New Foldable Phones: What Samsung, Google and Others May Announce in 2024

Last year was a busy year for the foldable phone market. Here's what we're expecting in 2024.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple | Samsung | Google | Smartphones | Smartwatches | Wearables | Fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
6 min read
Motorola's Razr 2023 (left) and Razr Plus (right)

Motorola's Razr 2023 (left) and Razr Plus could be joined by a 2024 model in the next few months.

John Kim/CNET

Foldable phones had a moment in 2023. Google and OnePlus released their first bendable phones. Motorola and Samsung leveled up their flip phones with larger external screens, making them more useful. And with its $700 2023 Razr, Motorola attempted to fight the notion that foldable phones need to break the bank.

While 2023 was an unexpected period of change for foldables, despite sales actually falling below expectations, 2024 will likely be quieter. Samsung will probably introduce new versions of the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold as it usually does, and there are rumblings of a second-generation Pixel Fold. But these devices are expected to be iterative updates that improve on key areas like design and performance, rather than widespread updates that expand what foldables are truly capable of. 

That's not necessarily a negative. Flip phones evolved in 2023, and 2024 will likely be about further polishing what's worked in the past. However, I'm hoping to see companies like Samsung and others work toward addressing two of the biggest shortcomings of today's foldables: high prices and a lack of compelling software.

Read more: I Visited Samsung's Home Turf to See If Foldable Phones Are Really the Future

Watch this: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review: Flip Phones Are Cool Again

Which foldable phones we're expecting in 2024

Google's Pixel Fold phone

Google's Pixel Fold may get a sequel.

James Martin/CNET

Brands like Honor, Vivo and ZTE's Nubia already launched foldable phones in 2024, but Samsung, Google and Motorola typically release new devices later in the year. While nothing is certain until it's announced, here's what we're expecting based on rumors, leaks and previous launches.

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6: Samsung's next book-style foldable will likely get a new processor and some camera tweaks to more closely match the Galaxy S24 family. A Samsung patent has also fueled speculation that Samsung may finally add a slot for the S Pen this time around, just as it has for the Galaxy S Ultra series. But what's perhaps more interesting is the idea that Samsung could release a cheaper version of the Galaxy Z Fold, as Korean news outlet The Elec reports. A high-end Ultra version of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 could also be in the works, according to the blog Galaxy Club
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: Similar to the next Z Fold, Samsung's next flip phone will also likely get a processor refresh. But the blog Galaxy Club reports that a big camera upgrade may be in store for the Z Flip 6 that would bump up the main camera resolution from 12 to 50 megapixels. The website also predicts the Z Flip 6 will have a slightly larger battery than the Z Flip 5. Both the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Z Fold 6 will also likely come with Galaxy AI, a new suite of AI-powered software features that Samsung debuted on the Galaxy S24 series earlier this year.
  • Google Pixel Fold 2: Google may be working on a larger screen for the next Pixel Fold. Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, reports that the internal foldable display will measure 8.02 inches, representing a jump from the current Pixel Fold's 7.6-inch internal screen. The cover screen also sounds like it will be slightly larger, with Young predicting a 6.29-inch external display is in store. Otherwise, we can probably expect the Fold 2 to have Google's next-generation Tensor chip. Google is reportedly considering rebranding the next version of the Pixel Fold as the Pixel 9 Pro Fold, according to Android Authority, which would create some consistency between Google's foldable and flagship smartphone lineup. 
  • Motorola Razr Plus 2024: A leaked rendering from blog MSPowerUser indicates the next-generation Razr Plus could come in a gray color and will be available through Verizon. The report also suggests the new foldable could launch in the first half of this year, which would line up with the current Razr Plus' June launch from 2023.
  • OnePlus Open 2: There haven't been any leaks about a sequel to the OnePlus Open yet. But if OnePlus does make its foldable phone a regular part of its lineup, the second-generation model likely wouldn't arrive until October. The OnePlus Open impressed CNET's Eli Blumenthal with its sleek design, but we're hoping to see superior cameras and improved software on a future model.

