The Folding Screen: Innovations and Challenges of smartphone

Since the end of 2018, the concept of folding screen mobile phones has gradually become familiar to the public and is even considered to be able to “fold for the next ten years.” However, in addition to technical challenges, high prices have also become an obstacle to the popularization of folding screen phones. Can folding screen mobile phones become the mainstream form of future mobile phones?


From the design point of view, the folding screen mobile phone has appeared in several forms, but currently there is no solution that can completely solve all hidden dangers. One is the durability issue, which is also the biggest obstacle to the foldable screen mobile phone entering the mainstream market. Although several manufacturers claim that their products can withstand 100,000-200,000 opening and closing times, in addition to the screen folding, people must also consider factors such as drop resistance, scratch resistance, dust and water resistance. The structural difference between eversion and inversion will also give rise to different design options.


On the other hand, since folding screen mobile phones often adopt a left-right or top-and-half structure, this also means that it is difficult to replicate the existing component layout of traditional mobile phones. For example, regarding the placement of batteries, Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola have basically adopted the “dual battery power supply” solution for their folding screens. In fact, one battery is inserted into the left and right or upper and lower parts of the folding screen phone. Due to the large size of Samsung and Huawei, the actual battery capacity of both exceeds 4000 mAh. However, a small design like Motorola can only fit a 2500 mAh battery, and the battery life will naturally degrade.


Hinge is also a technology that folding screen phones must ignore. When the screen is frequently folded and squeezed, the loss is not only the screen but also affects the life of the mechanical hinge. At present, Samsung and Huawei’s folding screen mobile phones use different hinge solutions, and the gap after being closed can be controlled in a small area, but the disadvantage is that users must use both hands to turn the mobile phone into a tablet state.


Considering the low yield rate of folding screen phones and the need to redesign related components, it is understandable to set the price higher, but if this is only a screen in exchange, the original experience such as durability and thickness must be sacrificed. Obviously, some do more harm than good. However, what is certain is that folding screens will certainly not become a short-lived design like lifting cameras. After all, Samsung and other technology suppliers obviously value not only the smartphone category but the folding screen technology itself.


People are still obsessed with making screens as thin and light as paper and can be rolled up and taken away like documents and newspapers. This also makes “folding” an inevitable stage in the development of screen technology. If the material and structural constraints can be solved, the future display screens will not only appear on electronic products but will be further extended to various objects, suitable for more devices and scenes.

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