The concept of foldable and stretchable phones has created a strong buzz in the market both globally and in India. Unarguably they have been the highlight in the smartphone segment for some time now but are they really worth it? Let’s find out.
Samsung showcased Galaxy Fold while Huawei announced Huawei Mate X with 5G Support at Rs 2,09,400 in 2019, Mobile World Congress.
It was speculated that the Mate X was set to take on Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Unfortunately, with the US trade ban and ongoing tension between India and China, it couldn’t make it to the markets outside China. This has given Samsung an upper hand in the US as well as Indian markets.
Samsung delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold as it failed the durability test.
Not satisfied with just one foldable phone, the company launched another smartphone in this category- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip in February 2020; it’s priced at Rs 1,84,990.
Samsung claims that it’s good for over 200,000 folds. Users can open the hinge at different angles, with the content adjusting to fit the device. The phone is about 9cm by 7cm when folded.
Recently, the company also unveiled the first look of Galaxy Z Fold 2 and emphasised on how this new model doesn’t have the flaws which were there in the original, instead of elucidating on what will make the foldable flagship work.
Meanwhile, Chinese smartphone company- Xiaomi recently released a teaser of its foldable phone which can be folded from both sides.
Stretching the limits
An LG phone with rollable display is a new take on this trend by the South Korean electronics giant; to be launched by the end of next year. Moreover, the company has the approval of a patent filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office five years back. Indicating that the company is working on bringing a smartphone equipped with stretchable display. The device is called “B Project” internally. The phone will feature an OLED screen that’s rollable at the sides and can be expanded when needed.
Giving further competition, Motorola, the US smartphone company, is on the same path and has morphed its 15-year-old iconic Razr flip phone into a foldable one. The device was unveiled on 13 November 2019 and shipped in June this year. The phone is foldable as the main screen is made from plastic OLED while the second screen, on the front, is a fixed 2.7-inch panel for glancing at notifications. The plastic OLED display is a cause of concern as plastic displays tend to get more scratches than the glass displays.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip had a somewhat glass display, which didn’t turn out to be as good as a normal Smartphone Display.
Hefty price to pay, maybe
It costs a large sum of money to manufacture a folding phone. But it’s also true that pricing plays a huge role in a country like India. Samsung Galaxy Fold is priced at Rs. 1,64,999, which is quite expensive for an average Indian customer. The two other foldable phones in India, the Galaxy Z Flip and Moto Razr cost over Rs 1 Lakh.
Rajan S Mathews, former Director-General of Cellular Operators Association of India agrees, “The foldable phones are quite expensive and do not hold a big market share in a country like India where prices play a critical part in buying a smartphone. The foldable phones will come at an approximate price of Rs 2 Lakh, which is a big amount for us to spend on a smartphone. The foldable phone will only attract a small niche category of customers and hold a limited impact on the Indian smartphone market.”