A decade or two ago, users of mobile technology may have thought that the mechanics of a flip-top cellular phone, with its LCD number display and physical numeric keypad, was the pinnacle of high-technology design. We laugh now, but apparently the notion of a communications gadget being able to fold (or unfold) is making a comeback. It could be done via dual screens on a hinge, or having a touchscreen made of a new foldable (but delicate) material. The latter was utilized by Samsung in their prototypical effort, the Galaxy Fold last year. Now, they have a new design planned.
The Verge tells us that Samsung has got another product unpacking event lined up for next month. And while it will almost guarantee to headline the next Galaxy smartphone, rumored to be designated Galaxy S20 after the S10, there is also a good chance that the South Korean electronics giant will be showcasing its follow-up to the folding device craze that they jumped into with the Galaxy Fold in 2019. While the final revamped version of the Fold still had some fragility issues despite some redesign and reinforcements, Samsung should have taken its lessons to heart in designing the follow-up.
One of the issues perhaps that complicated the development (and emergency redesign) of the Samsung Galaxy Fold was the length of the touchscreen surface that must fold and be protected from elements like dust and rough physical contact. The hinge protection of the Fold was sufficient but not perfect. So it appears Samsung decided to cut down on the folding action; rather than a phone that unfolds into a tablet, it becomes a smartphone that folds up along its width like a “clamshell” flip-top cellular. It was teased by Samsung last October, and now rumor is that it will be called the Galaxy Z Flip.
While the clamshell folding touchscreen mechanism was only briefly sighted at Samsung’s event last year, several alleged leaks of what the Galaxy Z Flip might look like have hit social media. Its folding for smaller and easier storage (compared to the Galaxy Fold’s unfolding for a bigger display) was compared to the newest iteration of the Razr, one of the foremost models by longtime mobile manufacturer Motorola. Technically it looks like Motorola has gotten the drop on Samsung with the horizontal screen fold, and their dust protection for the display edges on their new Razr is somewhat more thoroughly secure.
More details will be known perhaps when Samsung’s unpacking event happens on February 11, even if the more “conventional” Galaxy S20 will be the central star. Meanwhile, Motorola’s folding-touchscreen Razr will be coming in that same month on the 18th.
Image courtesy of Android Police