Report: Samsung Working on Clamshell-Style Foldable Phone


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As Samsung struggles to bring the Galaxy Fold to market, the company is reportedly already working on a new foldable phone with a familiar form factor. According to Bloomberg, Samsung plans to launch a clamshell phone with a more durable flexible OLED. This phone should cost less than the nearly $2,000 Fold, and it will offer a compact square form factor when closed. Clearly, Samsung is counting on the nostalgia factor. 

So, why leave the Fold in the dust already? Clearly, the price is the main stumbling block for the Fold, guaranteeing it won’t sell many units. Even the best flat phones are barely half as expensive, and the Fold got plenty of negative press after several early review units failed after several days of use. The Fold is also a giant brick of a phone thanks to the tablet-like 7.3-inch folding OLED. It also leverages new Android features that developers have barely acknowledged. It will look and feel like an experiment. 

Samsung is said to be working with designer Thom Brown to make its new foldable a device that has broader appeal than the Galaxy Fold. The chassis will be thinner than the Fold, making it easier to drop in a pocket. When folded, it will be roughly square. When open, it will have a standard smartphone display ratio. Therefore, developers won’t have to fiddle with multi-window features just to make their apps work properly on the phone. 

While the smartphone market in most markets has moved to the flat glass slab, there are still some places where clamshell phones never died. It’s common for companies like Samsung and Sharp to make giant Android-powered flip phones for Japan and Korea. Those phones have a single internal display, though. Samsung’s rumored foldable would include a large 6.7-inch OLED panel covering both “halves” of the flip. Samsung is reportedly exploring a new generation of flexible glass that’s just 3 percent as thick as conventional Gorilla Glass on smartphones. This could avoid some of the durability issues expected with plastic-wrapped foldable OLEDs. 

moto-fold 2

A rumored Motorola phone may have a similar form factor to the phone Samsung is working on.

The report says this phone will include a hole-punch camera at the top of the inner display. There will also be a pair of main sensors on the back. However, those cameras face front when the clamshell is closed. Assuming there’s a small external screen like the clamshells of old, users should be able to take higher-quality selfies when the phone is closed. 

Samsung has refused to comment on the report, which isn’t surprising. It will re-launch the Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks, so it doesn’t want to talk about a potentially better, cheaper foldable right now.

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Folding Moto Razr Might Launch in December for $1,500


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We can be fairly certain at this point that Motorola is working on a folding phone. There have been some telling patents, and executives have made cryptic statements that stop just short of admitting the folding Razr exists. A new report claims the phone is currently on track for a late 2019 release, but it won’t be cheap. 

The new folding Razr will allegedly borrow from the company’s iconic pre-smartphone clamshell, which set sales records when it launched years ago. Instead of a small screen and a keypad when you flip it open, the new Razr will have a 6.2-inch flexible OLED panel. When it’s closed, you can check notifications and the time with the small external display, and when someone gets on your bad side on a call, you can snap that clamshell closed. Just like the old days!

A new report from Dutch site LetsGoDigital claims Motorola will announce the phone in December before launching it first in the US. In January, European buyers will be able to get their hands on the company’s first folding phone. However, Motorola is planning on a $1,500 price tag. In Europe, the folding Razr will reportedly cost the same number of Euros — the equivalent of $1,662. 

A Motorola patent showing a Razr-style folding phone.

Past Razr leaks have pointed to rather modest specs compared with other folding phones. The device allegedly runs on the Snapdragon 710, a chip rarely seen in the US. It would come with 4 or 6GB of RAM and either 64 or 128GB of storage. The display looks to be lower resolution with a taller aspect ratio than usual: 2142 x 876. The battery would also be small for a phone of its size — just 2,730mAh — because of the folding body. 

That’s a lot of money for a phone, especially one that’s mostly just a quirky retro novelty. Unlike the Galaxy Fold or Mate X, the Razr wouldn’t change the way you use a phone.SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce It would just make the phone smaller when it’s in your pocket. We don’t even know if Motorola can work around the engineering issues that have threatened the Galaxy Fold since its near-launch earlier this year. Samsung retooled the folding phone to fix numerous screen defects that cropped up in early reviews, and it’s finally scheduled for release next month. The Fold will cost more than the Razr at $2,000, but it does have more potential to move the industry forward.

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