The future of phone design: flexible screens that roll up


The biggest obstacle to widespread adoption of phones with these new designs is their high price. Samsung’s first foldable phone launched in 2019 for $ 1,980. Last year’s Z Flip cost $ 1,380, and Microsoft’s Surface Duo sells for $ 1,400. However, these technologies will begin to become a little more accessible this year, according to industry analyst Patrick Moorehead, founder and president of Moore Insights and Strategy.

“There’s a price issue. I see that coming down this year,” Moorehead says. “If some penetration pricing can be done to bring the entry level up to $ 1,000, it will start to increase some volume.” Moorehead also hopes that we will see these foldable designs at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in June. (MWC usually takes place in Barcelona in late February, but the show was pushed back to June due to the Kovid-19 epidemic.)

Another obstacle is reliability. These days most high-end single-screen phones have a durable glass display as well as an IP68 water resistance rating that protects it from accidental water submersion. Nevertheless the 2019 Galaxy Fold was devastated as dust splashes made their way inside the hinge of the folding phone, prompting a delayed launch and forcing Samsung to twist the hinge mechanism. It was an embarrassing offense, but things have come a long way in a year.

“When Lenovo came out with Yoga, it took years for the industry to get better about things like hinges,” Moorehead says. “We also saw a year-over-year change with Samsung when the second version of the fold used a brush mechanism, while the former version used a traditional hinge. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but mechanical engineering In the world, it’s huge. “

This brush mechanism flowed inside the hinge every time the phone was opened or closed, and it helped prevent debris from entering the internal components of Fold 2. Moorhead expects to display levels expected from similar rectangular slab designs in this year’s folding phone. Strait echoed Morehead’s sentiments and highlighted that mechanical engineering was playing an increasing role in smartphone design. He says, “The industry didn’t need a lot of parts in the last 10 years.” “Roleble has to have a very good mechanical feel that keeps the dirt out.”

TCL says it plans to launch a foldable or a rollable phone in 2021 and LG confirmed to Nikkei that LG Roleble will go on sale this year. There is no one to say that the traditional single screen phone experience is going away any time soon. Finally, Strait noted that people still buy flip phones today. He also says that these new display technologies are “a long-term strategy” for TCL.

let the Good Times roll

The design of LG’s rolling phone was teased briefly during its CES press conference. We hope to hear more about it later this year.

Video: LG

We should expect that the first wave of devices with these new rolling displays will not try to incorporate too many new features. Otherwise, phone manufacturers drive risky consumers who are used to traditional smartphone design.

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