Mobile device innovation has recently been running out of steam. The standard, slate-shape design of smartphones that has remained the same for over a decade is reaching its limits. There are increasing mobile computing demands, but modern smartphones are not optimised to accommodate more powerful hardware. Most manufacturers can only make incremental changes to camera features, processors, and screen size, which is hardly ideal.
These issues are pushing companies like Samsung and Royole to explore foldable devices. Whether this technology is the next step forward for smartphones is still up in the air. However, foldable devices do have some promising implications for businesses.
It’s not uncommon for average workers to have at least three devices: smartphone, tablet, and laptop. This is not only cumbersome for telecommuting, but it’s also difficult to manage apps and files across multiple devices.
Foldable phones alleviate these headaches by consolidating everything into one device. You get the lightweight portability of smartphones and can quickly switch to tablet/laptop-style computing if required.
Instead of lugging around a bulky laptop, you just carry a device in your pocket that unfolds into a powerful mini-computer. These devices give you the flexibility to work anywhere, including the office, train, and the local cafe. If foldable tech becomes more affordable, it will likely replace the need for office tablets altogether.
As mentioned, the only way smartphone manufacturers can compete nowadays is through screen sizes. The most recent trend is to reduce the bezels to cram a bigger display into slate-shaped devices. There’s barely any screen real estate left for manufacturers, which is why the only way is to go foldable.
Foldable devices offer display sizes that match modern tablet models, which come with its fair share of perks. For one, you have more room for photo editing and other design-related tasks. You also get to enjoy better video quality and view desktop-optimised files the way they were intended.
What’s more, a foldable smartphone is built for multitasking. The most current mobile operating systems allow users to have at least two different apps at the same time. The problem is, these apps appear crowded and feel uncomfortable in a standard smartphone display. By contrast, a foldable phone lets you display up to three different items at once. This can be a significant productivity-booster for those who work across multiple applications.
A larger form factor also means manufacturers have more room to install stronger hardware components. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, for example, features large dual batteries and six cameras to offer robust photography options. Foldables also offer bigger and better processors, memory, and storage components that compete with enterprise-grade tablets. Ultimately, you can expect foldable brands to add more features that were previously unavailable for smartphones because of space limitations.
Increased variety in apps
Depending on the success and popularity of foldable smartphones, app developers will follow suit. If there’s an uptick in the foldable device market, businesses will have access to a broad variety of apps. Imagine using a video conferencing app that displays video feeds, shared screens, and chatbox in one window. Even simple capabilities like getting a comprehensive view of your performance dashboard may be possible in the near future.
Another major advantage of foldable devices is their durability. Foldable devices are composed of strong plastic materials designed to prevent scratches and cracked screens. Highly flexible components also enable them to withstand accidental drops. This level of durability saves businesses a lot of money in the long run. It also makes sense for field workers who tend to work in accident-prone environments.
The drawbacks of foldable devices
Despite the advantages of foldable devices, there are some caveats. For starters, it can be an expensive investment, setting you back between US$1,300 and $2,000. At these price points, foldable devices will probably appeal to enthusiastic early adopters the most. Tightly budgeted businesses, on the other hand, may not want to purchase a device that costs as much as a high-end laptop.
Beyond the cost, larger displays usually consume more battery power. Suboptimal devices can result in longer and more frequent charging sessions. There’s also an issue with long-term use. Bending devices on the same seam places stress on internal gears until something gives. Although manufacturers report that devices can fold more than 200,000 times, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
The reality is, there are still plenty of uncertainties with foldable phones. Only time will tell if they’ll become a game-changer for businesses. If you want our advice, wait until more models are released, prices drop, and more app developers jump onto the foldable bandwagon.
Foldable displays offer several benefits for businesses, but making a good investment is about understanding your needs and budget. If you’re interested in learning more about what new smartphone models bring into the fold, talk to Empower IT Solutions today. We’re a leading managed IT services provider in Australia that ensures you make the right business and technology decisions.