It’s always a hip and happening time in the world of technology, with new styles of devices coming out every moment. In the past two years, a new trend of ‘folding phones’ has taken over the market, starting with the ‘Royole Flexpai’, followed by the reawakening of the folding phone of yore’ – Motorola’s very own Razr (yes, that’s how its spelled). Samsung has followed suit, with its very own ‘Galaxy Fold’ and then, an iteration of foldable, the ‘Z Flip’(or as some may call these, flip-dabbles !) and the recent upgrade of the Z Flip 2 5G.
These phones definitely can fold into smaller sizes, but the zeroes in those prices won’t. With not the most value-for-money price at INR 1,24,999 for the base-end Motorola Razr, it is certainly not for the masses. And not to mention, Samsung’s own Z Flip and Z fold can make a pretty deep hole in your pocket, being priced at almost 2,00,000 INR for their top-of-the-line models.
The thing is, the folding area of phones is pretty bifurcated – The Z-Flip comes in the category of the normal-sized phones folding into ultra-compact sizes. This makes it very usable, as nowadays phones are just getting bigger and bigger and bigger! The mammoth 6.9” displays can be folded into a much more tangible package that we can easily grasp in our palms. Now, here’s where the Fold and Royole FlexPai come in. They’re a normal-sized phone, that can open into a tablet, aiding versatility. Now, there’s a new category with the Surface Duo by Microsoft, but, that isn’t really a hit with the public, with its, overwhelmingly underwhelming specs of the Surface series, with 4 GB RAM and a Pentium Gold chipset straight out of 2012 in an age, where even the budget phones have a higher clock speed.
Now, the thing is that, is there any future for this? At least in India? Maybe. It’s an ambiguous answer. It’s a fair niche space, where only those who have the money and are willing to take the risk will venture. Considering that well below that price range, there are quite many high-specced phones, like the OnePlus 8, the 8 Pro, the S20 Fan Edition, the iPhone 11 Pro come at the base end of that price point. Not to mention that 2 Lakh INR in India is more than some people’s yearly wages, the cost of a year’s rent in a Tier 2 City (2BHK), and the cost of a used Honda City from 2011! I foresee that the sales of the same will remain quite low. These phones fit into a niche category like the Motorola Aura (2001), built for the celebrities and the rich (ahem) class of society. In India, most of the mobiles used to cost well below USD350 (25,000 INR) and are decently-specced with Snapdragon 730, 765G chipsets, and 8GB RAM, AMOLED Displays & much more.
So, do these foldable have a future? Certainly!
Will you see new ones often? No. It requires a lot of designing & manufacturing costs are sky-high. Also, the folding causes bending of the screen, and the internals may face long-term damage from the flips and folds.
Foldables have a future, but a restricted one for sure!