It's a conversation piece.
Anytime you ever pulled that on out of your pocket, it's gonna be instant
like, 'whoa, like, that's cool.'
Remember how satisfying it was to flick your Razr phone open or how
pocketable it was?
Well, the best assets from flip phones are making a comeback in
smartphones.I do want it to fold more than once.
Samsung brought folding phones to the U.S.
in2019 with the Galaxy Fold and Motorola followed suit with its 2020 Razr.
Samsung now has a second folding phone in its lineup: The Galaxy Z Flip.
They allow you to take a device that would normally be big, like, say, your
iPhone – you've complain that the screen is getting too big – and close
that into a smaller device that should theoretically be more pocketable.
Companies like Royole, Huawei andXiaomi all have folding smartphones
available or in the pipeline.
And even Apple is speculated to have one in the works.
But why? Why has the smartphone industry brought this form factor back
from the dead?The reasons that manufacturers are bringing out folding
phones aren't necessarily because consumers are saying, 'I want these and I
need these.'And at a price point of well over$1000 with few models holding
up to durability tests, who are these phones really for?
After 10 years of rectangle phone, it's kind of like, 'whoa, there's
something new out there.'It's not for, say, your mom or your dad or just
some regular Joe.
Folding phones are ridiculously profitable right now.
There was a lot of satisfaction to folding phones.
They were compact and fun to use.
But since we've gravitated to larger, non-flip phones, our options have
been more or less these thin, glass and metal rectangles.
On one hand, consumers have issues that they see that smartphones are just
too big when they want to carry around their pockets, but when they open
them up, they enjoy a larger smartphone.
And then the folks who already are comfortable with a larger smartphone,
they want to be able to do more on these smartphones by unfolding them to
turn them into a tablet.
That could be one of the reasons why the form factor is making a return.
But to get to where we are today with folding smartphones, two
technologies had to be fine-tuned: the hinge and the flexible OLED display.
The Kyocera Echo gave users the first look at a commercially available,
dual-screen smartphone in 2011.
It used a patented pivot hinge to lift the top screen up and away from the
bottom screen, creating a device that looked like a really, really small
tablet. The phone was not well liked by reviewers, but it paved the way for
companies to create innovative hinges, which is a key component in folding
smartphones.Normally with a hinge, especially back in the early 2000s,
late 90s, you didn't really have to worry about much except for maybe
keeping the phone closed and not getting anything in it.
Today you have to worry about a lot more.
Then in 2013, Samsung showed off its Youm concept – a flexible OLED display
that was plastic instead of glass.
LCD has so many different layers attached to it and some of them can't be
bent, they can't be flexible.
But with OLED displays, as long as the little diodes inside of the screen
are airtight, you can put them in, you know, anything you want as long as,
you know, the connections are broken inside.
The company later used this technology in its Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone,
curving the OLED display around the corner of the screen.
This is the technology it then developed into its folding smartphones.
The number one most expensive technology on this entire device is the
foldable displays, and as companies like Samsung get better at
manufacturing them and manufacturing them at lower cost, they can then take
of lower costs to the consumers.
Thanks to these advancements, there are many folding phones on the market
today. The Royole Flex Pai was technically the first folding smartphone to
hit the consumer market.
But the Samsung Galaxy Fold was the phone that stole the show.
And it proved that you can actually have foldable screens that are out
there in the market. On the other hand, I didn't like the size of it.
It felt weird, like a square, so it was really useful for me, although it
has a really solid following among enthusiasts.
Motorola also became a contender with its revitalized Razr phone.
That phone in particular drew excitement, thanks in part to nostalgia.
If you look at my last video, like, you know, I did the same durability
test I always do, but now that video has, like, 7 million views.
Now Samsung has its second folding smartphone – The Galaxy Z Flip – which
the company touted as the first phone with bendable glass.
Every time you fold it, you're not just spending glass, you're bending the
laws of physics.
It wasn't even close to that.
It was almost the same exact screen that they had on their previous
version. So, I mean, that part was a little bit annoying.
See those two technologies, the hinges and the flexible screens that were
so crucial in the popularization of folding phones are also the two things
that screw up the most.
My tests are kind of, you know, they're extreme and they kind of like show
the potential damages and like point out what people should be aware of.
And like with the screen that's off, like, you know, you do have to take
care of it more than your average phone.
