/ CROSS / Samsung finally introduced a prototype smartphone with a folding screen, which is planning to launch next year. Is it possible to change this into an innovation from the size of the iPhone & # 39;
In short – if the manufacturer manages to work properly – yes.
Technology is more or less mature for some time. Organic, light-emitting compounds and electrical circuits that provide charge can be printed on the film, and embedded in rigid glass.
However, the challenge of producing a folding display device was enormous: how to create a foldable device that is thin enough to fit in your pocket, and at the same time contains a battery that can power a large screen sufficient for heavy use? What kind of calls will be needed to make the phone convenient and secure? How many times can you bend one screen before it breaks down? How can mobile applications return to the right size when switching from large to small screen and vice versa?
Some technical problems have still not been resolved. For example, Samsung has apparently not found a way to put a fingerprint reader on a folded screen, as it did with the new generation of glass phones.
It is also claimed that the business logic of such a venture is controversial. Why would someone want to fold the phone and what technology would revolutionize it?
Traditional smartphone screens are large enough to make tablets unnecessary for most people. The tablet market, even by connecting a disabling keyboard, such as Microsoft Surface and its clones, shrinks. The number of delivered devices decreased by 5.4% year-on-year from three months to September, according to the IDC market research.
When Royole launched his folding phone, trying to defeat Samsung, a reviewer who could play with him, he wrote that the sensation was a more clever toy than a revolutionary device.
Even Samsung seems cautious and treats the folded phone as a niche market with growth potential.
Doubts, however, are similar to those that appeared when Apple introduced the first iPhone & # 39; Who would like to have a touch screen phone and how to compete with the huge variety of devices available on the market? Of course, this does not invalidate the doubts – there are technological innovations that do not spread. Do you remember the Fire Phone Amazon, which promised that holograms of Star Wars will appear on the screen? It turned out that he is a sucker.
However, Amazon is not a company that must offer such bold innovations – then the development team did not have to create a new 3D function important for consumers. Samsung – and Google, which helps the South Korean giant and other smartphone manufacturers introduce Android to folded devices – have them. There are also convincing reasons why both consumers and producers can turn to new technology.
It's true that 6-inch screens kill tablets. This has happened since Samsung released the Galaxy Note in 2011 against the cries of "who will want such a large phone?"
People, however, chose smartphones with a large screen as a compromise only because the tablets are not pocket-sized and uncomfortable for ordinary calls and text messages.
However, reading, watching movies and playing games on the big screen does not attract attention. Writing long messages on small keyboards is a skill that some people simply can not control, at least not developing a disease called "smartphone-thumb". All this is bearable, but tiring.
Trying to show something to your friends on the screen while trying to look at you is also an exercise suitable for acrobats.
For producers, the benefits of distributing folding headphones can also be significant. No matter how durable polymer the folding screens are, it will be consumed by many foldable, which will create a natural (though I hope, reasonable) demand cycle for repairs. This can facilitate sales and production planning.
Currently, the average cycle of smartphones improvement in the US is 32 months compared with 24 to 25 months in 2013 and 2014. Cutting the cycle, even a little, will revive the smartphone market and may end the downward trend in sales, which fell by 2.1% from three months to June.
Samsung and Google just have to play their cards properly. For a South Korean manufacturer, it is important to get praise reviews for the first new product he is introducing and make sure that the first buyers do not complain about the quality too early. It's important for Google to adapt Android so that it does not require too much work from programmers to bring it to the folded screen. This is a big obstacle that must be overcome before Samsung introduces something to the market.
Starting a device without at least the most-used applications that are fully compatible in a changing form is a factor that can kill a potential revolution in the bud and does not have to be perfect. The first iPhone was not and sold just one or two million pieces per quarter in the first year. It must be good enough for the first users to appreciate its benefits. From there it will last only a few years before it is widely accepted, unless there are major problems with quality and compatibility.
Technology will finally come to an end if Apple, who buys iPhone screens, from Samsung and LG (another company operating on folding screens), has also made a move. The company has repeatedly acted upon observations from the experience of other manufacturers – larger screen sizes, many lenses, rounded glass and other gradual rotations. I'm killing Samsung and Google & # 39; so that I do not have a chance.
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