Are Folding Displays the Future of Smartphones?

Are Folding Displays the Future of Smartphones?


Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, smartphones have plateaued. Every new generation of phones introduces bigger screens, brighter displays, and faster processors. From a design perspective, the industry has been iterative for over a decade. There’s nearly no visual distinction between an iPhone X and a Samsung Galaxy Note. They’re both black rectangles with full-screen displays and a few physical buttons.

Folding displays might change this paradigm, though. Samsung was the first smartphone manufacturer to bring a folding device to the marketplace. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was released in September of 2019, though the device has faced scrutiny from critics for its fragile design and high price tag. Still, it’s a convincing proof-of-concept that could show a path for the future. Are folding displays the next big thing for smartphones?

Early Adopters

Samsung was the first manufacturer to embrace the folding phone design, but it’s not alone. Oppo unveiled its first foldable phone, the Find N, in early December. The high-end smartphone looks like a refined version of Samsung’s Fold line. Oppo seeks to capitalize on a market hungry for high-powered phones capable of playing games and 4K movies.

Other manufacturers need to play catchup with Samsung and Oppo. Folding displays are likely the future of smartphone technology for numerous reasons. The first reason is simple: people love flexible devices.

Many Functions, One Device

Why own a smartphone and a tablet? If you have a folding phone, you don’t only need one device for watching movies or playing games on the go. Pull your phone out of your pocket, unfold it, and play whatever mobile game you want on a huge display!

Likewise, these devices could replace computers. Modern smartphones boast high-end processors that can handle the same tasks as laptops and desktop PCs. A folding smartphone can use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to emulate the functions of a PC. Since tablets and computers are already expensive, multi-functional handsets could be very appealing for users on a budget.

Ironing Out the Kinks

Folding screen technology is still in its infancy. Samsung’s first wave of Fold phones encountered critical hardware failures. Some reviewers reported debris getting stuck under the screen and ruining the display. Others noted that the hinge on their handsets broke a few days after they purchased it.

However, if manufacturers can work out these kinks, folding smartphones will likely define handheld technology for the next decade. The future is here! But it will take time for manufacturers to figure out how to make folding tech durable and affordable.