Flip and Fold a Novelty?
The way we use our devices has changed a lot in a relatively short period of time. Phones have become more multimedia focused. Whether consuming content through movies, streams or games, mobile users have become interested in performance over design. We see this with native and ported AAA titles as we do with the recent growth for online casino and big services like Jackpot City amongst many others. There is a changing audience but this may also be changing what we need from our mobile devices too. The latest trend to emerge has been bringing back flip & fold phones, but these have largely been a novelty. Could these become more useful or are they a little over engineered for most mobile users?
Form factor is certainly important and something that some folding displays have done well. With a longer and slimmer design build they remain great for everyday use whilst not unfolded. They also serve the purpose of having the bigger display when they are unfolded. Early devices did suffer some issues where the display wasn’t as good as it should be. The hinge where the fold was would fail or become deformed in some way. What’s more, the issue sometimes the front camera was hidden under the screen rendering it unusable.
Usability is also key and something that is falling short at the moment as these devices are still relatively niche. There just isn’t enough content being developed that can fill this niche and so most apps don’t support the folding display or the display size. If flip and folding screens aren’t a more common choice then it doesn’t incentivise developers to explore this area and will make others less likely to make the change. Why change to a flip or fold phone if you can’t really use any of your favorite apps or consume any of your favorite media?
Finally, something has been changing and that’s cost. Initially as more enthusiast devices, they were much higher in price as paying for the novelty was part of the cost. This lead to some obscene prices. They have since come down and fallen more in line with what can be expected from a modern smartphone option. Perhaps, however, they are still a little on the expensive side for some.
There’s certainly an opportunity for these more niche devices to emerge into the mainstream and find usage like regular devices. But whether or not they’ll move away from the novelty is yet to be seen. There’s still a relatively slow uptake on these devices and likely will remain that way for some time. There are some manufacturers that have yet to put their own stamp on this market, particularly bigger names like Apple Flip & fold phones may remain a novelty until more popular options emerge and spur users who are willing to spend for a premium novelty phone.