One year later, the future of foldable phones still remains uncertain

Yesterday, Samsung announced that its foldable phone Galaxy Flip Z is sold out online. What, exactly, that means, is hard to say, of course, without specific numbers from the company.

Response to the phone has been positive, it even scored a (slightly) better score on iFixit’s repairability meter than the Razr. It got a 2/10 while Motorola Razr got 1/10 (the lowest score), but this is 2020, we’re all taking victories and where we can get them.

There’s been some negative response as well, iFixit noted that the Galaxy Flip might have some potential long-term dusty problems due to its hinge, quoting, “it seems like dust might be this phone’s Kryptonite.” Also, it’s new and improved folding glass is found to be vulnerable to fingernails, of all things — a definite downside.

Reports of cracked screens have also begun to surface, maybe due to cold weather. It’s still very hard to say how widespread these concerns are.

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A review at Input had major issues with the screen that appeared to fall apart at the seams (again, maybe due to cold weather). Motorola went on the defensive, issuing the following statement:

We have full confidence in Razr’s display and do not expect consumers to experience display peeling as a result of normal use. As part of its development process, Razr underwent extreme temperature testing. As with any mobile phone, Motorola recommends not storing (e.g., in a car) your phone in temperatures below -4 degrees Fahrenheit and above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If consumers experience device failure related to weather during normal use, and not as a result of abuse or misuse, it will be covered under our standard warranty.

There is no consensus among reviews as of now. The Galaxy Flip is a strong indication that the foldable category is going in the right direction. And Samsung is also licensing its folding glass technology, which might a few competitors get a bit of a head start and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls of the first-gen Fold and Razr.

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A recent survey by PCMag showed that 82% of customers don’t plan to purchase a foldable phone with things like hinges, fragile screens and creases, and other concerns. Which, honestly, is fair enough on all accounts.

The rush to get to the market surely done foldable devices a disservice and the early adopters are those people who regularly read tech reviews, and widespread issues they’re likely reconsidering pulling the trigger on a $1,500-$2,000 device. Even early adopters are thrilled about the idea of beta testing for that much money.

Two steps forward, one step back, perhaps? Let’s check back in a generation or two from now and talk.

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Thomas Burn is a blogger, digital marketing expert and working with Techlofy. Being a social media enthusiast, he believes in the power of writing.

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