Over a decade ago, people around the world started shelving their cellphones — with their static screens and limited applications — to embrace smartphones, which offered large touchscreens for watching movies, playing music, and even browsing the web.
Imagine holding your phone as it is right now but opening it up like a book and revealing a display that was double the size of your outward-facing screen. That’s the dream of foldable phones, to be both a phone and a tablet in one form factor. Unlike smartphones, which have singular, fixed displays, foldable phones promise more screen real estate when you need it.
In late February, a handful of smartphone makers announced plans to release foldable smartphones in 2019.
Samsung surprised everyone expecting to see the new Galaxy S10 phones at its Unpacked 2019 event by debuting its first foldable smartphone at the beginning of the show.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Galaxy Fold was that it didn’t have some far-off release date. Samsung said the Galaxy Fold would be ready on April 26.
The same weekend Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold, Huawei — the second-largest smartphone maker in the world behind Samsung — unveiled its own foldable phone, called the Mate X, at Mobile World Congress.
Also that same weekend, Oppo — the third-most-popular smartphone maker in China — unveiled its own foldable-phone concept.
The foldable-phone concepts kept coming in March when Xiaomi — the fifth-most-popular smartphone maker in China — posted a video to Twitter showing off a concept for a foldable phone, which generated a lot of buzzes online.