Tech is in a weird place right now. For tech companies, they’re all trying to develop that “next big thing.” As in 1995, it was the boom of the internet, which it seems that Google and Amazon clearly won that battle. In 2008 it was smartphones and touchscreens. Apple won that battle.
In 2020, it’s a lot of things.
From artificial intelligence only getting more intelligent to virtual reality and self-driving cars, there’s a lot that’s gaining traction in tech and every company is trying to dig its feet in.
The one area that’s been bugging me for a few years is new form factors in phones. Basically, phones that fold.
I’m trying really hard to not sound like a grandpa in writing this article, but it’s hard not to. And I’m open to the idea of new possibilities in tech. If not for the iPhone or first Samsung and Blackberry phones, smartphones wouldn’t exist the way they do today. But, in the words of Joe Biden, come on, man.
Samsung first announced their flagship folding phone as what became the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Although, the Royole FlexPai became the world’s first consumer folding phone on Halloween in 2018. Unfortunately, the phone was a disaster.
What the FlexPai and Galaxy Fold have in common is that they are both meant to be both a phone and a tablet. One main concern I have with this concept is that Android’s tablets failed — there’s a good reason for that. The iPad has been so successful that Google stopped supporting Android tablets and instead opted transitioning that energy into their Chrome tablets.
So why are we still trying to make Android tablets successful?
The problem with using a device that is both a phone and a tablet or a tablet and a computer is that its rarely ever executed well. The compromise to making a device a 2-in-1 just defeats the overall experience for both, thus resulting in a really bad device.
Apple knows this and introduced iPadOS in an attempt to add features to the iPad that make it computer-like without literally making it a computer. Apple didn’t want to make the iPad a tablet that can be a computer. They made it a laptop replacement, but it can also act as a tablet. There’s a difference and it’s clear that Apple knows what they’re doing.
Other companies who try both and fail miserably seem upsetting. For some, it seems like these manufacturers just want the publicity for other devices, I’m not sure. I mean, who’s going to make their primary cellular device a phone that costs $1,200+ and you’re not even sure if it operates correctly.
The price is justified in these devices solely by the hardware itself. Is the experience on a Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 worth nearly $2,000? Of course not. But the amount of time, energy, and resources spent on this phone makes it worth $2,000. As a consumer, no it’s not worth it.
I wasn’t sure any of these phones were worth it until I saw the Samsung Z Flip.
The Samsung Z Flip is…
It’s a clamshell foldable, much similar to the Motorola Razr re-launch. It is definitely the most usable of any non-traditional smartphone released this year.
I’m an “Apple fanboy” as they say (or at least I wouldn’t go that far), but I’m not giving up my iPhone just yet. Let’s just say the Samsung Galazy Z Flip has piqued my interest for the moment.
When folded, it’s not much of a usable device. This just contrasts to the Galaxy Fold which is a phone when folded and opens as a larger display, or a tablet. The 21:9 aspect ratio is nearly perfect in terms of height once extended. By comparison, the iPhone 12 has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It’s not too tall, but it’s a bit taller.
As far as how useful it is, I’d have to get it in my every day life. I’m no famous tech blogger and I don’t have $1,300 to just blow on a smartphone, plus extra cash for a data line, so I can’t get it in my own hands.
I’m not sure if this technology is worth investing in right now, though. It seems like Apple has a better vision down the line as they’re developing augmented reality that could potentially replace smartphones as much as five years. It’s not certain what the world of tech will look like in that amount of time, but if we may not even be using our phones as often, if at all, then what’s the point?
It seems like Samsung, LG (literally what the fuck is this phone), and whoever else are interested in short-term gains and improving what we have now, while Apple is in it for the long-run and creating something entirely new.