Tag Archives: foldable devices

Huawei CEO Believes Foldable Phones Could Replace PCs

By James A.

Chalk this one under “teaser”, as Huawei CEO Richard Yu made a claim about the future of smartphones and also PCs. Turns out that he believes foldable phones are going to replace PCs in the future. In the words of famous rapper MGB, “let’s talk about it”…

The first foldable smartphone of 2018 has yet to hit the mainstream and it seems that Samsung and Huawei are letting each other be the first to bite. Yu sees a foldable as a PC replacement and in some regards he’s right. A tablet is also a PC, well kinda and a big screen smartphone that folds definitely replaces a 7 inch or 8 inch slate. The claim is that people are only using computers because they find the smartphone display too small.

In the future the foldables will fix that need for a bigger screen. Looking at recent diagonals, we see Huawei evolving a lot. They’ve got the 7.1 inch Honor 8X Max and also the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is going to have a 6.9 inch diagonal. The upcoming foldables get even bigger, but once they’re folded that diagonal is cut in two. The ideal format resembles the one of a wallet, while the vertical clamshell-style one seems reserved by Samsung.

Microsoft seems to have backed out and thrown the towel for its foldable. I have a feeling that the first attempt may come from China, rather than South Korea. Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE are also looking into it, plus Lenovo. As far as PC replacement goes, Huawei already has a sort of Desktop replacement, by hooking up its phones to a monitor with USB Type-C and also mouse and keyboard.

A foldable may expand the idea further.

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Samsung Teases Foldable Smartphone for Late 2018 Debut

By James A.

After debuting the Galaxy Note 9 and speculating on the Galaxy A midrangers, that are going to get higher end features come 2019, Samsung has set its sights on foldables. The South Korean firm has teased a new foldable smartphone for launch later this year.

Samsung’s prototypes of foldables, OLED machines, Youm units and other attempts date as far as 2012, so they’ve been at it for a long while. CNBC quotes Samsung CEO, DJ Koh, who claimed that the device will be unveiled during the company’s developer conference from November. It’s very likely just a prototype or a special edition, that will just be sold in South Korea.

Previously we’ve heard about only 100k units being made available for starters. Samsung is said to be preparing a bendable phone within the Galaxy Note line. They had experiments before, like the Galaxy Note Edge, or the ill fated Galaxy Round. We have reported about and covered a large number of Samsung patents, that went back and forth between vertical and horizontal formats for the foldables.

Some of them open up like books or newspapers, others are merely glorified clamshells. The core is to make a tablet-sized device fit into the pocket by folding it. Samsung may include a 7 inch screen on the newcomer and maybe inaugurate the oft rumored Galaxy F device.

Expect the product to fold in half like a wallet.

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Huawei Accelerates Development of Foldable Smartphone, In Order to Beat Samsung To It

By Radu Iorga

Samsung has been messing around with foldable phones for years now and if you look back at things like Project Youm from 2014 you’ll see what I mean. Nikkei is now saying that somehow they’ll be beaten for the premiere of such a device by none other than Huawei. They’ve accelerated their efforts in foldables recently.

Samsung’s patents for the product have been leaking like crazy, followed by Microsoft’s, but now there’s a new kid in town. That’s Huawei, also working hard at the project. According to the Nikkei sources, Huawei has to speed things up and develop the foldable phone fast. They want to surpass Samsung and release the handset before them, meaning before 2019.

At around CES 2019 we should see Samsung’s Galaxy X, or something close to it. Huawei has partnered with Chinese screen maker BOE Technology Group for the project and they’ll be supplying flexible OLED screens, with an initial production of 20,000 to 30,000 units. A media demonstration will also follow, plus early adopters and demos. It’s not very clear when the commercial version will arrive. BOE has managed to pull off some very nice prototypes, but there are also other components to consider.

Huawei is still phone maker number 3 in the top 10 and their aim is to become number one in the next 5 years. They’ve already beaten Apple for a month or a quarter last year and they want to repeat that soon. However, innovation and experiments aren’t always a sure bet and they can backfire. Huawei is throwing serious money behind R&D, so they should know what they’re doing.

A small scale rollout should happen first and then the big one.

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LG Foldable Phone Gets Patented, Folding Right Down the Middle

By Radu Iorga

LG joins the party of device makers with foldable design, as shown by the patents below. We’ve got the Microsoft Andromeda, Samsung Galaxy X, Huawei and Oppo’s similar projects too. LG has the usual way of going its own direction, by folding its new phone right down the middle, but in a vertical fashion.

This seems like a narrow bezel machine, actually ultra narrow and we’ve got a sort of “acordion” mechanism right in the middle of the handset. A small gap in the hinge also appears and LG uses a hinge design with an outer side that extends and slides as the device closes. This is supposed to reduce the stress and pressure on the screen panel. The biggest problem with foldable phones is how resilient they are to the stress.

If you fold it too many times it could fail at some point. LG prefers to go with a simpler way to avoid that. When it’s folded in, the LG phone feels and looks like the Samsung patent that left a gap in the hinge. However, LG uses a design that involves magnets on the two ends of the smartphone, in order to keep the device closed and prevent it from opening up by mistake.

 

The patent also shows two antennae, two speakers, two mics and there’s a possibility you can use the device in two types of orientation. There’s no front camera here, at least not a visible one. We also see the device in a sort of stand/tent format, which may make it ideal to be placed in a pocket as some sort of webcam in your breast pocket. In the end it’s all just a patent, so let’s not read too much into it.

It still feels too fragile for me.

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Oppo Also Working on Foldable Smartphones Now; We Have Patents

By Radu Iorga

After Microsoft, Samsung and Huawei have been working on foldable phones for a while, patenting them and leaking them partially, Oppo joins the gang in glorious fashion. A couple of their patents have just come out and they mention foldables.

Oppo is already an innovative firm, having unveiled the Oppo Find X, with its sliding part and over the last couple of years coming up with inventions like VOOC fast charge and 5X optical zoom phone cameras. Oppo and sister company Vivo have been innovating a lot and Vivo for example inaugurated the in display fingerprint scanner technology.

Regarding the foldable smartphone thing, the device we see here ditches any sort of seam between screens. The two displays complete each other perfectly and make one unified shell at the back side, with no visible crease. The hinge is surprisingly discrete, according to the patent. A rotating mechanism is also proposed, according to a patent filed by Oppo with WIPO on March 22nd 208.

 

A “rotation mechanism and foldable mobile terminal” have been mentioned. Another patent for a hinge assembly also made it out. Oppo demanded an early publication of the patents from WIPO, so something is certainly brewing there. We also see a version like a pull out couch, with a pull out screen, which triples the viewing space. We actually get a triple display setup here.

A sort of clamshell also appears with an “airbag” mechanism and a very long portrait format. The airbag thing requires an elastic element installed within the sides of the phone. When the smartphone gets unfolded the trapped air will be moved, so that’s why the airbag approach happens. Seeing how Oppo has innovated lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come up with a commercial product before the year end.

Samsung Galaxy X and Microsoft Andromeda may be beaten before they even come out.

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