Folding smartphones are finally becoming a reality after years of research and development with exorbitant costs. Here’s what we could see at the MWC 2019 in Barcelona for this new form factor.
The foldable smartphone was one of the hot topics of this MWC 2019 which is nearing completion. Very scenic and particularly complex to make, they took years before they could be presented in forms very close to those that will then be in the hands of users.
After years of research and development with billionaire expenses, the companies are therefore ready to bring this new form factor to the market. The problem of encapsulation in plastic instead of glass and the fact that it was an organic panel (AMOLED / OLED) easily perishable in contact with the air has certainly expanded the launch times of folding smartphones. Even having to rethink motherboards, batteries, contacts, and wiring was a challenging challenge for engineers.
Table Of Contents Summary
- 1 We propose below a roundup of products that we could see at MWC 2019.
- 2 Huawei Mate X
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Fold
- 4 Royole FlexPai
- 5 Energizer Power Max 8100S
- 6 More news on folding smartphones
- 6.1 Those that we have mentioned are not the only models that we will see in the near future of course. For example, even TCL (a company that makes smartphones for Alcatel and BlackBerry) will come with a foldable smartphone.
We propose below a roundup of products that we could see at MWC 2019.
Huawei Mate X
One of the models that made the most noise was Huawei Mate X, which was presented in the days before the official opening of the Mobile World Congress. Among the foldable smartphones is one of those closest to the real presentation to the public although there are still some passages.
According to the official announcement, this model should reach “mid-2019” but considering the final validation tests and the necessary certifications. Huawei Mate X could be on sale for IFA 2019 (September) or when the Mate range will be presented in October.
Recall that Huawei Mate X has a 6.6 “screen with a ratio of 19.5: 9 and resolution 2480×1148 pixels when closed. In the back, in this case, the viewable area is from 6.38″ with a ratio of 25: 9 and resolution of 2480×892 pixels. Finally, when opened, it reveals an 8 ” screen and a ratio of 8: 7.
The choice of the Chinese manufacturer was to integrate two batteries for a total of 4500 mAh with support for charging 55W. There are also three cameras made in collaboration with Leica as well as a Kirin 980 SoC and a 5G Balong 5000 modem with two SIM support. The price is instead set at € 2299.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
In the challenge to folding smartphones could not miss the most important South Korean manufacturer that presented the Samsung Galaxy Fold during the launch of Galaxy S10. Also, in this case, it is a pre-production unit not yet definitive, even if you notice the differences with the model of Huawei.
In fact, in this case, the screen does not bend outwards but towards the inside thus creating a smaller radius and not a few development problems. Many design differences with a 7.3 ” Infinity Flex Display that could fold and there was a need to create a new hinge with gears to avoid panel problems.
To avoid complications, the fingerprint reader of Samsung Galaxy Fold is on the side and not integrated into the display. As it was possible to notice in the official images. We find an area where sensors and internal cameras for selfies are grouped together. Many users did not like this choice, but technically it is still too early to have a flexible panel with holes or an integrated camera below the display.
Because of the structure of this folding smartphone. Samsung has chosen to integrate a second “service” screen outside. It is a solution that allows you to answer calls and messages or perform the simplest operations without having to open the smartphone.
At the hardware level, we find as many as 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage space to give the user who will spend all that money the best of technology. According to reports, it will not be a 5G model but this may not be a problem at present.
The battery has a capacity of 4380 mAh and supports wireless charging and fast allowing you to always have available a good supply of energy to use the Galaxy Fold. By making only a few foldable smartphones. Samsung will not sell this model in many physical stores but only in selected stores at a price that should be close to 2000 euros.
Royole FlexPai was the first exponent among commercial folding smartphones to see the light. In fact, already at CES 2019, it was possible to touch it and test its characteristics and design, not with some perplexity.
Also at MWC 2019, Royole FlexPai was available for the hands of journalists and people present at the Spanish fair. Compared to the Samsung and Huawei models, we notice a less refined design that is still under development with regards to the user interface. Despite everything, it could still be one of the products that will open the way to this kind of products.
The technical characteristics of Royole FlexPai report a screen with a diagonal of 7.8 ” and a ratio of 4: 3 (resolution of 1920 x 1440 pixels) peculiarity is that it can be folded so that there are three faces of 16: 9 and 810×1440 pixels, 18: 9 and 720×1440 pixels and 21: 6 and 390×1440 pixels.
From a performance point of view, Royole FlexPai has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 with 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB and 256 GB of storage space. The cameras have a resolution of 16 MPixel and 20 MPixel. Prices instead will go from 1400 euros (128 GB) and 1539 euros (256 GB).
Energizer Power Max 8100S
Among the other lesser-known folding smartphones was also the prototype of the Energizer Power Max 8100S that will bend inside as for the model of Samsung. Always according to what we saw with the mockup, there will also be an external service screen that will allow you to use the smartphone as it has been done until now.
In the back area of Energizer Power Max 8100S, there will be two 48 MPixel and 12 MPixel cameras while the selfie camera will have a resolution of 24 MPixel. The external screen is 6 “with a ratio of 18: 9 (without notch) while the flexible one is 8.1” with a ratio of 4: 3 with FHD resolution.
The information is still scarce for this model but it should arrive in a commercial version for the end of the current year with even a battery with a capacity of 10 Ah. Inside Energizer Power Max 8100S there will be Snapdragon 855 coupled to 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage space. The price of this model is still unknown.
More news on folding smartphones
Those that we have mentioned are not the only models that we will see in the near future of course. For example, even TCL (a company that makes smartphones for Alcatel and BlackBerry) will come with a foldable smartphone.
During an interview, we made at MWC 2019. The CEO of Alcatel Italia explained to us how folding smartphones will be one of the most important innovations of the coming years, but that brands like Alcatel will not be among the first to introduce them.
Currently, creating that kind of products is still very complicated and expensive and only some companies can afford it (in terms of disbursement in research and development but also as the positioning of the brand). Sooner or later surely also realities like Sony, LG, OnePlus and others (Xiaomi showed a prototype long ago) will arrive with their “foldable” products, but we must wait for at least 2020 if not 2021 to see really functional and functional products, maybe just when Apple arrives with a foldable iPhone.