Opinion: Working with a foldable smartphone is a game-changing experience

Bob O'Donnell

Staff member
<div class="bbWrapper"><p><img src="https://static.techspot.com/images2/news/bigimage/2019/09/2019-09-24-image-6.jpg"></p>

<p>Though the leaf colors may not have started changing, there’s another sure sign that we’ve entered fall: the barrage of smartphone and other device announcements from major manufacturers around the world. Technically, it started in early August at Samsung’s Unpacked event in New York, where they unveiled their Note 10 line of smartphones. The bulk of the announcements, however, are happening in September, most notably Apple’s iPhone 11 line. Looking ahead, the announcements should extend at least until October, given Google’s own pre-announcement of the Pixel 4.</p>

<p>I was fortunate enough to receive a review unit of the first edition and, as a long-time fan of the concept of foldable displays, was pleased to discover that in real-world usage, working with a smartphone-sized foldable device truly is a game-changing experience. I also had absolutely zero problems with the unit I received, so was very disappointed to have to return it. Happily, I now have the revised version of the Fold and while it’s obviously too early to say anything about long-term durability, it’s clear that the new Fold design is better conceived and feels more rugged than the original, particularly the redesigned hinge.</p>

<p class="side-quote">"We can certainly argue whether a nearly $2,000 smartphone ought to be this delicate, but the re-release of the Fold says a number of things about the state of foldable technology in general."</p>

<p>Samsung has been very careful this time around to warn people to be cautious with the device and frankly, the early problems with the first generation will probably serve as a good warning to potential customers that they need to treat the Fold a bit more gingerly than they do a typical smartphone. Now, we can certainly argue whether a nearly $2,000 smartphone ought to be this delicate, but the re-release of the Fold says a number of things about the state of foldable technology in general.</p>

<p>First, the plastic material currently used to make foldable displays is still not anywhere close to the level of scratch resistance that glass is. Companies like Corning and other display component manufacturers are working to develop more hardened foldable displays, but if you’re eager to embrace the future now with a foldable device, current material science is going to limit devices to softer, more sensitive screens. An important implication of this is that Samsung made the correct decision in choosing to go with a fold-in design on the Galaxy Fold. Fold-out designs like the Huawei Mate X and the Royole FlexPai aren’t likely to survive more than a few months of regular usage. (Unfortunately for Huawei, that’s the least of their concerns as the lack of Google Services on any of their new devices—including Mate 30 and Mate X—is going to severely handicap their opportunities outside of China.)</p>

<p>Second, we need to think differently about the inevitable tradeoffs between functionality and ruggedness on these new devices. While even the revised design might not be able withstand running an X-Acto blade across the screen or dropping sand into it—though let’s be honest, who’s going to do that to a nearly $2,000 smartphone—as long as the devices prove to be functional over an extended period of regular usage, that will keep most all potential customers happy.</p>

<p>The key point to remember is that people who want a radical, cutting-edge device like Fold are interested in it because of the unique experiences it can enable. Having started using it again, I’m still excited at how incredibly useful it is and how innovative it feels to open the device and start using a tablet-sized screen on a phone-sized device. Simple perhaps, but still very cool. In fact, given all the challenges that the initial device faced, it’s pretty amazing that so many people are still interested in the new Galaxy Fold. Clearly, the lure of foldability is still quite strong.</p>

<p>Plus, Samsung themselves has acknowledged the potential challenges the device faces and added two additional services to ward off concerns people may have. First, they’re providing a special concierge level service for Galaxy Fold owners that gives them access to a set of dedicated support personnel who can walk people through any types of questions they have with the phone—a nice touch for an expensive device. Second, the company is offering to replace any potentially damaged screens for $149 for the first year of ownership. While that’s not cheap, it’s certainly appears to be a lot less expensive than what it will cost Samsung to have to perform that repair.</p>

<p>Finally, I believe the official relaunch of the Fold will mark the beginning of a wide range of commercially available products with foldable displays and start to get people thinking about the creative new form factors that these screens enable. Lenovo, for example, has previewed their ThinkPad foldable PC, which is expected to ship around this time next year—showing that foldable screens won’t just be limited to phone-size devices.</p>

