Analysis: Foldable smartphones tidal wave incoming from 2018
The ZTE Axon M looks to be the new starting point for a wave of folding phones as analysts see more phones coming down the line.
Huawei‘s CEO publicly stated that a dual-screen smartphone was in its cards for 2018. Both OPPO and Samsung have patents for foldable phone aspects. Even Apple is said to have a potential partner in LG Display for a foldable iPhone, perhaps by 2020. All of these breadcrumbs have been previously reported.
There could be a limit to the flexibility of OPPO’s offering as art in the patents filed show that flex will be very limited. With the Axon M’s rigid displays, this could still be a step forward, but it may not go as far as a full fold and flex treatment that’s been imagined elsewhere.
While the gears are grinding on all of these designs, the manufacturers will also be looking for sales numbers as the devices come and go. The bigger brands will have the luxury of time and the burden of cost to carry research and development through as their releases can shift markets more than ZTE could.
That said, the Axon M’s roll-out is only just beginning and while reach is wide-market reach is limited, carriage agreements at some top performing networks in the markets it’s being made available may help more than hurt.