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After years of research and development, smartphones are moving towards a huge technological advancement: folding displays. This could be the biggest leap after the touchscreens. The foldable display has been around for quite some time now, and patents, prototypes appear continuously. Samsung mobile chief even spoke about company's progress with foldable displays.
However, there has been a lot of buzz around the new trend lately. It seems like next year we could see a plethora of foldable smartphones. ZTE has already dipped its hands in the folding display waters. But that's not how the new breed of foldable phones would be. They will use flexible screens instead of using having two separate displays.
Recent leaks and reports also suggest that the first versions of the phone will have an outward folding mechanism, rather than facing each other on the inside. Let's see how the foldable displays will change the norms of the industry:
No broken screens
Foldable displays might not completely eliminate the screen cracking issues, but the will definitely make them more durable. As folding displays must be flexible by nature, they should be far less likely to crack in case they fall accidentally.
Current phones have a lot to improve in this aspect, however, Corning Gorilla Glass has made them better than ever. Also, the race for making a bezel-less display has made it worse for the screen manufacturers.
It's still unclear what materials would be used to form the flexible displays, but plastic OLED and LCD could be the first choice. But what we know for sure is that these displays will be sturdier than the ones seen on current smartphones.
More interactive approach
OEMs have been continuously making the smartphones simpler, faster, and a great alternative for cameras. Now, flexible screens will turn a single display into two. This will open new opportunities for multitasking on mobile phones.
The recent apps or multitasking on Android became a popular feature because of its ability to amplify productivity. It would be even better if you could pin one of the apps on one screen while work on the other app using the second display.
This will also allow developers to create apps and games that could make a great use of two displays. All this based on the assumption the phones could fold in half. There's a possibility for even more folds, for three or even four screens.
End of tablets?
Tablets are already becoming a rare breed. There's a huge possibility that the foldable display smartphones might completely make the tablets extinct.
Opening up a foldable display to double the area would transform it into a small tablet. With the same OS, these devices would be more convenient to carry compared to tablets. The only setback would be the cost in their initial years.
Cameras have become one of the most sought-after features in a smartphone. Manufacturers are putting a lot of research to deliver great camera setups. This has worked out well so far. But, the possibilities could be unimaginable.
The cameras will act as both rear and front cameras depending on whether the phone is open or closed. This also means that the OEMs will be able to focus on one camera sensor and make it exceptional, rather than bringing two different sensors.
Making one brilliant camera also means that we would lose on the specialization used in the recent phones, but if the camera setup is exceptional such as the Pixel smartphones or the iPhones, who would complain?