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Opinion: Samsung Galaxy Fold unfolds the future

By Ivan Franco · 20 replies
Apr 16, 2019
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  1. I have seen the future. I have touched the future. I’ve experienced the future. And I love it.

    How you ask? I’m one of the lucky few who has gotten to play for a few hours with the world’s first commercially available foldable phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold (set for official release on April 26), and it’s amazing. The experience of looking at the normal-sized 4.6” front display on the device, and then unfolding it to unveil the same app in much larger form on the beautiful 7.3” screen is something I don’t think I will get tired of for some time.

    But, it’s not perfect. First, at a price of nearly $2,000, it’s clearly not for everyone. This is the Porsche of smartphones, and not everyone can or will want to pay that much for a phone. Second, yes, at certain angles or in certain light, you can notice a crease in the middle of the large display when the phone is unfolded. In real-world use, however, I found that it completely disappears—it didn't bother me in the least. Finally, yes, it is a bit chunky, especially compared to the sleek, single-screen devices to which many of us have become accustomed. However, it’s not uncomfortable to hold, and most importantly, it will still easily fit into a pants pocket (or nearly anywhere else you store your existing smartphone).

    The Galaxy Fold completely transforms how we can, and should, think about smartphones. Open up the phone and you’ll immediately recognize that this is an always-connected computer that you can carry in your pocket.

    More importantly, the Galaxy Fold completely transforms how we can, and should, think about smartphones. Open up the phone and you’ll immediately recognize that this is an always-connected computer that you can carry in your pocket. Practically speaking, it lets you do all the digital activities we've grown attached to in an easier, faster, and profoundly more satisfying way.

    Want to watch TV shows or movies on the go? You can’t get a better or more compelling mobile experience right now than what you’ll see on the Galaxy Fold. Looking for directions? Start your map search on the front screen of the device, then unfold it to display the entire area around your destination. It’s a revelation. Want to web surf, and chat, and check out social media at the same time? The Fold’s ability to simultaneously show three different applications in reasonably-sized windows—a feature Samsung calls Multi-Active Windows—matches the kind of experience that has required a large tablet or PC in the past.

    I could go on, but I think you get the idea. The Galaxy Fold radically changes how we’re going to think about and use mobile devices, and frankly, makes most of our existing phones look a bit—no, a lot—old-fashioned. I realize it may sound somewhat hyperbolic, but I honestly haven’t been this excited about and fascinated with a tech device in a very long time…as in, since my original experience with a Sony Walkman (yes, that long ago). It’s the kind of device that makes you look at other existing products in a profoundly different way. Having said that, with a device this different, and this expensive, you’re going to want to try it out yourself to really see if it works for you.

    While the Galaxy Fold is radically different from all other smartphones in some critical ways, it’s also important to remember, however, that it is, fundamentally, still an Android phone, with all that entails. For existing Android phone owners, this means that—other than a few, simple new ways Samsung has created to work with multiple apps on the large display—it works like your existing phone. App compatibility is supposed to be very good on the Fold—though there are some apps, like Netflix, that don’t currently support multitasking windows—but it’s still too early to tell for sure.

    For iPhone owners who may be tempted to switch over to the dark side (and I’m guessing there could be a reasonable number of those with this new product), it does mean getting used to Android, finding a few new apps, and—if you can handle it—giving up the blue bubbles of iOS-only threads in your messaging apps. In exchange, however, you’ll get access to an experience that Apple isn’t likely to offer for several years. Plus, given the level of multi-platform application and services support that now exists, it’s nowhere near as big a concern as it used to be.

    For everyone, you’ll get six cameras—including the same three-camera package of wide angle, telephoto, and ultrawide on the S10 series—two built-in batteries, and the ability to share your battery power with others. Inside the box, you also get a set of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds wireless earbuds that can also be charged with the power sharing feature.

    There’s been an enormous amount of speculation and build-up around not just the Galaxy Fold, but the foldable smartphone category in general, with many naysayers suggesting they’re little more than a gimmicky fad. While on the on one hand, I can appreciate the skepticism—we've certainly seen more than our fair share of products that ended being a lot less useful than they initial sounded—I really don’t think that will be the case with Galaxy Fold.

    Looking back historically, I wouldn't be surprised if the release of foldables is seen as being just about as important as the release of the iPhone. It’s that big of a deal.

    In fact, looking back historically, I wouldn't be surprised if the release of foldables is seen as being just about as important as the release of the iPhone. It’s that big of a deal. Of course, as with the iPhone, we will undoubtedly see several iterations over time that will make the current Galaxy Fold look old-fashioned itself. But for those of us living in the present and looking to the future, the revolutionary new Galaxy Fold offers a very compelling path forward.

    Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting and market research firm. You can follow him on Twitter . This article was originally published on Tech.pinions.

    Permalink to story.

  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,167   +854

    This is absolutely not "the future".

    This is a gimmick.

