Foldable are here... Samsung was all set to launch but caused the mobile giant to delay its arrival. , however, and now plans to release the phone in the coming weeks. But Samsung isn't the only the one planning a foldable device. Other mobile companies have either announced or are rumored to have one in the works. Clearly, the tech industry has foldable phones on the brain..
Foldable phones are poised to transform the tech industry mobile apps take advantage of different display sizes and not only convert into a tablet but also And all of this is with the help of Google: The company has committed to providing for foldable designs. (And given some of its own patent filings that recently came to light, it may even release a foldable phone of its own.), along with 5G. Any foldable phones we will see this year will just hint at what's to come, as the devices become thinner, do a better job of managing battery life, let
Although it may seem like foldlabe phones are off to a shaky start, if all 11 companies below follow through with their plans, we are in for a crazy ride. Here are the brands that have announced plans, filed for a patent or are rumored to join the foldable craze.
Samsung Galaxy Fold: Pre-orders started April 15, shipping delayed
As the biggest tech company to throw its hat into the ring, many were eager to learn about thewhen Samsung introduced it at Unpacked in February. When closed, the phone has a secondary 4.6-inch display that serves as its "cover," with all the usual features you'd expect on a phone. When you're ready for something bigger, the Fold opens up like a book to a 7.3-inch tablet. The Fold also has six cameras. On the back, there's the same and on the front a single 10-megapixel camera. In tablet form, there are two additional cameras inside: a selfie camera and an 8-megapixel depth camera.
As exciting as it looked during Unpacked though, Samsung has hit a snag during launch. Pre-orders have already begun, but after a handful of tech reporters documented screen issues likewith their pre-production review units, Samsung decided to delay the Fold's launch in the coming weeks. (For more information, read CNET's on the matter.)
Because of the phone's novel design, it costs a pretty penny at $1,980 (about £1,500 or AU$2,800). The Fold has what the company calls an Infinity Flex Display. Essentially made out of a fancy plastic material, the screen can flex and fold hundreds of times without breaking. But, again, some users are reporting otherwise.
If Samsung manages to solve and get through this current jam, the Fold may not be the only foldable phone from Samsung. The company is said to be developing Bloomberg. Citing people familiar with the company's plans, Bloomberg reported that one phone will fold vertically, while the other will fold inward instead of outwardly like the Fold. With this predicament however, plans may change for Samsung., according to
Huawei Mate X: Available 'mid-2019'
Jumping on the trends of foldable phones and 5G, Huawei's new phone has both. Thehas a 6.6-inch display when folded closed and an 8-inch OLED screen when you flip it open. And it features 5G connectivity that's said to be four times faster than 4G, a 4,500-mAh battery and three rear cameras.
Similar to the Fold, it'll also be very pricey at 2,299 euros, or about $2,600, £2,000 or AU$3,660. However, at its MWC keynote event when Huawei first announced the phone, the companymay be coming down the pipeline.
It's unlikely that the Mate X will be available in the US when it launches mid-2019 though. Calling it a security threat to the Department of Defense, the US government banned the sale of Huawei phones. Retail giant in March 2018 and Huawei's at the request of the US in an act her father said . Huawei devices are still available in more than 170 countries around the world, however, .
Royole FlexPai: Available now
Developed by a startup headquartered in Fremont, California, the Royole Flexpai was the first flexible phone to debut, in October 2018. The phone has a plastic, 7.8-inch AMOLED screen and it's already on sale. You'll pay $1,318 (£1,209) for the 6GB of RAM and 128GB variant. And it's $1,469 (£1,349) for the 8GB of RAM and 256GB version. (Australian prices weren't released, but they convert to about AU$2,180 and AU$2,440, respectively.)
The FlexPai runs an OS called Water that's layered on top of Google Android 9.0. Whichever way you choose to hold or bend the device, the screen adjusts to its many different orientations and viewing options. Thoughwhen we first got our hands on it, the FlexPai gave us one of the first solid glimpses of what the future of .
