Given the lack of true breakthroughs in smartphone technology – the market has recently been characterised by marginal improvements to the features already out there – manufacturers have started racing against each other to produce and roll out a device with a folding screen.
What both experts and the wider public have been concerned about, however, is whether such advancements offer any real-world benefit or simply represent a showy marketing gimmick designed to increase sales.
With that said, the South Korean tech giant Samsung had introduced its Galaxy Fold unit in a media preview event which took place in London on 16 April 2019, garnering both scepticism and guarded enthusiasm from participants.
According to Samsung, people’s desire to use their phones for data-hungry tasks like watching images and videos online necessitates a device which offers a larger screen, yet can still easily fit inside a pocket.
The Galaxy Fold measures in at 6.3 centimetres in width and 16 centimetres in length when closed, the panels being held together by magnets. When open, the screen offers 18.5 centimetres of visual real estate, which might appeal to people on the fence about shelling out their hard-earned money to buy two devices – a smartphone and a tablet.
While the central part of the screen does have a slight crease, it is hardly noticeable, and Samsung promises that it can withstand being opened and closed as many as 200,000 times, which is plenty long for most buyers who prefer to swap out their units for newer ones every few years anyway.
In addition to the main screen, there‘s also one on the front panel, which could be advantageous when using the phone on the go – especially considering the Fold‘s ability to switch between the screens more or less seamlessly when running an app.
Last, but not least, the new unit also has as many as six cameras (three on the rear, one on the cover next to the second screen, and two more inside), a fingerprint scanner, and two batteries powerful enough to wirelessly charge another device.
The specs are overall fairly impressive, yet it remains to be seen whether a mobile device with, essentially, one key feature of attraction and a hefty price tag can survive in the already crowded marketplace.