Android smartphone vendors reportedly pushing for foldable mobile devices with dual displa...

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Android smartphone manufacturers are looking towards developing more foldable phones to offer consumers a larger display to compete against bigger handsets like the iPhone 8 Plus, a report claims, with a number of vendors said to be working on mobile devices using multiple screens to create a larger display area.




Vendors including Huawei, Oppo, and Samsung are allegedly refining their plans for foldable smartphones, according to industry sources of DigiTimes. After the launch of ZTE's Axon M Android smartphone in October, other manufacturers are believed to be following behind with their own releases, with some apparently very close to launch.

ZTE's Axon M is an Android smartphone that uses two 5.2-inch Full HD displays, which can be used unfolded to create a squarer 6.75-inch display. Folding it in half turns the Axon M into a conventional candy bar-style smartphone with a single screen, but the hinge and second display can be used in a mirror mode so two people facing each other can watch the same content on their own display.

Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu has previously claimed the company is developing its own dual screen device, which is expected to be unveiled before the end of 2018. Oppo, another Chinese producer, has allegedly applied for patents relating to foldable displays, according to a report source.

Samsung has also applied for foldable smartphone patents in the United States, and was reported by ET News in April to have worked on dual-screen smartphone prototypes this year. At the time, Samsung had reportedly started pilot production of a device, with up to 3,000 units produced for testing purposes.

The South Korean electronics giant used its dual screen device testing in an announcement that seemingly attempted to divert attention from the iPhone X and iPhone 8 in September. For that announcement, Samsung claimed it was hoping to ship a model of the Galaxy Note with a foldable display in 2018.

Foldable smartphones using two displays is not an entirely new concept, with one early example being the Kyocera Echo, a smartphone from 2011 that connected together two 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreens with a pivoting hinge.

The use of two screens on a smartphone offer a number of supposed benefits to users, including increased multitasking by having apps on separate screens, a larger keyboard area, and the ability to see the content on an overall larger screen. This style of device also typically suffers from other issues, such as the increased chance of faults stemming from its hinge mechanism, and the small visible seam between the displays when watching a video.

A still from a Samsung concept video
A still from a Samsung concept video


Over the years, there have been a number of demonstrations of flexible displays, a technology which could eventually be used to create a single contiguous screen in a folding smartphone. Samsung has been rumored to be close to creating a commercial product since 2015, but so far the technology has yet to be implemented in this way in retail hardware.

LG Display has also reportedly worked on developing foldable displays, and has apparently been linked to Apple in the endeavor, with the aim of commercialization by 2020.

It is likely that Samsung and LG will be among the first companies to provide smartphones with a flexible folding display, due to owning and operating their own display production lines, sources suggest. While Apple is supposedly working with LG on the concept, it is more likely the company will hang back and observe how well the technology works and is accepted by the smartphone marketplace before coming out with its own efforts.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    That top picture is so compelling.  Yes, I want an exact copy of my screen on a second screen alongside the first!  Or, of course as the article points out, I can also share this great content with someone facing me.  (Who knows what happens when people touch both screens, but who cares since this is such a great innovation).
    fastasleepking editor the gratepscooter63radarthekattycho_macuserwatto_cobracrosslad
  • Reply 2 of 36
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,166member
    I doubt they would do this to compete against the 8+. They could simply make screens of that size, and some android phones have 6.2” screens now.

    i suppose this would give a small to medium tablet sized screen. But the phones would be considerably thicker, even if most components would be on one side. You need a few mm for the screen or it will be too fragile. OLED is thinner than LCD, but now there will be two more expensive screens. And what about battery life? What about the GPU?

