Flip the Switch

A Look Into Foldables + BONUS: Element 3D Folding Phone Concept Samples

Back when I was trying to start a tech blog, and just after Google announced support for foldables, and even before Motorola was getting in the game, I was already thinking about the next flip-phone. Now with a new version of Samsung Galaxy Fold, a highly-anticipated dual-screen phone with Microsoft Duo, and a Motorola event happening today, where should we expect this trend to go?

Read my original article here: https://r-views.com/flip-phone-future/

FOLED – which just means adding “folding” to whatever OLED means, is a term I remembered hearing on the Discovery Channel as a teenager in the early 2000’s. I remember seeing concepts about folding screens for TV’s or projectors, and even TOLED (transparent OLED) being used on windshields. It took more than 15yrs before we finally saw actual products that used these technologies. But are they any good?

I for one have never held a folding-screen device in my life. Judging from what others say, and pictures and videos that I have seen, I feel like it’s a trend that is slowly creeping in though. A famous tech personality even uses a Samsung Galaxy Fold, and actually boasts liking the product enough to be his daily-driver. The foldable phone is already out there, but its not in the hands of people who want to give it a shot.

One factor that slows that progress is the price. A normal smartphone already costs around half of renting an apartment (or in some cases the full rent). Adding another screen, a bigger battery, and I would assume “new” features too, that price is really going to go up. If a foldable-smartphone would go down to the price of an affordable Android, I believe there is nothing that would stop the regular-Joe from picking one up. In the event that these technologies would be considered part-of-the-norm, it’s very likely that it’s going to start rolling out more.

Love it or hate it too, there is also the factor of Apple, and what they think of it. From experience, Apple has never really started a trend, instead, they wait, and when the time is right, they go on the offensive with a certain kind of technology. Will Apple eventually try and go into the whole foldable-trend? Having just release a new 16″ Macbook Pro, it seems like it’s not in their radar as of yet. They do have other things to worry about as well, like a non-breaking iPad Pro, the new MacPro desktops, and maintaining their lead in the wireless-earbuds market with AirPods. But the iPhone is their flagship, their money-maker, and their inlatable-lifesaver, and if they’re not on-board to get the iPhone to fold, that’s another huge chunk of the population not getting into the new tech.

If foldables of today fail to get even the most hardcore techies, or a even just a small niche of Android users, then the idea would just die. So far, folding-phones have had a good run – Nobody is really that mad with Samsung (how can you be mad at foldables after the whole Note fiasco), and everybody knows the technology is in its infancy. It would take manufacturers, more than developers in my opinion to get the ball rolling. Why? Because smartphones, like any other gadget today, is an accessory, something to make you look cool. If plastic screens, and creases on the screen is where it all ends up, then it won’t even be fun to make ads for those. It. Won’t. Sell. Plain and simple.

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For now, I can only dream of a slim, and clean form-factor, no creases on the screen, and just would look and feel like a regular smartphone. That’s why I built one using Cinema4D and Element3D. As you can see in the render above, this is my ideal folding phone:

– Rubber Hinge (no creases)

– Notification Screen when folded. Think smartwatch size screen on the back.

– Edge-to-Edge Display

– More Cameras and Sensors (being that this render is over a year old, as a Pixel user, I didn’t even think of doing more cameras)

The technology, and even the experience is all new and would take quite some time to mature and actually be useful. Who needs a folding phone? Nobody can answer that, because back then, nobody even thought they needed a smartphone. What can we expect to see on the turn with this new technology? What can we see at the river? I can’t go all-in just yet – so for now, I’ll just fold.

Let me know in the comments below if you would like to see a tutorial of how to create a 3D foldable in Cinema4D, Element3D and After Effects. Also let me know what kind of features you want to see in a foldable.