Samsung's first-gen folding phone was rough around the edges, but with each new device comes plenty of refinement, proving the tech is here to stay. It's no secret that the company is working on follow-ups to last year's Galaxy Z lineup, and we might be looking at a preview of what's to come. As part of Display Week 2021, Samsung Display unveiled some new OLED panels today that could hint at the future of smartphones.
A handful of renders and what is claimed to be a promotional video for Samsung's upcoming foldables have been circulating today, ostensibly showing off the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3. While we remain a little skeptical and cannot corroborate the details with our own sources, a handful of known leakers are convinced, and a few key details do jibe with what we would expect. Still, some design details are a little unusual, so take the news with an appropriate (if not massive) dose of salt.
Durability usually isn't the first thing that comes to mind when we think of folding phones — at least, not in a positive context. The bleeding edge form factor makes use of moving parts like hinges, with non-IP-rated gaps between parts and fragile plastic or "polymer" display components. So it's pretty surprising to see the nearly $3,000 Huawei Mate X2survive JerryRigEverything's backward bend test seemingly without any damage at all.
Since their inception, durability has been a pressing issue for foldable devices, as evidenced by the launch problems that plagued the original Galaxy Fold. The Z Flip and Z Fold2 represented a significant leap in build quality, refining the design and greatly improving the hinge mechanism. But even with those changes, there was still the conspicuous absence of any IP rating; it's much harder to waterproof something with moving parts, after all. Thankfully, Samsung may have found a way to bring some level of ingress protection to the upcoming Z Flip2 and Z Fold3.
If you didn't know Samsung's working on a tablet with a display that folds not once, but twice, count yourself informed. Following initial reporting, further details are unfolding about the product build and timeline.
Following Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, and Co., Xiaomi has finally joined the foldable club. During the second part of its annual mega event, the company introduced the Mi Mix Fold, its very first folding phone. The manufacturer went with a more traditional design (if you can call it that already) first established by the Galaxy Fold, with a big 4:3 screen on the inside and a smaller 27:9 display on the outside for use like a regular smartphone.
You may have already heard whispers about a shortage of semiconductors affecting the technology and automotive sectors, but it looks like the worst is yet to come. According to Samsung CEO DJ Koh, this "serious imbalance in supply" could lead to some tough decisions in the next business quarter. Chief among those is the call to scrap this year's Galaxy Note flagship.
Huawei announced its next-gen foldable, the Mate X2, in China today. The phone features an inward-folding design, in stark contrast to the original Mate X, whose display wrapped around it. In other words, it finally adopts the design approach that Samsung has stuck with since the original Galaxy Fold — a wise decision given how fragile flexible panels are. What may prove to be quite a bit less wise, though, is how much Huawei wants you to pay for its phone.
Hoping to upgrade to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone next year? If not, you may be formulating plans after you hear about how the company is prioritizing the development of its future slabs: mobile chief TM Roh has hinted at cheaper foldables and, perhaps, S Pens across more phones.
Samsung released the Galaxy Z Fold2 a while back, packed with a slew of features that make it significantly better than the company's first attempt at a foldable phone. But the company hasn't forgotten about the first-gen Fold just yet. It's inheriting a few Z Fold2 capabilities via a firmware update that's now starting to roll out in the US.