<p>There’s no question that the Galaxy Fold is not yet a mainstream device, but it’s equally clear to me that people who want cutting edge device experiences will be drawn to it. I, for one, am eager to continue my explorations.</p>

<p class="grey">Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of <a href="http://www.technalysisresearch.com/" target="_blank">TECHnalysis Research, LLC</a> a technology consulting and market research firm. You can follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/bobodtech" rel="author" target="_blank">@bobodtech</a>. This article was originally published on <a href="https://techpinions.com/revised-galaxy-fold-adds-new-twist-to-fall-phone-a-palooza/58627">Tech.pinions</a>.</p>
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DZillaXx

Posts: 106   +157
I can't wait to get a foldable phone like this.

This is not a device nobody asked for. This is a device that everyone one day will want in their pocket. The prime form factor of the computer in your pocket. These devices will only get thinner and more durable over time.

I can't wait till a second or third gen model comes along in a reasonable price range while being good deal more refined.
 
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Jeff Re

Posts: 227   +202
The leaf colors started changing a month ago! And that's without driving any farther north! Also, anyone who doesn't treat a $1000 phone gingerly (or even a $300 phone) and treat a foldable phone even more gingerly needs to have a Nokia candy bar phone from 1999.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,582   +6,101
I don't see the foldable's really catching on until they can produce and sell a model under $500. As we've seen with the very newest iPhone's, they remain delicate and expensive to repair, much less than to replace. I picked up a simple flip phone that will eventually replace my smart phone since 99% of everything I do with a phone is talk or txt. All the other stuff is cute and might even be useful to many but for the overall costs, it really just isn't that important. I also noticed that my driving has improved a lot ..... who would have thunk it!?!
 

B5S46M

Posts: 35   +46
This is not a device nobody asked for. This is a device that everyone one day will want in their pocket. The prime form factor of the computer in your pocket. These devices will only get thinner and more durable over time.
This.

I played around with one of these at IFA, and I would not want one, pure due to its folded size and weight. Too big, too heavy. I will be interested if they drop 50% mass, and make it 1/2 the thickness. Of course also 1/2 the price would also not hurt.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
Today we have to carry a multitude of gadgets for multiple purposes, the trend says less is better, if you can save having to take a dedicated bigger device for whatever purpose, it's going to be way better and comfier.
 
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Oshyan

Posts: 26   +37
Today we have to carry a multitude of gadgets for multiple purposes, the trend says less is better, if you can save having to take a dedicated bigger device for whatever purpose, it's going to be way better and comfier.
That's still really non-specific though. If you're talking about this as an alternative to a laptop, the primary advantages of a laptop are display size (foldable can help, but still gets nowhere near a real laptop), a desktop (I.e. less restricted) operating system and file system (which foldables don't have, at least not yet), and a physical, reasonably-sized keyboard (which foldables also don't help with). So if you see a particular use case advantage for foldable, please be *specific*.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
You are looking into how someone can convince you that this has a real use FOR YOU. I don't have to be specific, specially for someone that is simply bashing an OPINION.

Bigger screen in your pocket
, that's all there really is to it. Is it game changer? You are carrying, a bigger screen in your pocket than you could've ever thought about. To me, that's ducking game changer.
 
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Oshyan

Posts: 26   +37
I'm not bashing an opinion because it's an opinion but because it provides no information and therefore is meaningless to write about because it does nothing to help inform and thus potentially convince others. Instead it only connects with those who *already agree*. I might agree too if I only knew what kind of things this person felt were better with a foldable, but I don't have one to experiment with myself, so I can only imagine and guess.

So, a bigger screen means what, what specifically does it let you do, or do better, that you can't do know? Surely it can't be that hard to name even one specific actual task that is more enabled by this. Hell, I could think of some potential ones, but again I haven't used these devices so I'd only be guessing.

I want to know what you and others think will be better. Rather than "bashing" opinions I am *interested* in them, but not ones simply communicated as "this rocks!" or "this is shite!". Those are useless opinions. Add value to your opinions with *information*.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
You are still missing the point, of course people here will think it's cool, it's brand new technology in a technology forum.

But still...
Having started using it again, I’m still excited at how incredibly useful it is and how innovative it feels to open the device and start using a tablet-sized screen on a phone-sized device. Simple perhaps, but still very cool.
So it's simple, bigger screen in your pocket.

