Quirky foldable phones you probably forgot about

Foldable phones are coming – and they've been the talk of the town over the last few months.

Foldable phones news
Foldable phones news

All fingers point toward a certainty that’s no doubt fresh on the minds of consumers.

Foldable phones are coming – and they’ve been the talk of the town over the last few months. LG, Motorola, and Xiaomi are said to have foldable handsets already in development, while Samsung’s foldable smartphone is allegedly pegged for an official unveiling as soon as next month.

But there’s still a bit of doubt about foldable phones and their potential to become mainstream. Just recently, during CES 2019, we got to see the flexible Royole FlexPai in action, and while it did seem cool at first, its execution clearly left a lot to be desired. 

And as much as we’re confident that Samsung will be able to pull it off by employing a more practical implementation, this isn’t the first time consumers are being teased by foldable devices. In fact, there have been several mobile devices that attempted to popularize this peculiar design, but so far, there has yet to be one that comes close to being perfect.

In this piece, we’re going to look at some foldable mobile devices that have launched in the past with ambitious goals. As it turns out, though, all of them confirmed what we already knew – there’s still much work and development needed to get a foldable phone that’ll be prime time for the masses!

NEC Medias W

Since it was local to Japan, the NEC Medias W didn't get the chance to really be remembered by anyone.

Since it was local to Japan, the NEC Medias W didn’t get the chance to really be remembered by anyone.

Arguably the most obscure of the bunch on this list, the NEC Medias W never saw the light of day outside of Japan. Featuring dual 4.3-inch qHD displays, which utilized a hinge to fold over the two displays so they’re side-by-side to one another, it was a surprisingly good effort on NEC’s part.

Not only did it offer the convenience of expanding the interface, like having the extra real estate to surf the web, but it did also allow users to interact with the app on one display – while the other can be used to display the on-screen keyboard for typing.

Having been released back in 2013, the NEC Medias W wasn’t a shabby job for a foldable phone. Sure, it was thick when closed because you essentially had two smartphones rolled into one, but it offered just about the same utility that any other smartphone offered at the time.

The main problem, however, was that the interface wasn’t optimized to take advantage of the dual displays. This isn’t just isolated to the NEC Medias W, but it was and has continued to be a challenge for manufacturers going for the foldable phone. More

John Velasco