The hot leaflet summer is here and there’s good reason to get excited

The hot leaflet summer is here and there's good reason to get excited

Maybe you’ve seen one at the coffee shop, sitting conspicuously on a table in an L-shaped position. Maybe you’ve seen one on the subway, in tablet mode, held by someone who’s trying not to drop their $100 gadget. 1800. They’re out there in the wild, but foldable phones are still a rare sight. That may be about to change because we’re moving in and I’m making an official call in this hot summer folding.

They’ve been on the market for years, but there are a ton of good reasons why leaflets haven’t caught on in the mainstream, starting with the fact that they’re as expensive as anything. There were some too True nasty issues with durability to start with, and while the build quality is much better now, there’s still a question mark about how a foldable phone will hold up for four or five years. And then there’s the simple math: There’s practically a company selling foldable phones in the US right now. Samsung has been running more or less unopposed for the last few years, with no real competition to push it to innovate.

That is why the beginning of the hot folding summer is so exciting. For the first time in years, we’re going to see some real moves in the foldable market well beyond this year, screens are a few millimeters wider. It looks like we’re about to get a new Razr from Motorola with a really big coverage screen, which could greatly expand the number of things you can do with the phone closed. The Pixel Fold is also on the way, with a larger tablet-like form factor that’s instantly more attractive than the taller Z Fold 4. OnePlus is also getting in, which could mean some much-needed competition on price.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold has been the largely unchallenged category heavyweight for a few years running.
Image: Allison Johnson / The Edge

Clearly, there’s a lot to look forward to, but there’s nothing in these leaks or datasheets that really answers the unspoken question about foldouts: Why? Why would I want a phone that folds in half? We all got along with slab-style phones, didn’t we? Why come up with a whole new set of engineering problems when we’ve already figured out how to make a durable and reliable phone?

First, the cynical answers. At least part of the impetus for foldables has to be attributed to a general consensus of well, it’s 2023, and our phones should be fine something which they didn’t do 10 years ago. Phones that fold in half look and feel overtly high-tech. They’re essentially based on all the same components as your garden smartphone, but dammit, they just look cooler because it looks! They fold in half!

Nor can we ignore that the tech industry has a bad habit of trying to push us fancy new gadgets that we don’t really need in the name of profits and shareholder value. Everyone loved our 3D home theaters, right? So how do we know that foldable phones aren’t just another Fire Phone with some tricky new moves?

That’s where the good news begins. While the drive to make them is partly based on corporate desires and capitalist interests, there are legitimately useful applications for brochures. Our phones may be in the same basic shape they were 10 years ago, but under the hood they’ve gotten a lot more capable. The list of things you can’t do on your phone and need a laptop for has been getting smaller every year. Along the way, our phone screens have grown in size to accommodate all the things we want to do now on our phones.

This has put us in an awkward spot where our phone screens aren’t always the right size for whatever they’re doing. We’re either watching a show on a screen that seems a little too small, or we’re checking the outside temperature on a screen that’s much larger than it needs to be for that activity. Meanwhile, the phones themselves have grown to an absolutely monstrous size.

Foldable: a big screen when you need it, a small one when you don’t.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

The solution? More screens! Keep a tablet at home when you want a bigger display to watch your shows, or keep a smartwatch on your wrist for quick tasks like checking messages and setting timers. That’s great, if you don’t mind paying and charging three different devices. But there is another way – folding. They meet us in the middle. What if we had multiple screens but they were all attached to each other and only visible when we needed them? You no longer have to get off the couch to go find your tablet when you need it: it’s already in your hands. Really, this is the dream.

Foldable phones make a lot more sense when you think of them this way: Flip-style phones are like a phone and smartwatch combined, and foldable phones are a phone combined with a tablet. Of course, the next logical step would be a screen that could change shape and size to fit any of these three form factors, but right now that’s still the stuff of far-fetched CES concept demos and science fiction. Who knows, maybe one day our phones will spin, expand, or spin. But right here and now, flexes are about to get their moment in the mainstream spotlight and it’s not just some weird flex.

#hot #leaflet #summer #good #reason #excited

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