Potential foldable phone trends in 2024

The new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 phone on its side show the camera lenses
Rich Peterson/CNET

It's impossible to know exactly what to expect from new foldables in 2024 until these new models arrive in the market. But based on leaks and general smartphone industry trends, it seems like phone-makers will focus more on lowering prices, improving designs and updating their devices with more powerful hardware to match today's top non-folding phones.

There's already some evidence to suggest companies may be working toward making foldable phones more affordable. ZTE, for example, launched the $600 Nubia Flip 5G at Mobile World Congress, which is cheaper than both the Galaxy S24 and iPhone 15. The Elec's report about Samsung working on a lower-priced version of the Z Fold also aligns with that direction. 

It's also possible that we'll see interesting new software-based features on this year's foldables. Samsung and Google are both focused on infusing artificial intelligence into their smartphone software in a more prominent way, as evidenced by Samsung's set of Galaxy AI features and Google's photo editing tools like Best Take and Magic Editor. 

There's an opportunity for smartphone-makers to get more creative when developing new software tricks for foldable phones. The whole appeal behind foldable phones centers on the idea of having two pocket-size screens that serve different purposes. Imagine if those screens were smarter and had interfaces that were better optimized for their respective sizes and intended use? 

Samsung and Motorola are off to a good start with the Razr Plus and Galaxy Z Flip 5, both of which have widget-centric cover screens designed to convey information at a glance -- much like a smartwatch. But I'm excited to see where companies take things next amid this renewed AI push.

Won-Joon Choi, executive vice president and head of the research and development office for Samsung's mobile experience business, previously hinted that the company would tailor future Galaxy AI software features to specific devices in the future. 

"Rather than just simply extending it, we want to come up with very specific … optimized experiences according to those form factors," he said in a January interview. "Not just [a] copy and paste but enhancing the experience for those specific form factors."

In the meantime, Samsung just began rolling out a software update to the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 to bring its current Galaxy AI features to those devices.

What we're not expecting in 2024

Motorola's rollable phone concept magically extends its screen.

GIF by David Lumb/CNET

If you're holding out for a foldable iPhone or a futuristic device with a rollable screen, don't expect either one anytime soon. 

Apple is famously late with new technologies, as was the case with large-screen phones, smartwatches and virtual reality headsets. If the company is planning to release a foldable iPhone, it likely won't do so until there's more demand for foldable phones. Devices that bend in half accounted for only about 1.4% of the global smartphone market in 2023, according to TrendForce. But as Counterpoint Research's Tom Kang points out in a blog post, foldables could be important for companies that usually target premium phone shoppers -- like Apple.

Given Apple's focus on design, I also wouldn't be surprised if the company waited until the crease problem has been solved before releasing a foldable. While designs have improved in recent years, the crease is still noticeable on both flip phones and book-style devices alike. 

Apple has developed prototype foldable displays, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, but those are primarily for testing. There's no indication that Apple plans to use such screens in an actual product yet, says the report, which is from 2021. 

Motorola and Samsung, meanwhile, are already thinking about what may be next for foldable devices. Both companies have showcased fascinating concept devices with screens that roll and slide to change in size. However, such concepts are just that for now. There's no telling when such prototypes will graduate to formal products, if ever.

But Jeff Snow, Motorola general manager of product innovation, thinks new types of designs like these could one day make phones more useful.

"I think people will look back one day and say, 'I can't believe that I was carrying around this 7-inch piece of glass in my pocket,'" he said in an interview last year. "The device is getting a little bit untenable for most people based on their mobile lives."

All told, foldables will likely take small but meaningful steps forward this year. But we'll know more as phone-makers release new products closer to the summer and fall.

Samsung Concept Flip Phone Lets You Bend It in Both Directions

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