If you want to talk with Bob you should probably approach him on Twitter as he didn't paste the story here...
Edit: That opinion seems to follow all the downfalls it presented when coming up on their first iteration, so it's not just a lot of nonsense.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 106   +157
That's still really non-specific though. If you're talking about this as an alternative to a laptop, the primary advantages of a laptop are display size (foldable can help, but still gets nowhere near a real laptop), a desktop (I.e. less restricted) operating system and file system (which foldables don't have, at least not yet), and a physical, reasonably-sized keyboard (which foldables also don't help with). So if you see a particular use case advantage for foldable, please be *specific*.
Phones have a file system... This thing runs Android. It has a full fledged OS, just like any other phone running Android.

I could easily see myself using a fordable phone. Would be even better if it could be docked, with USB-C to HDMI support. The more my phone can do in a pinch the better.
 
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tipstir

Posts: 2,854   +199
To me it still looks like a small hand held appliance. What they need to do is use transparent plastic cell phones not even thought of or just not going to happen. This folding cell phone looks like going to bulky an heavy to deal with. Just to ready to switch to these sort of phones yet.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 562   +324
That's still really non-specific though. If you're talking about this as an alternative to a laptop, the primary advantages of a laptop are display size (foldable can help, but still gets nowhere near a real laptop), a desktop (I.e. less restricted) operating system and file system (which foldables don't have, at least not yet), and a physical, reasonably-sized keyboard (which foldables also don't help with). So if you see a particular use case advantage for foldable, please be *specific*.
Phones have a file system... This thing runs Android. It has a full fledged OS, just like any other phone running Android.

I could easily see myself using a fordable phone. Would be even better if it could be docked, with USB-C to HDMI support. The more my phone can do in a pinch the better.
Then wait and get a Surface Phone.
Microsoft already has 3 patents on foldable displays and have had their phone done for a long while.... just waiting for ARM OS.

BTW... Android is not an OS, it runs on top of another OS, it is a shell.
 
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PEnnn

Posts: 478   +416
Great. I am so happy for you, and especially the new you.

But let's go back to whining how the IPhones are really expensive although they start at less than $700....
 
Hmm, an opinion piece with no real content. This "article" is the equivalent of its headline. The 9 following paragraphs literally add zero useful content beyond that. How about telling us what *specifically* you're doing with a foldable phone that makes it "game changing"?
I was going to leave the exact same comment. Unfortunately this is the norm with the websites these days. It used to be people wrote mostly good articles and there was a little click-bait. Now everyone churns out click-bait with only a little actual content being generated. I end up skimming everything these days b/c so little of it is worth reading. And if we knew more details we would probably find out this was all written by a bot anyway. :-(
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
I, for one, will not pay $2K for a phone. I've got all I need for years to come in a $400 Moto X4 that only cost me $200 on sale. Even when the X4 wears out, I won't spend $2K on a phone. I have better things on which to spend my money.
 
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Boilerhog146

Posts: 642   +223
I, for one, will not pay $2K for a phone. I've got all I need for years to come in a $400 Moto X4 that only cost me $200 on sale. Even when the X4 wears out, I won't spend $2K on a phone. I have better things on which to spend my money.
Agreed.I paid just 249.00 cdn for my Alcatel idol 4s @ms store on special.an 800.00 dollar phone .not a year earlier.allmost 3 years now and still going strong.battery is starting to show its age.but still get a couple of days between charges with light to moderate use.I'll wait for another flagship price slash.
it was all shiny like glass front and rear so,yup I put the gel inscipio case on it cause .they don't call this the ROCK for nothing.
 
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m3tavision

Posts: 562   +324
I was going to leave the exact same comment. Unfortunately this is the norm with the websites these days. It used to be people wrote mostly good articles and there was a little click-bait. Now everyone churns out click-bait with only a little actual content being generated. I end up skimming everything these days b/c so little of it is worth reading. And if we knew more details we would probably find out this was all written by a bot anyway. :-(
Adds are more important than the customer.

99% of the web is owned by the same ad company. And those adds, are just click-through stories about celebrity secrets, etc.

If they ever tried to monetize the People, it would be like $0.01 per page hit. And you put $5 in weekly.