    boy, I anticipate a lot of problems with this.
    edited November 2017 SpamSandwichradarthekatmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobragatorguyjony0
  • Reply 3 of 36
    Yeah, Apple is bringing back Scott Forstall to implement the next generation of skeuomorphism for iOS on the all new folding iPhone. Can’t wait to be wowed by turning pages in iBooks...again!  /s
    radarthekatwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 36
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,275member
    Heard enough of foldable screen. First, hope reliable but than why you need two screens unless folding screen makes into one large screen while housed into small frame housing
  • Reply 5 of 36
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,589member
    A big problem may be reliability. For feature phones user may open the phone a few times a day to answer calls. 
  • Reply 6 of 36
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 3,895member
    This is just another example of more must be better, If one display is good a second one should be better. It will be either very expensive, if it is not then it will be low quality. We are now back in the mode that no one knows how to improve what we have, so they looking for gimmicks to sell phone.
    pscooter63radarthekatwatto_cobrapatchythepirate
  • Reply 7 of 36
    Can't see the advantage here. Maybe for certain niche markets it would make more sense, but I see those screens stressing and wearing out much faster. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 36
    It would be a pretty good feature on something where you use two or more apps at once, like on an iPad sized device. Email on one side, docs on the other. Keyboard on one screen, etc.
    on a smaller screen the join would be annoying.
    edited November 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 36
    cowasaki_darrencowasaki_darren Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I know this story is about a hinged screen but years before the first iPhone I had a Nokia 9000 series.  It was actually a very good device for the time and I really liked having a hardware keyboard.  Anyway long before the device died the hinges failed!  Now I'm sure that modern manufacturers COULD make them a lot better.  I've not had an Apple laptop hinge break in a VERY long time but at an acceptable size they are not going to be that strong.  I don't look at each new generation of iPhone and think "How did I manage with a phone 0.5mm thicker!  Personally I'd swap a little "slimness" for better battery or some other feature I might use.

    So basically I'm on the fence over this one.  I'm sure some Android device will get it on their feature list first in a rush to market only to show off the inherent faults before others including Apple work out a way to do it better.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 10 of 36
    "Folding it in half turns the Axon M into a conventional candy bar-style smartphone with a single screen, but the hinge and second display can be used in a mirror mode so two people facing each other can watch the same content on their own display."

    A feature no one has ever requested.
    SpamSandwichGG1repressthisradarthekatwatto_cobrarandominternetperson
  • Reply 11 of 36
    thedbathedba Posts: 431member
    I know this story is about a hinged screen but years before the first iPhone I had a Nokia 9000 series.  It was actually a very good device for the time and I really liked having a hardware keyboard.  Anyway long before the device died the hinges failed!  Now I'm sure that modern manufacturers COULD make them a lot better.  I've not had an Apple laptop hinge break in a VERY long time but at an acceptable size they are not going to be that strong.  I don't look at each new generation of iPhone and think "How did I manage with a phone 0.5mm thicker!  Personally I'd swap a little "slimness" for better battery or some other feature I might use.

    So basically I'm on the fence over this one.  I'm sure some Android device will get it on their feature list first in a rush to market only to show off the inherent faults before others including Apple work out a way to do it better.
    There’s really nothing to be on the fence for. 
    All this is in the concept stage. Just like the MS Courier.  And we all know how that ended. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 36
    Useless.
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 36
    That top picture is so compelling.  Yes, I want an exact copy of my screen on a second screen alongside the first!  Or, of course as the article points out, I can also share this great content with someone facing me.  (Who knows what happens when people touch both screens, but who cares since this is such a great innovation).
    maybe a game of Battleship will break out?
    tycho_macuserwatto_cobrarandominternetperson
  • Reply 14 of 36
    can't wait for the youtubers to drop test these and bend them, oh, the suspense
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 36
    Color me with a failure of imagination here. I see possible uses but no compelling ones. Unless it's a pop-up screen that rolls up out of a stick or tube and is self-supporting...
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,583member
    This has been a long talked about thing to do, but the tech just hasn't been there yet. BUT, if you have 1 big screen that folds up in half where the screen is on the outside front and back and of course goes around the side. That's not to crazy of a bend these days. Then there's no annoying center section in the display. So it's a normal size phone but then can open up into almost a 7" Tablet or close to a iPad Mini.

    The stick part is how do you make it solid when you open it up? Do you have to only use it when it's sitting on a flat surface? Otherwise it would be flimsy. How well would it hold up over time? How would it hold up when stuck into someone's pocket. It's these things that would be tricky.

