It’s a testament to how far technology has come along over the last 20 years that foldable smartphones today means something entirely different to what it used to mean.
Previously, it was the device’s ability to be, simply put, folded up. They were known as flip phones, clamshells and hugely popular.
There was something wonderful about the ability to flick open your device to answer a call or send a text message that won people over.
However, over the years, interest in this aesthetic has lost favour. Nowadays we want and expect our smartphones to be rectangle blocks made out of shiny metal or plastic.
And, additionally, we expect the screen size to be rather large, which wouldn’t be possible on a typical flip phone. Even if it was, it would end up being too bulky.
However, with new developments and understanding emerging all the time, foldable is making, in a manner of speaking, a comeback.
Business Korea reports that Samsung, which is basking in the success of its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, is rumoured to be shifting its focus to foldable devices.
An official told the online news provider: “The industry believes that the commercialisation of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016.”
Needless to say it is a bold claim because nothing has really emerged from any of the big tech giants that suggests these devices are just around the corner.
There is, after all, a lot to consider. Smartphones are complex devices made up of multiple parts that were never intended to be flexible. It simply wasn’t part of their “DNA”.
Consider batteries, processors, even cameras – these represent significant barriers to overcome.
But, then again, maybe we’re oblivious to what is going on in research and development departments of companies like Samsung and Apple.
That’s part of the “marketing effect”, after all, to suggest nothing innovative is on the cards.
Hence our surprise and joy when such radical ideas – like the launch of the original iPhone – are finally made public. That’s out of the blue we think, when really, it isn’t.
There has been some talk in the industry about the lack of creativity with devices and it now appears that these critics have been somewhat hasty in their appraisal.
If foldable smartphones really do become commercialised next year, you’re opening up a new era of productivity, as all the big names will be attempting to outdo one another.