2019 is set to be a banner year in smartphone innovation. After a full decade of dominance on the part of iPhone-like, slab designs, the quest to figure out what comes next will start to give rise to meaningfully different alternatives.
At the very least, by the time smartphone season rolls around in the fall you’ll have your choice between a number of smartphone concepts that fold and bend.
A number of heavy-hitters have already announced plans for an all-screen handset that fold, or failing that have filed patent designs for such devices. Samsung teased its Galaxy F phone-tablet hybrid at its November developer conference and announced Google was already developing complementing software. And with the 2019 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicking off January 8, more updates about the future of mobile tech are almost certainly on the horizon.
We’re at the cusp of what could be a big phase shift in smartphone design. This year will likely see a few companies test preliminary models to see what sticks and what needs improvement. Here’s what to expect.
Foldable Smartphones at CES 2019?
Samsung, LG, and Royole are all expected to say something about their foldable phones at the Las Vegas tech convention. But on the other hand, it’s also looking increasingly unlikely that we’ll see a new launch come January 8.
Royole’s 7.8-inch FlexPai was the first-ever foldable smartphone brought to market. The company debuted it at an invitation-only event earlier this year in China, and it’s expected to host a booth at the trade show for more publicity. That said, this early in the game it’s still unclear if this activation will come with new hardware or software additions.
While Samsung is still expected to launch its rumored Galaxy F phone in 2019, but the exact date remains a mystery and a rollout next week seems too early. Most educated guesses point to a release in late February or early March. That said, many of the details about the phone will probably leak: Blueprints of the smartphone have already shown it to tout at 7.3-inch tablet display that can be folded into a 4.58-inch handset device.
Finally, LG is also cooking up a phone that will unravel like a scroll. The World Intellectual Property Office published the company’s patent designs December 20, and they show off a phone that could be vastly different from the other foldable concepts we’ve seen. However, this ambitious idea likely won’t appear at CES.
Trusted smartphone leaker Evan Blass tweeted that LG’s announcement has been pushed back later in the year. But that doesn’t mean the company won’t use its booth to tease the device.