    Remember this is mainly ANDROID right now. What can they do to stand out from the crowd? Most are suing Qualcomm processors. The high end phones all using the same one. Screen sizes really can't get much bigger. They can, and have, but they don't sell once they get to large to be practical. Where you need a purse to carry the thing. Where can you go with Camera's? Mega Pixels really haven't gone up. You can only go so many in a tiny camera before you hit max limit. So they're going more into the Machine learning. What do you do when you're making Android phones which run the same OS as everyone else. Has the same CPU as everyone else. You can try things like 3D touch, but if it's not a part of the Android OS, it's just a Gimmick that's not going to be supported by 3rd party's.

    So company's have been trying a few different duel screens. Remember Samesung's curved display. Just as lame as their curved TV's. They don't add anything of value. No one else does it. So what do you do to stand out from the crowd of everyone else that's making Android phones???

    I'll stick with my normal iPhone 6. I have my nice new 12.9" iPad Pro which I take everywhere with me. Now that's a great tablet. Trying to do a all in one, generally fails at doing anything right.
    edited November 2017 pscooter63radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 36
    Breaking news, Samsung biological division announces breakthrough in engineering tits on a bull.
    tycho_macuserwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 18 of 36
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,122moderator
    darkpaw said:
    "Folding it in half turns the Axon M into a conventional candy bar-style smartphone with a single screen, but the hinge and second display can be used in a mirror mode so two people facing each other can watch the same content on their own display."

    A feature no one has ever requested.
    I read a few reviews on it and the reviewers especially liked being able to play Battleship with the phone set on a table folded in an upside down V, so each player could have his own screen.  Seriously, they actually were enamoured by that capability, which requires the two players to sit across from one another at a table poking at opposite sides of a game board (opposite sides of the phone) like the old days before online multi-play came along.  So rather than laying comfortably on a sofa, or even in separate rooms, or across town from one another, players will prefer to find a table to sit at in order to play a digital game against one another.  Yeah, um, no.
    edited November 2017 watto_cobrarandominternetpersonrepressthis
  • Reply 19 of 36
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,166member
    jbdragon said:
    This has been a long talked about thing to do, but the tech just hasn't been there yet. BUT, if you have 1 big screen that folds up in half where the screen is on the outside front and back and of course goes around the side. That's not to crazy of a bend these days. Then there's no annoying center section in the display. So it's a normal size phone but then can open up into almost a 7" Tablet or close to a iPad Mini.

    The stick part is how do you make it solid when you open it up? Do you have to only use it when it's sitting on a flat surface? Otherwise it would be flimsy. How well would it hold up over time? How would it hold up when stuck into someone's pocket. It's these things that would be tricky.

    Remember this is mainly ANDROID right now. What can they do to stand out from the crowd? Most are suing Qualcomm processors. The high end phones all using the same one. Screen sizes really can't get much bigger. They can, and have, but they don't sell once they get to large to be practical. Where you need a purse to carry the thing. Where can you go with Camera's? Mega Pixels really haven't gone up. You can only go so many in a tiny camera before you hit max limit. So they're going more into the Machine learning. What do you do when you're making Android phones which run the same OS as everyone else. Has the same CPU as everyone else. You can try things like 3D touch, but if it's not a part of the Android OS, it's just a Gimmick that's not going to be supported by 3rd party's.

    So company's have been trying a few different duel screens. Remember Samesung's curved display. Just as lame as their curved TV's. They don't add anything of value. No one else does it. So what do you do to stand out from the crowd of everyone else that's making Android phones???

    I'll stick with my normal iPhone 6. I have my nice new 12.9" iPad Pro which I take everywhere with me. Now that's a great tablet. Trying to do a all in one, generally fails at doing anything right.
    One of the biggest problems is how you protect that screen. If it’s bendable, then it is t covered by anything other than thin plastic. Very thin plastic. Maybe Mylar. These things will get poked a lot. How long can the screen take that? How about using a pointy stylus? I cringe at the idea.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 36
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,549member
    Why does anyone need this? Oh yeah, they want more bullet points on the feature list to sell the same damn product again to an already saturated market, and people want change for the sake of change.
    watto_cobrarepressthis
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