Foldable smartphones are an exciting concept in the tech world today. It brings with it all the convenience of having a device with a large display fitting right into your pocket or backpack, while also being incredibly mobile. Sadly though, the technology for such ambitious designs is still in its infancy, and it’s looking to be a slow grind to get something that can be even remotely practical at this point.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was supposed to be the phone that delivered on the foldable smartphone dream. Touting an impressive folding AMOLED display, it was heralded as one of the forerunners of foldable smartphone technology. Its execution, however, left a lot to be desired – the phone was marred with issues related to screens dying out, particles getting stuck underneath the display, and customers peeling off vital protective layers off the screens. In short, it was a meltdown, and Samsung had to make amends quickly. Its $2,000 smartphone shouldn’t have to be taken to a repair shop again and again, so it decided to delay the launch of the device while working on it just a bit more.

A FOLDED HAND

In retrospect, the Galaxy Fold was a truly ambitious concept at the time that, due to its unfortunate stumblings, managed to trip up the enthusiasm that was building over foldable smartphones. The review units it sent out were susceptible to high rates of failure, and screen repairs for such a new technology would not only be expensive, but also extremely frustrating. Samsung stated that it will “thoroughly investigate” the defective units coming in, but one has to wonder how such a case was never caught at a company of its size and stature. Perhaps the same team that managed the quality control cycle of the infamous Galaxy Note 7 was in that day!

The Galaxy Fold was recently announced to have a September launch window, and that Samsung had improved on the design to make sure that it won’t be visiting a repair shop anytime soon. Industry speculations point to the device being delayed again for other reasons, but its evident that once that release window draws near, the hype for foldable smartphones will definitely reinvigorate.

BEST OF MATES?

In all the excitement of the Galaxy Fold misstep, a lot of people have forgotten about the phone that was supposed to take over its place as the champion for foldable screens – the Huawei Mate X. Showcasing at the same time as the Galaxy Fold, Huawei’s answer to the foldable smartphone question was a device that folded outward instead of inward like its Samsung counterpart. The Mate X boasts many of the cues as the progenitor of foldable smartphones, the Royole FlexPai, but with more sophistication and another multi-billion-dollar company at the helm.

While the Mate X played it cool and was free of any repair controversy, its parent company Huawei was anything but, as sanctions against the corporation were imposed by the US, UK, Canada and other Western countries over privacy concerns. This turn of events saw chatter on all of Huawei’s upcoming devices slowly die down, with the Mate X also being a casualty. More recently however, the CEO of Huawei was witnessed sporting the Mate X at an airport, which shows that the gadget is most likely preparing for a future release despite the negative press its parent company has been garnering as of late.

(P)REPAIRING FOR THE FUTURE

The hype for foldable smartphones has definitely slowed down, but that doesn’t mean that the technology is not interesting and doesn’t warrant some attention. Similar to 5G, foldable smartphones as an inevitable advancement in technology, and could very well shape the way our devices are standardized in the future. If you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve, consider looking into these emerging technologies so they can help scale your business in the future.

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