Competition has started among global smartphone manufacturers to capture a bigger share of the nascent foldable phone market.
Samsung Electronics’s Galaxy Fold is the first foldable smartphone to hit the market. Its display is 4.6 inches when folded in and 7.3 inches when unfolded.
Samsung improved the Galaxy Fold’s user interface (UI) to create a foldable phone ecosystem. The Galaxy Fold features a “multi-active window” function that allows consumers to use three applications at the same time by unfolding their phones. The function is expected to offer not only a bigger screen but diverse user experiences such as performing other tasks while viewing an image simultaneously. The Galaxy Fold is set to come out in the United States on April 26. In Korea, Samsung plans to launch a 5G model in mid-May.
The Huawei Mate X is sharing the spotlight with the Galaxy Fold. The Huawei phone is loaded with an 8-inch outfolding display. Its design received good responses because it uses a full-screen main display with little bezel space that can be folded out as a cover screen. However, it is not clear whether it will sell well in the market due to its durability problem and high price. The price of the Huawei Mate X is set at 2,299 euros (about 2,930,000 won), about 700,000 won higher than Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Fold 4G model priced at US$1,980 (about 2.22 million won).
China’s TCL also presented various types of foldable phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. TCL foldable phone prototypes are divided into horizontally and vertically folded models. TCL plans to launch its foldable phones around 2020.
Xiaomi’s foldable phone is considered to have the most unique form although it has not been released yet. Lin Bin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi, released a demonstration video of a double foldable phone which is folded twice outside on his Weibo blog in February. A user can fold the right and left sides of the double foldable phone. However, no one knows when this foldable phone will actually be launched. This year, Xiaomi set up a booth, but did not showcase its foldable phone at the MWC.