Back in the early 2000s, smartphone designs were awesome in every way possible but soon after the invention of the iPhone, the game changed and smartphones have all looked boring ever since.
The same flat form factor with a big screen but not until LG which is known for constantly experimenting with smartphone designs came about the swivel LG Wing many years later.
Although LG will be missed in the smartphone market, the current revolution is the foldable form factor which is certainly the death of mid-sized tablets.
Brands such as Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, TCL, Motorola, and Honor have all been working on foldable smartphones with Samsung currently championing the market with its Galaxy Z series.
Huawei recently announced its P50 Pocket which was modeled after the Galaxy Z Flip 3 or the Motorola Razr Fold.
Huawei’s foldable devices due to being limited are currently the most expensive on the market. While they are great in terms of hardware specifications, the fact that they run the company’s HarmonyOS makes these devices questionable in international smartphone markets.
Take the recently-announced P50 Pocket as an example, the device comes with a CNY8,988 price tag (US$1,410). Then there is the normal Huawei Mate X2 with its nearly US$3,000 price tag.
Compare that with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 which has a price cut recently when it was announced to just US$1,800 while the smaller Galaxy Z Flip 3 costs about US$999.
Honor on the other hand recently teased its concept foldable smartphone as well called the Honor Magic V.
Motorola on the other hand is working hard to rejuvenate its Moto Razr Fold smartphone even though the company has sort of left the so-called “Premium” flagship for affordable devices.
So as a matter of fact, it won’t be surprising if we start seeing other brands like Apple, Google, and OnePlus releasing their own foldable smartphones. That alone will automatically drive down the price point.
Some market analysis made by IDC has it that the global shipment of smartphones will grow to 1.35 billion units in 2022 and some of the important things that will surely win over new customers to OEMs include the devices’ form factor, 5G capability, high-refresh screen, and better camera system.
Apple has reportedly considered the category, but there are no foldable iPhones imminent.
“Apple and Chinese smartphone companies Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo may be leading beneficiaries in an expanding mobile-device market, which our analysis suggests may climb 5 per cent to about US$520 billion in sales in 2022,” said Woo Jin Ho, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “We believe the industry could recover most of the delayed shipments and sales from supply bottlenecks by the second half of 2022, helped by deeper 5G penetration, especially among mid-tier devices.”
One of the main reasons why Samsung is still the dominant force in the foldable smartphone market is due to the fact that other competitors aren’t as solid as them.
OPPO’s newest Find N foldable smartphone is launched in China only. Huawei has been banned from using a Google-licensed Android OS as well as being unable to release 5G-capable smartphones since it depends on Qualcomm for its Snapdragon chipset.
However, Honor and Motorola may be the two daring forces that can shake the market if they can release better products at a competitive price point next year.
However, China is still the largest smartphone market in the world so even if these Chinese smartphone makers are targeting their local markets only with their foldable devices, they are still going to do well financially.