SMARTPHONE DESIGN IS stagnating, but prices are shooting ever upwards. It's hardly surprising that sales figures seem to be on the decline then, but rather than addressing the latter, phone designers seem to be tripping over themselves to fix the former with a new range of tablets that fold into phones.
It's not clear whether anyone actually wants this - or still will when they see a fully-lit video that not only highlights the smartphones' relative junk in the trunk, but also worryingly high price tag. Nonetheless, it seems to be the current ball that the labrador-like industry is bounding after.
Samsung has its upcoming foldy-phone, Google is adding support for folding to Android and now a video has emerged purporting to show a Xiaomi handset folding in three places like a high-tech Ordnance survey map.
Can't speak to the authenticity of this video or device, but it's allegedly made by Xiaomi, I'm told. Hot new phone, or gadget porn deepfake? pic.twitter.com/qwFogWiE2F— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 3, 2019
While we'd usually preface any reference to Evan Blass with the phrase "unerringly accurate tipster", even he seems unsure as to the veracity of this video, but it certainly makes for nice watching: a tablet that folds in two places to make a regularly-sized phone. Well, we say "regularly-sized" - it may be like holding a brick, we just can't say for sure from this poorly-lit, single-angle video.
If it is legitimate, it looks quite some way ahead of rival products - not just because it folds in two places, rather than three, but because of the neat way Android seems to respond to the screen as its dimensions change. The icons along the bottom of the map slide along with a nice animation, without any awkward screen flicker, as seen with Royale's offering.
But a lot of questions still remain - and not just the obvious one of 'is this actually real?'. Is having one extra thick phone in your pocket any more practical than carrying a phone and a tablet? Even if it is, is it worth the extra cost involved? Royale's foldy-phone goes for up to £1,400 and Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Flex is expected to cost similar.
That feels like an awful lot of cash for a party trick, no matter how impressive. µ
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