For many years, manufacturers and users alike have imagined the concept of foldable phones. While we had flip phones back in the early 2000s, foldable phones are more like a mix between a classic flip phone and a modern smartphone, allowing users to fold their screen for greater convenience.
Since 2013, Samsung has been showing technology concepts for how a truly foldable smartphone might look. It wasn’t until 2019 that the first really foldable smartphones were produced. Now, in 2021, the foldable phone is an excellent example of just how far smartphone technology has come in a few years. We’ve written this guide to give you an idea of what foldable phones are, their history and how they work.
What Are Foldable Smartphones?
For many years mobile phones tried to be as small as possible to maximise their convenience and make them more mobile. With smartphones, technology has pushed things in the other direction. As more people rely on their phone as a primary device, they use it to watch media, access sites and play games including at an online casino. A large screen is far more useful for these applications and, as a result, modern smartphones are often large and bulky, which can make them difficult to carry around.
Smartphone screens that fold are the newest and best thing in the smartphone world. These devices have a significantly larger screen but fold up into a smaller package. This means users can still watch content in high definition without sacrificing the convenience of a small phone.
The FlexPai, produced by Chinese company Royole, was the world’s first commercially available foldable smartphone and launched back in 2018. Other firms, such as Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei, have since released their own foldable models in an attempt to corner this rapidly growing market.
How Do Foldable Smartphones Work?
While regular smartphones use layers of inflexible glass for their screens, foldable smartphones are different. They use an Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, which can be made thin enough to be flexible. While this technology has been around for some time, it was only relatively recently that it could be used to create fully foldable screens.
Most foldable phone screens are constructed from plastic polymers, as glass is typically inflexible and brittle. However, Samsung has recently announced the use of ultra-thin glass in its latest generation of foldable smartphones.
The History of Foldable Phones
The Royole FlexPai was the very first foldable smartphone that launched in 2018, but it wasn’t long before Samsung released a version of its own. The Samsung Galaxy Fold gave users a phone that folds out into a tablet. Huawei arrived on the scene shortly after when it unveiled the Mate X, which gave users a convenient and easy to use foldable smartphone.
These two phones each had a unique way of folding, with the Galaxy Fold’s screen hidden on the inside and unfolding when the phone is opened up. The Mate X, on the other hand, has a screen that wraps around the outside of the phone and straightens out when it is opened. Later on, Motorola would launch the first clamshell folding phone with the Razr 2020.
Today, users have a wide range of options when it comes to foldable smartphones, and while these tend to be a lot more expensive than regular phones, the technology is getting more accessible and cheaper. What started out as a vision of science fiction has now become a reality, and smartphones are becoming more user friendly than ever before thanks to innovative folding screens. As the technology continues to advance in the future, it’s impossible to predict how the next foldable smartphones might look.