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Issue Report: Foldable Phone

Is a foldable phone like Samsung's worth buying and will it be a game changer?

Testing. Testing.

Use cases: Test?

Foldable phones will be great for enterprise remote workers

Danny Palmer, "Foldable Phones: Why they won't change the shape of the smartphone industry," ZDNet, March 4, 2019

“Huawei thinks the killer combination is a screen which folds out to eight inches across — almost the size of a tablet — and 5G data connectivity. One of the themes of its presentation was that this can be deployed by the enterprise, allowing remote workers to conduct business much more easily, thanks to the dual screen of the foldable phone and the ability to look at more than one application at once.”

There is no great use case for a foldable phone

High price tag of foldable phone prevents mass adoption

Danny Palmer "Foldable Phones: Why they won't change the shape of the smartphone industyr," ZDNet, March 8, 2019

“With a $2,000 price tag, it’s difficult to see how these devices are going to gain a mass audience any time soon. When the price comes down, maybe that will change, but for now, the devices appear to be designed to mostly just drive conversation about the mobile industry. In that way, they’ve been a success already. But I’m still trying to bend my mind around that idea that foldable smartphones will be seeing mass adoption any time soon.”

Screen durability: Will foldable phones be sufficiently durable?

Flex screen of foldable phone are less susceptible to breaking

Giorgos Papazoglou, "Foldable Phones: The Case For and Against this Latest Trend," FieldScale, November 14, 2018

“Less prone to breaking. We all have broken our smartphone screen at some point in our lives. If the screen is able to bend without breaking, it also should be able to withstand falls without breaking, right? Exactly! With foldables, broken screens will be a much rarer incident. To be able to fold, the touchscreen module will consist of flexible materials that can absorb forces without breaking. Instead, they will just flex. To be able to flex, the touchscreen will be covered with plastic instead of glass. Plastic can be durable enough to withstand scratches and flexible enough to be folded.”

Foldable phones are likely not durable where it folds

Giorgos Papazoglou, "Foldable Phones: The Case For and Against this Latest Trend," FieldScale, November 14, 2018

“Hardware-wise, there are doubts about the touchscreen’s performance. The main area of concern is where the device folds. That is the most critical aspect of the design. Will touches register properly at that area? Will it be bright enough?  And will it be able to withstand the wear that comes with folding/unfolding actions?”

Foldable phones' plastic screens are not high quality

Brian Barrett, "Want a foldable phone? Hold out for real glass," Wired, March 3, 2019

“the early folding phone manufacturers are leaning on plastic polymers. Which makes sense in that the materials not only can bend as far as you’d need, they can do so repeatedly; Samsung claims its Infinity Flex Display can withstand hundreds of thousands of openings and closings. “The polymer is better at flexibility; it’s easier to bend at the same thickness,” says John Mauro, a professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State University who had previously spent 18 years at Corning. But plastic is also, as you may by now have guessed, worse at all kinds of things. It’s much less hard than glass, which makes it easier to scratch and ding up. And unlike glass, plastic will crease over time, leaving you with a large unfolding display, sure, but one bisected with an unsightly wrinkle.”

Footprint: Is the bigger screen size worth the larger footprint?

Foldable phones offer bigger screens with same footprint

Giorgos Papazoglou, "Foldable Phones: The Case for And Against this Latest Trend," Market Trends, November 14, 2018

“The first obvious advantage that foldable phones will have over traditional smartphones has to do with screen real estate. When smartphones got mature enough, we started consuming content we normally would on our computers, on them. Smartphone manufacturers adapted to this behavior by providing options with bigger screen sizes. Consumers loved this trend. In fact, they loved it so much that screen size has almost doubled over the past 10 years. For example when first introduced, the iPhone 3GS featured a 3.5” screen in 2009, while the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max come in 5.8” and 6.5” respectively (2018). But this trend comes with a drawback. Even though customers love big screen sizes, they hate large devices. That’s why manufacturers tried reducing the bezels so that they could cram bigger screen sizes in the same device footprint. Bezel-less is the current trend; foldable could be the future. Foldable screens give the ability to essentially double the screen size, keeping the same footprint!”

Productivity: Will they add to your productivity?

Foldable phones will improve productivity and multitasking

Giorgos Papazoglou, "Foldable Phones: The Case for and Against this Latest Trend," Market Trends, November 14, 2018

“Keep it folded in your pocket and it’s a smartphone. You can take photos, get calls, browse the internet and do everything you normally would on your smartphone. Unfold it and you have a tablet! You can be more productive in a tablet. Foldable phones will double as tablets (there’s even a term for that: phablets). Phablets can be a precious productivity tool, especially if you are constantly on the go.”

Foldable phones aren't really productivity replacements for computers / tablets

"Why you should be excited for foldable phones - and why you shouldn't," TNW, April 18, 2019

“Foldables might be capable of multi-tasking, but they may not be great for productivity. As things stand, the larger displays on these devices appear to be good for watching videos and reading, but they’re not replacing your tablet or laptop’s ability to help you get some real work done. If you’ve got an iPad with a keyboard cover, for example, you could realistically leave your laptop at home, and write, create presentations, and work on spreadsheets fairly efficiently. The foldables we’ve seen thus far aren’t designed for this, and as such, their limited utility may make it hard for some people to justify their high prices.”

Look and feel: Will the look and feel be strong?

Plastic screen to make phone foldable will look/feel cheap

Giorgos Papazoglou, "Foldable Phones: The Case For and Against this Latest Trend," Market Trends, November 14, 2018

“The screen cover on foldables will most likely be made of plastic, since glass can’t bend as easily as plastic. This might displease some potential buyers: if you spend more than $1,400 on a phone, you would expect a premium feel and build. Plastic feels cheaper and is currently used in low-end phones.”

Price: Is the price just right or too much?

The price for foldable phones is too high

"Why you should be excited for foldable phones — and why you shoudn’t," TNW, April 18, 2019

“For the next year or two, these devices are going to cost you a pretty penny; Royole’s rough-around-the-edges Flexpai costs something like $1,300, and Samsung wants $1,980 for its Galaxy Fold. At those price points, they’ll likely only appeal to early adopters who are truly excited about the technology, and fall out of reach for folks who don’t want to spend what they would on a high-end laptop.”

Cases: Can foldable phones accommodate cases?

Foldable phones and modern phones need not accommodate cases

Foldable phones do not accommodate protective cases well