How foldable phones should fold: Samsung, Motorola bet on clamshell design
Unlike the original Galaxy Fold, Samsung’s new phone folds into a square. Is the clamshell design way to go forward for the foldable phones?
Foldable phones are here, sort of. Smartphone companies such as Samsung and Huawei are betting big on the new form factor as smartphones are increasingly becoming monotonous, at least in terms of design. Even as Samsung and Huawei have showcased the first-gen foldable phones, the technology firms are still experimenting with the folding design - how a foldable phone should fold.
Samsung at its Developer Conference 2019 previewed a new foldable phone design. Unlike the original Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung's new folding phone folds into a square, reminiscent to the flip phones of yesteryears. As seen in the preview video, Samsung's new folding phone, let's call it Galaxy Fold 2, looks like any normal phone, with punch-hole camera on the top, on-screen navigation touch buttons at the bottom and a familiar UI onboard. While Galaxy Fold folded-unfolded like a book, Samsung's new phone can be folded vertically.
Samsung hasn't yet revealed more details about Galaxy Fold successor but it's highly likely the company showcases the phone early next year, most probably at the Mobile World Congress 2020. The preview is in line with the recent Bloomberg report which had first reported about a second Samsung folding phone that folds down into a compact-sized square.
According to the report, the phone has a 6.7-inch display that shrinks like a clamshell. On the outside, the phone will come with two cameras that face the rear when the phone is open or the front when the device is flipped closed. Samsung is also working on an Ultra Thin Glass for the inner screen which is said to be roughly 3% of the thickness of the usual glass used in smartphones.
"The amazing thing with the foldable technology is that it can also become more compact like this," said Sally Hyesoon Jeong, head of Framework R&D Group at Samsung's mobile communications, at the SDC 2019. "Incredible, right?
"This brand new form factor we are now exploring not only easily fits in your pocket but it also changes the way you use the phone," Jeong added.
It is too early to say the original foldable design experiment has failed but let's not forget the difficult beginning both Samsung and Huawei have faced with the first iterations of the phone. Let's not forget Motorola is joining the fray next month. Similar to Samsung's clamshell folding design, Motorola has also teased a foldable Razr phone.
Motorola's Razr flip phone redux is rumoured to come with a 6.2-inch display with an OLED panel. The secondary screen is said to come with 600 x 800 pixels resolution, Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor with 4GB/64GB and 6GB/128GB RAM and storage variants. Looking at the specifications, Motorola Razr foldable phone could be much cheaper than the expensive foldable phones.