Earlier this month, Samsung showed off its $1,980 Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone. It's a device, in one way or another, that the company has been teasing for years and it's finally real. Of course, Samsung managed to jump ahead of most other companies by actually announcing a real product ahead of this year's Mobile World Congress where other companies, like Huawei, are showing off (or at least talking about) their own creations.
Samsung has a win in this category, if for no other reason than everyone is comparing these newer devices to the Galaxy Fold. Samsung has the default foldable phone at this point, and even for a company that isn't ever tired of yelling out, "First!" that has to feel good.
Whether or not the Samsung Galaxy Fold stays the leader in the category remains to be seen.
I am seeing a lot of good impressions of the Huawei Mate X, another foldable phone that was announced at MWC. The device offers even bigger displays on the outside andinside than what the Galaxy Fold has, it doesn't have a notch on the inside when it's opened up, and it folds in the opposite direction.
Now, we could easily get into a conversation about overall design aesthetics. There is no denying that the Galaxy Fold and the Mate X look quite a bit different. And that is a conversation worth having! But, for now, I want to bear down on just one aspect of that broader conversation: how the devices fold.
When it comes to foldable phones, the way it folds --in or out-- is going to become a major talking about. A big differentiator. And it will more than likely impact a customer's decision on the phone they want. Someone might like a phone that folds outwards, for instance, so while the Galaxy Fold might have been on their radar at one point, it no longer is.
I thought I would prefer phones that fold out, just because it looks cool, but I honestly think when/if I ever do opt for a foldable smartphone it will be one that folds in. The reason is because I want a device that I can easily use one screen as a keyboard and the other as a proper display. A mini laptop! Sure, it won't have a full-size keyboard, and the software would absolutely have to be pretty fantastic to make this worthwhile, but I think that would be pretty cool and a way to truly take advantage of the screen real estate.
A phone that folds out can't really do this. It can create that tent-like design, which could make setting up the phone to watch Netflix on it pretty nice, but that's definitely not something I could ever see myself doing.
(On a side-note: All of these devices should support a stylus. Especially the Galaxy Fold and the new S Pen.)
Where do you stand so far? Foldable phones are new, and tastes may change depending on the design of each individual phone (we've still got the Motorola RAZR and its rumored flip-phone style folding design to look forward to!), but which do you prefer? Folding in or folding out? Let me know!