Ever since its patent application file went public in December 2017, rumors began circulating that Motorola, which Lenovo acquired in 2014, would resurrect the popular phone with a . Later, a company exec at something was coming down the pipeline, likely in the summer.
The Razr reboot will supposedly cost $1,500 on Verizon. Refreshing the phone would be a smart move on Motorola. Since its original launch in 2004, the beloved phone has for its , thin profile and various color options at the time.
TCL: Confirmed, coming in 2020
Mostly known for its affordable televisions, Chinese tech company TCL is working on a number of foldable devices, which include two tablets, two phones and a cuff-like phone you wear around your wrist. Despite not being a household name in the US, you may know TCL better through other brands it owns, namely BlackBerry, Alcatel and Palm.
The upcoming devices all have flexble AMOLED displays that can bend because of what TCL calls a. Patented by the company, the hinge enables the screens to fold both inward and outward. TCL estimates that its first foldable phone will be available in 2020 and that it could cost less than $1,000 -- making it significantly cheaper than the Galaxy Fold.
Xiaomi Dual Flex or Mix Flex: Confirmed
In January, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi introduced itson the social media platform Weibo. Unlike previous phones we've seen, which have only one bend down the middle, Xiaomi's phone folds down into thirds, with both sides folding down.
Xiaomi co-founder and president Bin Lin said this form factor is "practical and beautiful" and that it "perfectly merges the experience of a tablet and a phone." No specs or pricing information were given, but Xiaomi is currently taking votes on two possible names: Dual Flex or Mix Flex.
Nubia Alpha: Confirmed
Nubia, an associate company of Chinese phone-maker ZTE, is taking the concept of a foldable phone one step further with its . Introduced at MWC, the Alpha is unique in that it's a phone that wraps around a user's wrist, similar to a smartwatch. It features a flexible 4.01-inch display, gesture controls and a water-resistant design.
This isn't the first time we've seen a phone that looks like the Alpha. In 2016, Lenovo had a concept device called , which had a 4.26-inch display that you bent over your wrist. But the Alpha isn't a concept -- though Nubia didn't release any pricing or availability dates, it will make the Alpha commercially available to users.
Apple: Rumored, with patent application
In February, Apple once again updated its patent application for a clamshell phone with a foldable display and body. The filings have been ongoing since Apple's first one eight years ago, in 2011. Since then, rumors of a flexible iPhone reignite with every new updated document, which have been filed in, and .
According to the filings, the phone "may have a flexible portion that allows the device to be folded." But keeping with its usual style, Apple has remained mum on details. So far, nothing has come to fruition with any of these patents in the public eye, and there hasn't been any info on what this device might be (and if it will even be a phone at all) or a timeline to expect such products.
Google: Rumored, with patent application
We already know that Google plans to support foldable phones with its Android OS platform. But in December 2018, the tech giant. While this doesn't officially confirm that the company is launching a foldable phone, it's at least considering the option. The patent is for a "foldable display of a computing device and includes a back stiffening layer, a transparent front-plate layer, a transparent cover window layer, and an OLED display layer disposed between the back stiffening layer and the transparent frontplate layer."
Lenovo: Rumored, with patent application
As mentioned before, Lenovo introduced the conceptphone in 2016, which could bend and wrap around your wrist like the Nubia Alpha. While it was just a concept phone back then, Lenovo has been making inroads to release a real foldable phone to the masses. Last July it for a "portable information device" with a "foldable configuration."
Back in 2014, LG launched the CES 2019, it showed off a that will be on sale later this year. We know that LG has the technology in the works for a flexible phone and the company ., a phone with a curved screen. More recently at
For now, we have no idea what the phone will look like, how much it will cost or when it will arrive. There were rumors that LG would introduce one at CES, but that turned out to be a false alarm. And later at MWC, LG had an accessory that added to its phone, but unfortunately none of the devices fold.
Originally published Jan. 26, 2019 and updated frequently.