Foldable smartphones are all the rage and we are only going to see more of them in the next couple years. Samsung showed the world its idea of a foldable smartphone with the Galaxy Fold and Huawei had a different take on the foldable smartphone with its Huawei Mate X.
While the Samsung Galaxy Fold, folds inward to convert into a handheld smartphone with a smaller outer display, the Huawei Mate X folds outward to transform into a tablet. Now if we look at the definition of a tablet, a tablet is any smart device that has a display that's bigger than 7-inches.
In the earlier years, a phone with a 6-inch display was classified as a phablet, which is a portmanteau of the words 'phone' and 'tablet'. But we're increasingly seeing smartphone manufacturers cramming bigger displays in smaller frames, thanks to 18:9 and 19:9 aspect ratios, bezel-less display and so on and so forth. But in my honest opinion, I see the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X as essentially foldable tablets and not necessarily a foldable phone. Or perhaps, phones that transform into a tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Fold is a good attempt
The Galaxy Fold is a good attempt at a foldable smartphone, but it's the primary 7.3-inch display that you are greeted to when you open or unfold the device that is the main takeaway of the phone. In simpler terms, the Galaxy Fold works and looks best in it's unfolded 'tablet' form. The Galaxy Fold in it's folded position has just a fancy looking exterior with a smallish 4.7-inch display with thick bezels all around.
It's a similar case with the Huawei Mate X too. Only here, you open the phone outward to go to the 'tablet mode.'
Motorola's new foldable Razr
Now, what could be called a real foldable phone is the recently launched Motorola Razr. The Razr tries to retain the iconic Razr design of yore, but with a truly foldable screen. It doesn't transform into a tablet, but rather into a seamless, mono-screen 6.2-inch display smartphone when you open it. It does have a secondary display on the outside which is just 2.7 inches diagonally. Reminiscent of the original Razr.
And although Motorola is the first to launch a foldable phone with a clamshell, classic flip-phone design, other manufacturers including Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei are also said to be working on similar designs.
Galaxy Fold 2 will be a foldable clamshell
In fact, there are rumours that the Galaxy Fold 2 could come with a foldable, flip-phone form factor. Recently, some renders of the phone were also leaked on the internet. So, the launch seems imminent.
And although, phones that can transform into tablets when folded or unfolded seem to be very practical and innovative. But this could kill the tablet market in the coming future. We could stretch out imagination to the point of seeing Apple launching a foldable iPhone that unfolds to reveal an iPad like tablet.
But that's totally up to Apple if they want to do something like that. While the topic of whether you want a foldable tablet or a foldable smartphone is pretty much subjective – some may prefer a Galaxy Fold while some may prefer a Motorola Razr – but the prospect of foldable displays will bring in a lot of innovation in the smartphone world. And the future for foldable phones, or tablets for that sake, looks promising indeed.