Plastic or otherwise 'soft screens' along with dust prone hinges have
wreaked havoc on these phones.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold was riddled with display issues when it was
released.And our first one broke, for example, and we weren't really sure
if a second one would, even after our testing period after about a week or
so.The company claimed users were removing the protective layer on top of
the screen, which destroys the delicate OLED underneath.
Samsung had to pause production, delay the release date, and make some
changes to the phone.
When the updated phone was released, it was better, but still delicate.
But I had no problems, right?
But four or five very influential people did, which I respect that they
did, but I didn't have those issues.
The Motorola Razr revealed a new hinge that looped the flexible outlet
inside the hinge, instead of creating a crease like other folding
smartphones. But the hinge ran into some trouble when Zach Nelson tested
its endurance against dust and debris.
The screen has not broken yet, but the sound of the hinge is more like
nails on a chalkboard at this point and not as much buttery smoothness like
it was before.The only weak point would be, you know, getting dust inside
that hinge and then also softness of the screen.
But other then that, like, it's a really cool.
But like Zack said, his tests are extreme.
I'm sorry, I am not going to scratch my keys or my coins or that open razor
blade that I keep in my purse or my pocket on this phone.
And then there's the hefty cost to consider, at least right now.
The Galaxy Fold costs$1980.
The Motorola Razr costs one hundred $1500.
And the Galaxy Z Flip costs $1380.
You know, throughout history, people buy flashy cars just because they're
flashy. And so now there's flashy phones and you buy them just because
they're cool and flashy.
So we've developed the technology.
We've prototyped it and developed it into a pretty extensive lineup of
phones available to consumers.
Now what?We've gotten into a situation where smartphones, aside from maybe
the photography adders that have been put in there, aren't very exciting.
Initially, I was like, 'well, why are they kind of making folding phones?'
But then as I've gotten into it, like it's actually a really cool form
factor. And the more I see them, the more I kind of want one.
With decreasing global smartphone shipments, it's very likely these
companies are trying to spice up the market.
These shipments grew steadily from 2009 to 2016, but since then, shipments
have been steadily declining.
You could say you want to be a lot of excitement about this device.
It is a real radical new design against the backdrop of the smartphone
market, where overall growth has really ground to a halt.
For Samsung, it's the hype that's the real payoff, not the profits.
Samsung and Motorola have not released sales figures for their folding
phones, but the Galaxy Fold was expected to sell 400,000 to 500,000 units
When compared to JP Morgan's iPhone 11 shipment forecast of184 million
units in the same year, Samsung's Fold is not a financial contender.
But Moorehead says these folding phones are still profitable because they
cost more than flagship phones.
If I look at the bill of materials, even though I said the folding display
is the most expensive device, these companies are making a killing.
And I think that's good for the industry because it's really hard to make
profits on smartphones.
Even Apple filed patents for some folding technology, but nothing has been
announced yet. If Apple did hit the market with a folding phone, it could
change the trajectory of the folding phone future.
I think if it introduced the foldable display and it was ready and did a
good job at it, it might help boost the adoption of foldable products
simply because it's Apple and it has a lot of customers.
Almost 40 percent of Galaxy Fold customers were ex-iPhone customers.
And that's really hard to do.
But there were some important changes that need to be made first.
First, I think they need to be thinner so that when you fold them down,
they're nice and thin in your pocket and not bulky.
Second, the price needs to come down and I think that will eventually
happen as manufacturing ramps up and as they're able to perfect the
process. And third, I think they need to become more durable.
I'm also not just looking at what's in front of my face.
I'm looking at what it could become and what are the current challenges
today.When the iPhone was released in 2007, it changed the world.
Smartphones were to become almost ubiquitous 10 years later.
When Apple dropped the headphone jack, it changed the way we connect to our
phones. Wireless headphones are now everywhere.
When phone companies ditched physical buttons on smartphones, it changed
the form factor we were used to.
Now you'd be hard pressed to find a flagship phone that has a physical
button on its front. But it's hard to see a future where folding phones are
the norm, at least with what we're seeing right now.
I think the Galaxy Z Flip, even though it's expensive, is as close to there
as we are right now, but we're not there-there yet.
I absolutely don't believe this is a fad.
This is a trend.
And to me, it's very natural.
I don't think it's a fad. I think it's going to stick around for awhile.