it’s sometimes also referred to as the Galaxy F). Cloaked in mystery and shadows (literally), Samsung didn’t release much info aside from the fact that it had a 4.5-inch screen that opened up to a 7.3-inch screen and that it will use Samsung’s new One UI interface. We also know that Google is committed to Android support for foldable designs.

Making a flexible phone is a bold move, and it would be a first for the company overall. As the world’s largest phone maker, Samsung’s device itself could also be the push the phone industry needs to experiment with new form factors and design. LG and Huawei are also rumored to launch its own foldable phone.

Samsung may be the most powerful brand to commit to a foldable phone, but it isn’t the first. You can already buy the ZTE Axon M, which doesn’t have a flexible screen but rather two screens side by side connected with a hinge. There’s also the FlexPai, from the small startup Royole. Unlike the Axon M, it’s equipped with a single bendable, flexible screen.

Having reviewed the Axon M and handled the FlexPai, I’m excited to see what the Galaxy X has to offer. A flexible phone made from a company with the money, resources and clout like Samsung would hold a lot of promise. In the meantime, here are four important takeaways from ZTE and Royole’s phones that Samsung should heed if it wants its foldable Galaxy X or Galaxy F to stand a chance.

Lesson 1: Keep the screen folding inward

When Samsung gave a sneak peek at the Galaxy X, we quickly gathered that it had a screen on the outside, which then folded out to reveal a bigger screen inside. It’s the right decision, even though that design comes with its own set of problems.

The screen’s bend radius (or how far it can bend without damage), for instance, is much shorter than if it were to fold outwardly. This puts more stress on the screen and can cause more wear-and-tear on pixels each time users close the device.

But despite the challenges, having a foldable phone that closes inward like a book feels much more natural. It also helps to protect the screen. Both the Axon M and Royole FlexPai, for instance, bend outwardly. All their screens are exposed, leaving them vulnerable to everyday scratches and scuffs. An accidental drop would more likely shatter both the front and back of the device, too. More

By Lynn La