    A gimmick that will be short-lived.
    p51d007 and arrowflash like this.
  3. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 248   +93

    Nothing is awesome enough to justify the $2,000 cost
    p51d007 and wiyosaya like this.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,662   +2,418

    I dunno..the idea of a phone that expands to tablet size has real merit. Eventually they may figure out a way to make the crease invisible, either through memory materials or clever adaptive lighting. My concern is that the cost will keep away the early adopters and we'll never see economy of scale kick in. As for myself I'd much rather have a new physical QWERTY slider phone.

    Can't wait till they make phones you can roll up so we can watch stupid people smoking them.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    p51d007 likes this.
  5. funglebuddy

    funglebuddy TS Enthusiast Posts: 69   +18

    The phone had better be making me money and be a digital girlfriend for that kind of cash

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,701   +787

    I think at least in the beginning this will be a fad. If they can get the price of the tech down considerably and the form factor that is comfortable for people then it may very well become the norm. I personally want to see a roll-up phone the size of a fat pen when rolled up and something like a 10" 16:9 screen unrolled. Though it seems that ratio is probably never going to come back but I hate all these other ratios and they only reason I see they went away from 16:9 is to have all this edge to edge bezel-less crap.
  7. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 248   +93

    It was designed for the spoiled teenage girls
  8. Kreegir

    Kreegir TS Member

    funny, I remember reading the same kinds of comments when they announced 1000 dollar phones... few years later and they are everywhere...
    It's a marketing ploy, skimming the top. Think plasma TVs when they first came out... they were 10,000 dollars. After all the people willing to pay that amount had done so, they started dropping the price.

    On another note, that front screen seems small compared to the size of the closed phone.
    Spineman likes this.
  9. arrowflash

    arrowflash TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +21

    This. Please bring back phones with sliding physical keyboards instead of this gimmicky crap that will only add to planed obsolence and, probably, make devices more fragile and less durable.

    I'd really like to see in what state these phones with foldable screens will be after 2 or 3 years of use.
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,269   +3,683

    It may be the future for those foolish enough to drop that kind of cash for a telephone, but not this old man. More and more I find it far more convenient to use my little $30 flip phone and my Samsung tablet for everything else .... all at less than half of that fold-able foolishness. That feature alone won't justify the cost to the thinking side of big business and if I found my managers approving such expenditures, there would be a lot of new vacancies waiting to be filled by more frugal, forward thinking professionals .....
  11. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,859   +2,167

    the free market will decide that, as you've so adamantly stated before. They real question is, do you agree with the free market or is that just your favorite talking point for when you don't have something real to contribute?
  12. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,167   +854

    #1 The Free market has already decided the moment they saw $2000 as a sticker.

    #2 If it succeeds (which it won't) I'll take back my insults.

    #3 When it fails I will double down on my insults.
  13. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Guru Posts: 655   +469

    Every smartphone creator should do this. Create a gimmicky phone and set a crazy price. There's ALWAYS people out there who have to have the latest and greatest who disregard price. For us normal folk who do our research and know this phone has no screen protection due to the lack of Gorilla Glass, we'll stick to the sub $700 still-luxury phones out there.
    QuantumPhysics likes this.
  14. Polycount

    Polycount TS Evangelist Posts: 1,700   +382

    If it had revolutionary software, I might be inclined to agree with Bob here. But it doesn't - it's still just ordinary Android, which certainly isn't bad (I've been almost exclusively an Android user for years now), but it's not $2,000 "not bad."

    The folding concept doesn't bring enough to the table to warrant that much extra cash, in my opinion. This is a rich man's phone at the moment, I can't even rightly call it an "enthusiast" device with that price tag (even the 2080 Ti isn't this expensive).

    That said, I'm willing to be proven wrong. I hope to try one of these for myself some day.
  15. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,934   +1,204

    Yep! Give me the screen size now...6", with a slide out keyboard...the "slim/stylish" garbage be d*mned! I'll take a thicker phone with a slide out keyboard, ie: my old HTC tilt non smart phone of the day.
    Spineman likes this.
  16. Aceldamia

    Aceldamia TS Rookie

    The one thing I consistently see in all of this coverage of foldable phones is a lack of any consumers actually wanting one.

    Where are companies getting the idea anyone at all wants this tech?
  17. Spineman

    Spineman TS Rookie

    Says Apples frightened marketing department....
  18. Spineman

    Spineman TS Rookie

    I want one!
  19. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,167   +854

    As long as none of these Androids can run iOS, $1 TRILLION Apple's in no worries whatsoever of a $2000 gimmick.

    People buy "iOS Devices" completely on the fact they run iOS.

    Personally I refuse to buy into the "Android vs. iPhone" narrative for that very reason.

    ALL of the Android phones compete with each other.

    Samsung, LG, Google phones, Hua Wei... they compete with each other directly.

    iPhone stands alone because nothing else can support iOS.

    It's also ridiculous to me that every single year, the competition begins with the new Android phone against the old iOS phone simply because Android makers launch early.

    I personally hope Apple doesn't bend to the competition and doesn't launch a folding phone. It would simply be criticized as "apple copying" where in reality, they simply didn't want to release untested, tech early.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  20. amghwk

    amghwk TS Guru Posts: 505   +308

    QuantumPhysics likes this.
  21. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,167   +854

    Glass don't fold...

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