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COMMENT: Are Foldable Smartphones Already Dead Like 3D ?

Is Samsung along with several other brands suddenly realising that there may not be a global market for foldable smartphones.

At IFA this week Samsung staff quietly scribbled down the comments of journalists as they reviewed the new Samsung Fold V2 with questions now being raised as to whether the concept of a foldout smartphone is going to go the same way as 3D TV which is now dead in the water after billions were invested in the technology only for it to fall flat after consumers rejected the concept.

At IFA 2019, companies like LG who already have a fold out 5G smartphone Huawei and TCL failed to spruik their fold out offerings leaving the market to Samsung.

While there has been a lot of hype around the Samsung Fold and at Mobile World Congress the Huawei Mate it appears that there is a serious lack of excitment by carriers and retailers to stock foldable smartphones with one big European carrier executive telling ChannelNews “We are more than happy to let some other carrier lead the way”.

The V50 ThinQ Dual Screen, which the company says has sold 500,000 units since its April launch is a simple dual screen device that works.

This is a “The Proven Form Factor” that I believe has more chance of success than the Samsung Fold or the Mate X which needs big hands to operate.

TCL who is launching a neat $500 smartphone in Australia stayed well away from spruiking a foldable device when launching their new TCL Plex smartphone.

As an established TV maker, the Chinese company has plenty of experience in making experimental screens, and it’s shown off foldable prototypes at every major event since the beginning of the year.

At IFA, we saw TCL’s new Butterfly hinge design where the screen can fold inwards without leaving a gap between the two sides unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which leaves a noticeable space between the two halves of the folded display.

Chief marketing officer Stefan Streit told ChannelNews that the concept of a foldable smartphone is still a “work in progress”.

“We want to do it right and take things step-by-step” he said.

As for Huawei they will spruik anything just to stay relevant in the smartphone market.

CEO Richard Yu told reporters in Berlin that the company is close to launching their Mate X device the only problem is that it may have to find an operating system other than the new Android 10.

He now claims that Huawei has postponed retail availability to give developers time to optimize their apps for the bigger screen.

Unlike the Samsung Fold that is getting lukewarm reviews the Mate X has not been given to reviewers for real-world testing.

Yu said he himself has been using his Mate X for seven months now.

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