With two foldable phones on the market, the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Fold, Samsung says that user experience drives the future of foldable phones.
User Experience Drives Foldable Phones: Samsung
Samsung’s foldables up until now have been a single fold in the middle of the screen. Both phones have a single display that folds in half. The Galaxy Fold folds horizontally, the Z Flip vertically. But Samsung isn’t done with foldables. Single-fold or uni-folding phones are just the start for the Korean Android giant. And yet, user experience is key to their success.
“Technologically, we are capable of designing phones that fold even more times, but what’s more important than the folding technology itself is the kind of value to be offered for consumers. It’s also important to have an ecosystem for sufficient content and services before releasing more foldable variants,” new Samsung Mobile Division President Roh Tae-moon said in an interview with The Korea Herald.
Why user experience is the key to foldables
User experience involves apps and services as well as hardware and software. Users want to have an effortless experience on a device. Samsung is often accused of throwing so many features in its phones without refining them first. Whether or not the claim is true doesn’t eliminate Samsung’s responsibility to prevent another Galaxy Fold debacle.
User experience on foldables: folding screens and hinges play a part
When it comes to foldables, the same problems remain that are on non-foldables. These problems are mentioned in the previous paragraph. And yet, foldables bring a new problem to the table: design. Design impacts user experience. In the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung has a hinge with soft bristles (brush-like) to keep out dust, dirt, and other particles. The company has a solution in the Z Flip for a problem it discovered on the Galaxy Fold.
Foldables will require more work in improving user experience than non-foldables. They compound the problems one finds on typical smartphones. With more problems in foldables, Samsung will need more time to improve user experience before releasing them.
When it comes to foldables, user experience increases a notch. Whereas users need not worry about bending their phone screens on standard smartphones, folding screens on foldables create a new risk. How long can one fold the device before it stops folding at all? Samsung’s Galaxy Fold can withstand 200,000 folds, according to the company (equating to around 5 years of usage), but future foldables must become more durable. Even if the screen withstands that many folding times, what will the screen look like when it’s done? Samsung looks to improve screen durability with the next-generation Fold whose display will feature ultra-thin glass.
With Samsung’s commitment to innovation, user experience will improve with foldables. And yes, the Korean giant is teasing a tri-fold foldable phone that, no doubt, will land on the market sooner or later. But the multi-folding foldables on the way are the “calculus” of the phone market. Without getting the basic “algebra” (that is, single-folding foldables) right, the multi-folding phones don’t stand a chance.