Samsung has apparently decided to double up on its foldable phones, leaving us to ask the all important question: why?
For a few mind-bending months in 2019, it seemed that foldable phones were the way of the future. Trailblazed by the little-known, little-loved, but much-mocked Royole Flexpai, the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X then burst onto the scene, bringing foldables into the mainstream and seeming to reset the course of smartphone design. But the miracle turned to mirage: Samsung’s model had such severe problems with fragility that it had to be redesigned and rebuilt; Huawei faced the “Android ban” which effectively put paid to their plans in Western markets.
A couple of second wave foldable handsets hit the shelves since then, including the Motorola Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Flip Z (both of which employed a clamshell design, rather defeating the point of being able to pocket a large screen), though none have really caught on.
So what’s the solution? Well, if you’re Samsung, it’s to double down. Literally.
The South Korean brand has just filed a patent for a foldable phone that folds not once, but twice. Part of the accordion-like screen can even fold out and work as a mini keyboard, so it’s like a laptop for leprechauns.
The problem is… does anyone actually want this? Existing foldables are about as popular as a fart in a sauna, while demand for flagship phones is already in decline, let alone for wackier and ever-more expensive devices like this one, which solve problems that nobody has ever had.
Not only that, but apparently Samsung is cancelling its Note series of phablets, and will instead sink the money into, you’ve guessed it, research & development for foldable phones. With these funds, who knows? Perhaps Samsung will finally be able to make one that folds three times, attracting the interest of three customers.
Samsung; if you really do think it’s “double or nothing” time for foldable phones, then please choose the latter option.