The major innovation of 2019, many experts call the creation of smartphones with curved screen. Supposedly it is able to revive the stagnant market and bring something new. However, because these devices exist only on paper and as prototypes, to assess their usability or durability. “Ribbon.ru” talks about how work is progressing on creating flexible phones, why is this even necessary and what devices will be released in the near future.
Samsung was one of the first large companies, which showed modern curved displays. Back in 2011 at CES was presented a bendable AMOLED screen, but nothing sensible to do with it and could not. There were experiments with form, like the Samsung Galaxy Round, was the strange concepts that were taken from exhibition to exhibition, but so far the only how to use technology — make phones with curved edges.
Information about the plans of Samsung to release bendable phone appeared annually since the presentation of technology, but every time something went wrong. During this time, what has not been invented by journalists: there have been suggestions about the phone, which can be as a bracelet wound on the hand, someone believed in the reincarnation of the clamshell with a large screen in the entire body that someone just wanted out of the phone it would be possible to fold origami.
The reality was much more boring. At the conference for developers SDC 2018 at the end of last year, Samsung finally showed a prototype of a flexible smartphone. The pictures and concepts it looks very tempting: normal mode this is the usual unremarkable smartphone, but it can be expanded to a tablet with a 7.3-inch display. However, in reality, the prototype looks weird: he’s got a giant frame above and below the main screen a very large thickness. In this case, those who have already managed to hold it in my hand, saying that on a folding screen visible creases, and the coating is so soft that the screen is literally finger can be damaged. That is durable this design can not be named.
But despite this, on 20 February, Samsung plans to show the final version of the Galaxy F. the Main screen will have a diagonal of 4.5 inches and a resolution of 1960 to 840 pixels, and the second, folding screen, already has 7.3 inches and 2152 by 1536 pixels. For iron it will probably be a copy of the Galaxy S10, which will be shown on the same presentation, — OCTA-core Exynos 9820 and six gigabytes of RAM. Along with this, he can get double the battery capacity up to 6000 milliampere-hours.
This is all, as befits an experimental gadget, incredibly expensive — from 1,5 thousand dollars. And released this phone will be a limited edition and rumored to be only in Korea.
It was assumed that Samsung will have a monopoly on the production of curved screens and the company will be able long to remain the only in this market. But besides Samsung, bendable screens have learned to do Chinese company BOE. The story looks like a typical example of industrial espionage. Samsung has signed a contract with the company Toptec on the production of foldable panels, and a few months later, this same technology comes out of nowhere from the Chinese, everyone is ready to distribute these screens. In the end, the trial began, Samsung require millions of dollars and to prohibit the BOE to sell the screens outside of China, and she turns Samsung in playing catch-up. And, despite all the controversy, the BOE produces cheap Samsung for screens with a hole for the camera, like the Galaxy A8s.
In the end, the Chinese company Royole bypassed Samsung and the world has launched the sale of smartphones with bendable screens from BOE. The presentation was held in China in November last year, and at CES 2019 phone showed a wide audience.
Royole FlexPai, unlike the Samsung Galaxy F has only one 7.8 inch screen that folds in the center. It looks pretty futuristic, the device is too handicraft: sticking out the elastic band, covering the hinge, in the unfolded remains to be seen the bending place, and indeed it cannot be fully disclosed, and the software is slow and inaccurately defines the status of the device. In General, this is not something that you can put 1.4 thousand euros.
Other manufacturers also caught on to this idea and started working on a bendable smartphone. So, Xiaomi has already shown a video demonstration of the phone with curved screen. First, the network leaked a blurred video with a device running the OS that is similar to the MIUI from Xiaomi, and then the company’s President Lin Bin (Lin Bin) confirmed the rumors and showed a prototype bending Mix (Flex or Dual Flex, the final name remains unknown). Moreover, this prototype looks better than the now on sale Royole, and has the unusual folding system: screen can be folded on both sides.
Most likely, it will be too expensive (actually, all smart phones with similar technology will cost about 1.5 thousand dollars), and his presentation could take place in February at MWC 2019.
At the same time expected and the release of the new Motorola RAZR, which will be a real rebirth of the same RAZR V3 from 2004. Information about the phone a little, and the only thing is, the image of the patent from the world intellectual property organization (World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO). According to the document, the phone will get the same design, but with a single screen on both housing halves. On the outside of the case are camera, fingerprint scanner and an extra screen.
According to sources, while the phone is in testing stages and everything could change dramatically. But it is expected that the announcement will take place in February 2019. It will be released edition of just 200 thousand units at a price of 1.5 thousand dollars per tube.
And that’s not all, because now every manufacturer wants to step up and make your bendable phone in the hope that it at least someone will buy it. Already there are plans to have Huawei, LG, ZTE, Oppo and dozens of Chinese companies. They will cost, of course, a lot of money, because the price of the flexible screen several times higher than usual. But for producers is the ability to write in the press release something in the spirit of the beginning of the revolution in the smartphone market and a marker of status.
The patent related to the creation of flexible smartphones, is available in the portfolio of almost any large company. So, a couple of times a year in the media there is news about Apple’s plans to make bendable phones, but it is usually backed up by little meaningless patents. The last message on this was just at the end of 2018. The document says about the device that may occur both inside and outside. In addition, the company owns the concept of devices that can be collapsed into a tube, as well as smartphones with a screen in the whole body.
A similar development is underway and Microsoft. According to rumors, the manufacturer is working on a foldable tablet under the code name Andromeda. And it is not a phone-tablet and hybrid notebook with a tablet. Although he might just be a laptop with two screens, like the Lenovo Yoga Book.
About bending Google information even less, but it is known that the Galaxy F is created with the participation of developers Android. This indirectly confirms that Google was interested in technology, but not yet in danger of folding to do Pixel. Anyway, the new version of Android will support the folding phones, and manufacturers will be easier to customize the software for the new form factor.
Bent smartphones yet seems very doubtful. All concepts and ideas are interesting, but don’t show the main thing — why is all this necessary. Yes, to carry both a smartphone and a tablet should be easy, but such devices are much less reliable than regular phones. Is laptops-transformers was better than the usual laptops and tablets?
In addition, these devices will be very short-lived, because as a protective coating for diffusing screen use something like a soft plastic which can be scratched with a fingernail or damage of any aggressive liquid. Now it is nothing more than an experiment and an opportunity to show the world what came to engineering genius. The viability of this technology will be able to test only with time and only if producers will be able to explain to customers the need for a bendable phone. Otherwise, this idea will quickly die.
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