If you look at smartphones today, nothing much has changed when it comes to form-factor. We’ve seen manufacturers offering thinner bezels and curved screens but they essentially candy bar designs. Unlike in the early 2000s, we do get phones in various shapes and sizes like the original Motorola Razr, V70, Flipout, Nokia 7280, 7600 and the HTC Desire Z.
For those who wants something different, ZTE will be introducing a foldable smartphone that can transform from a normal phone into a mini-tablet.
What you’re seeing here is ZTE’s upcoming Axon M which they believe will redefine how we think of mobile devices today. The Axon M which is also known as the Axon Mully is said to be launching on 17 October. According to @evleaks, it would be exclusive to AT&T and is expected to carry a US$650 (about RM2,749) price tag.
It has Full HD displays on each side, it can fold out into a mini tablet mode to create an extended 6.8″ screen with a resolution of 2160×1920. Under the hood, it is said to running on a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Despite packing a larger screen, it only gets a 3,120mAh battery. Interestingly, it is speculated to come with just one camera which is likely usable for selfies due to its flexible form factor.
ZTE definitely isn’t the first to do this. Anyone remember the Kyocera Echo from 2011? That also features two separate displays but unfortunately, this form factor didn’t catch on. If you think about it, 6.8″ is just 0.5″ larger than the Galaxy Note8. Is it worth the effort to push that extra bit of display?
If you’re looking for a real foldable phone, Samsung is said to be releasing one with a foldable display which might be called the Galaxy X. As the world’s largest OLED manufacturer, they have the capabilities of making curved and foldable screens.
The challenge is how do they make these flexible displays useful to the end consumer? The only way to find out is to release one and see what happens next.
Remember when flexible displays were first introduced on a smartphone? We had the weird looking Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex. Eventually, Samsung explored the idea of making a display that curved towards the sides and that became the Galaxy Note Edge. From there, Samsung has made its double-curved display a standard feature on its newer flagships. While the edge features aren’t used by everyone, it does help to fit larger screens while keeping the phone smaller to hold in the hands.
Do you think there’s a use for a foldable phone? Let us know in the comments below.