A flip phone?
Once in our lifetime, almost all of us used to own a flip phone. We all loved to swing that thing open in public. It used to be a fashion trend in the early ’90s. These phones used to have the most trendy colors and styling options. Many big brands like Sony Erricson and Nokia used to rule the market with the most outrageous designs. The folding phones are now ruling the market.
Then came the era of smartphones and these trendy phones got lost in the past. Royole last year decided to bring back this trend. They combined the modern features and the cool design to launch the world’s first foldable phone. This phone was called the FlexPai and was much better than expected. Although the phone lacked the modern features of a modern smartphone, it still gave rise to a completely new market.
The Galaxy Fold-
Big companies like Samsung and Xiaomi later perfected the concept. The Samsung Fold was the lastest and greatest to be launched. The phone had flagship-level hardware and features. The phone came with triple camera setup and an AMOLED display. It also had a secondary display for easy access. Although the device had many strong points, it was not a resounding success because of the price and build quality. The display was made up of plastic and was prone to minimal damages. A car key or a coin could easily scratch the delicate display. The screen also had a layer which for most users was the main concern.
The layer was peeling off pretty easily and dust and dirt could enter easily. Samsung had to globally recall this device and fix it. After the recall, a famous YouTuber with the channel JerryRigEverything performed a durability test on the device. One could conclude that that the fixes were not good enough and plastic was simply not a good option for making screens.
Also, these phones are ridiculously expensive and the build quality for a price point of $2000 is simply unacceptable. So what’s the solution?
Better displays of folding phones –
Corning, one of the world’s most successful mobile glass manufacturing companies, announced a revolutionary product at CES 2020. They gave tech site CNET a sneak peek of their latest offering. The company is developing a glass thin enough to fold without breaking. Miraj diamond glass is also another viable solution to this problem. This glass is sprayed upon a plastic layer and is only 1000 nanometres thick.
This amazing glass was able to withstand lasers and also does not have any of those annoying creasings. The glass can repel water and surface oils without needing an additional oleophobic coating. In addition to that, this glass can also dissipate heat ultimately solving yet another problem of cooling such a large phone. This glass may also help eliminate the use of a screen guard because of the strength it will provide. Companies will also be able to continue strengthening the hardware of this phone because of the additional cooling help. Who knows, maybe one day we will see a sleek looking foldable gaming phone in the market.
Hinges and Back covers of folding phones-
So far, I think Samsung has been the only company to produce a really good folding hinge. Other companies like Xiaomi and Flexpie could not manufacture a good one primarily because of the display. The display of these phones is so flimsy that the strong hinges either damage the screen or put a permanent crease on it.
Although the Galaxy Fold had a remarkable hinge, it can not protect the display as dust can still enter the screen from the sides. Dust can also enter the machinery of the hinge and permanently damage its working. One can get a better idea about this by watching the durability test conducted by Jerry Rig Everything.
The back covers of these phones also need to be revolutionized. The conventional designs for these phones just don’t seem to work. Companies can manufacture Otterbox style folding cases which will not only give protection to the sides but also provide protection to the outer screen part.
Now as we can conclude, great technology is on the way which will surely improve the build quality of the phone. Adam Khan, the CEO of Akhan semiconductors has announced that the price of the Miraj glass will be at par with the normal screens available in the market. This means that the price of these amazing devices will go down by a lot and more people will have access to these.
Wrap Up -
To wrap things up, it can be said that as of now foldable phones are nothing more than gimmicks. I agree that the companies are doing the best they can with the available technology but these are still not very usable. For the price one is paying for these premium devices, the build quality should be exceptional. With the growing rate of innovation in today’s tech market, it won’t be long before we see some cheap and good quality folding phones.