Folding mobiles: what's already in stores and what's to come

huawei mate x folding phones-2

Folding phones around here. Folding mobiles over there. The Mobile World Congress was marked by the presentation of a multitude of mobile phones with flexible screens; In the article we just linked, we made a list of all of them.

Almost nine months later, the truth is that the Samsung Galaxy Fold is the only phone that has hit the market. We are just waiting for the next one to arrive. The Huawei Mate X. What is to come in 2020? Will we have a business model beyond the Galaxy Fold?

Samsung Galaxy Fold and Royole FlexPai: the only ones to buy in 2019

First it was Royole, although there is no support in Spain nor is it in physical stores in our country. Then the Samsung one came out. Today the only models that can be found on the market are the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Royole FlexPai. While the first starts from a price of 2,020 euros, the FlexPai of the Chinese company can be purchased (on AliExpress) for a value of 1,388 euros .

Samsung filters the new design design of the Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Despite the differences in price, the specifications of each of the proposals do not differ much: Snapdragon 855 processor, screen with AMOLED technology in two types of format and memory capacities ranging from 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage internal Galaxy Fold up to 6 and 256 GB of the FlexPai model.

It should be noted, however, that the Royole phone is aimed at application developers and programmers . The Galaxy Fold, for its part, can be purchased anywhere in Spain in any of the enabled stores.

What's to come: Motorola RAZR, Huawei Mate X and Huawei Mate Xs

On October 18 Motorola mentioned all the media in an event that will take place on November 13 and that according to the company itself will mean the "reinvention of an icon. The latest rumors ensure that we would find ourselves before the Motorola RAZR, the company's first folding phone .

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Days later Huawei confirmed through an event in China that the Mate Xs would be the name of the new version of its foldable , foldable that today can already be purchased in the Asian country. The presentation of the first will not be effective until 2020, while the arrival of the Mate X to the rest of the markets is imminent, according to sources close to the company.

Mid-November or early December are some of the dates that are being considered, although at the moment there is no distribution date. In any case, the official sale price will be 2,300 euros , about 280 euros more expensive than the Galaxy Fold.

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Supposed folding mobile from Motorola and Lenovo.

Little is known about the Motorola phone so far. Some rumors claim that it will have a design based on the original Motorola V3, with a format that breaks with current design lines: horizontal instead of vertical. With this, the phone would occupy half that of a conventional phone and would achieve a screen ratio that would exceed that of the phones sold today.

Xiaomi as a possible turning point

Weeks ago, Xiaomi surprised the world with the Xiaomi Mi MIX Alpha, a smartphone halfway between folding phones and conventional phones.

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Huawei Mi MIX Alpha.

Unlike the original concept of folding mobile, the MIX Alpha has a fixed flexible panel , which solves possible screen problems when folding the device on itself at a stroke.

The bad news is that the phone will limit its sales to a certain number of units distributed in China in order to test the market. However, the company itself has confirmed that it is already working on the design of a new flexible mobile phone that will clearly be the cheapest phone on the market.

Xiaomi Dual Flex or Xiaomi Mi MIX Flex are two of the names that the company shuffles. Unfortunately, the launch of its first folding is not expected until the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021 , when it is assumed that the manufacturing costs of flexible screens will be cheaper compared to 2019.

The screen and practicality: the problem that everyone faces

Neither Samsung, nor FlexPai, nor Huawei have been able to find the solution to the common problem that all flexible screen phones share: durability . The first units of the Galaxy Fold were a complete fiasco, and several months later the problems with the screen do not seem to have ended.

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Pressure gaps in the Galaxy Fold screen protector.

As for the Huawei model, the company itself confirmed that it was working on the design of the terminal to improve the resistance of the screen, a screen that we had the opportunity to test at the MWC this year and that had quite a few shortcomings at the resistance level to pressure . The Royole FlexPai is not capable of solving these types of problems either, and there is nothing to suggest that this problem will be solved during the next year.

Is it time to buy folding mobiles? Without a doubt, no. Added to the problems of the screen is the lack of practicality when it comes to software implementation.

It is true that the Galaxy Fold has features such as  Split Screen to use several applications at the same time or Continuity to switch between the tablet format and the phone format, although the size and format of the secondary screen is still a limitation today. today.

The design is another aspect of this type of phone to improve, since most devices are clumsy in the hand and too heavy to carry in the pocket. It remains to be seen how these types of devices develop over the next few years, as the first iPhone did, back in 2007. Will this be the future of mobile technology, or on the contrary, another attempt by the industry to relaunch concepts hackneyed?