Foldable Phones: The Next Big Thing in Mobile Technology
March 31, 2023
Flip or Fold - for those who want smaller or bigger

Upcoming Foldable Phones

When I think about the concept of a phone which has the ability to change it shape, my mind goes back to the original Motorola Razr. The basic design consisted of a clam shell housing which opened with a screen on the top, placing the keyboard and navigation on the bottom. Some folks developed the skill to open the phone with a flick of the wrist. It was popular for about ten years before being retired in 2013. In 2020 Mororola/Lenovo decided to reintroduce it as the flip phone of today.

The use cases for the flip or foldable phone are very simple. The user wants the experience of a standard phone but in either a smaller or larger package.

The flip action is achieved by placing the hinge midway while holding the phone in portrait mode. The fold is achieved by placing the hinge on the long edge.



The obvious advantage of the flip phone is when closed, it occupies half as much space making it easier to carry.


The exact opposite is true for the fold. When expanded, it becomes a mini tablet.


The number one challenge is the crease created where the display folds. Not only is this annoying from a visual standpoint, but the crease also acts as a distraction when swiping. Oppo states their water drop hinge is the solution and their display will stay like new to 400,000 folds. Samsung is rumored to use a similar hinge on the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 5.

The second challenge is the thickness when closed. In many ways it is like stacking two standard phones together and if it's too thick, it will feel awkward in hand. To put this in perspective, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is 7.85 mm thick. The Oppo Find N2 Flip is 16.02 mm when folded and the Samsung Galaxy Fold4 is 15.8 mm.

The third challenge is the weight. The weight of the iPhone 14 Pro Max is 240 grams. The weight of the Oppo is 191 grams and the weight of the Samsung is 263 grams. This may be the easiest to solve as the bulk of the weight comes from the battery.

The last challenge is software. In the case of the clam shell, what functions will the closed outer display support? Oppo has received praise for the design of their display, but was criticized for the limited number of widgets it supports.

If the display folds out into tablet mode, will the Android apps scale appropriately? If it supports a pen, where is the pen stored?

Google states on the Android home page “Your phone, tablet and more—all on your terms”. The revised taskbar for tablets allows users to multitask efficiently. Users can now effortlessly drag and drop any secondary application from their app library into a split-screen view, directly from the taskbar. Additionally, when using a stylus to write or draw, the tablet will differentiate between palm and stylus touches, thereby minimizing the occurrence of accidental marks that may result from resting your hand on the screen.

These features are already in place with Android 13 and it is safe to assume the tablet experience will only improve with Android 14 which will ship this fall.

Planned Introductions

Anyone who already has a flip or foldable will offer updates this year. The biggest name being Samsung. Google is expected to release an offering in May. OnePlus announced at Mobile World Congress they will be offering their version of the Oppo flip and foldable phones in August. Xiaomi is also expected to release a phone in August.

Although it is rumored Apple is working on a flip or foldable, the details have not leaked. 


The majority of the new phones that can be flipped or folded are expected to be premium devices with a retail price of $1,000 or higher. To put this in perspective, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is priced at $1,199, while the Google Pixel 7 Pro costs $999 with 256 GB of storage.

Novelty or necessity? If manufacturers can find solutions to the challenges, the flip and fold phone just might be a thing this year.