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Folding smartphones: future or bubble?

Just a month ago I was wondering if 2022 will be the year of folding smartphones , and that is this year we will see news from Honor, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Samsung and probably more. However, if the rumor that we told you yesterday is confirmed, it is possible that Apple is still thinking whether or not to jump into that pool with its long-awaited folding iPhone. And it is that, according to this rumor, in Cupertino they would have doubts about whether folding smartphones are a passing fad or, on the contrary, they have come to stay.

You don’t have to look far to find more opinions in this regard. In the same comments on the news about the folding iPhone that we published yesterday, we can find the opinion of a reader who is also quite skeptical about the folding ones. And if we take a look around the Internet, we will find quite a few similar opinions, which indicate that folding smartphones are expensive, fragile and not very useful . What about each of those points?

Regarding the first, the price, I don’t think anyone dares to argue that point. Today folding smartphones are too expensive for most . And yes, it is understandable, since we are talking about quite a novel technology, but of course, such a high entry level can play very against its popularization, which in turn compromises its presence in the market in the medium term. , precisely the supposed fear of Apple.

Folding smartphones: future or bubble?

Now, as we already told you a few weeks ago, during 2022 we could witness the decrease in said prices , so that the prices of some models can be compared to those of the flagship of these trademarks . We are not talking about a great discount, and at least in the first instance it would only affect certain models, but we must not forget that all the folding smartphone proposals are high-end terminals, so at this first moment, the prices would be equal.

With regard to its fragility, it is true that the manufacturers affirm that they have subjected their folding smartphones to a multitude of tests, many of them dedicated to verifying the performance of the hinge and the reliability of the screen, and I am convinced that it really is, and that laboratory tests point to excellent results. However, it is true that we still do not have feedback from users who have been using them for a long time . Thus, we will still have to wait a while to confirm that they really are as resistant and reliable as their manufacturers claim.

And we come to the third point: folding smartphones are not very useful, and it is the point with which I disagree the most . If we review the history of mobile telephony from its origins to the present time, we see that there has been a most striking movement. At first they were simply huge. Over the years their size was normalizing, and there were even some years in which the desire to make them smaller and smaller could go a bit far.

However, then smartphones arrived, and because their usefulness depended on the size of the screen, this process was reversed, mobiles began to be bigger again . Not thicker, yes, but its width and height began to regain the proportions of yesteryear, when they seemed enormous to us. As an example, a few years ago I took a photo with the first mobile I had, a Motorola 6300 and, around 20 years later, the one I had just bought, an iPhone 6S Plus, judge for yourself:

Folding smartphones: future or bubble?

Personally I like large phones , because I like large screens, but I know of a thousand and one cases in which these current sizes are not quite comfortable, and it is in this context that folding smartphones can be a perfect fit. That the size of the screen is no longer the one that determines the size of the device means breaking a barrier that a few years ago would have seemed unthinkable to us, and that however is now (relatively) within our reach.

And this is just the beginning. If folding smartphones finally become popular, we could see another of the predictions made by Nicholas Negroponte come true in Being Digital, back in the 90s. Screens, in various formats, have come to stay, at least in the short and medium term, and the option that these can be the size of a tablet, but when carrying them only occupy the size of a smartphone, seems like a great advance.

Thus, personally I am optimistic, but I also understand the opinions against it and, what’s more, I find it very interesting to listen to them, and I do not resist at all to change my mind, What do you think? Do you see a future for folding smartphones or, on the contrary, do you think they are a passing fad that will not last? What do you think are its strengths, and its weaknesses?

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