ZTE’s Axon M smartphone, which features foldable displays, could mark the beginning of a trend in the smartphone industry. In an interview with CNET, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei said it already has a working sample of a foldable phone, which it could launch as soon as next year. Aside from Huawei, Samsung has confirmed that it is working on foldable smartphones.
Richard Yu, the Huawei CEO, told CNET that the company isn’t ready to launch the foldable handset just yet, but it is already toying with a prototype. “We have two screens,” Yu told the news outlet. “But we still have a small gap [between the screens]. That’s not good, and we should get rid of that gap,” he added, explaining the challenges the company is facing with the project. He added that the company may launch such a smartphone next year.
Samsung said last month it was planning to launch a foldable Galaxy smartphone next year. The phone, the company said, would feature a bendable display. Samsung too, however, admitted that it is facing technical roadblocks in conceiving the device. ZTE’s Axon M is a two screened phone, joined by a hinge, which folds in half.
Analysts say smartphone manufacturers are hitting threshold in terms of innovation. They are increasingly struggling to find a new design form factor for their new handsets and much of the new features and hardware components new handsets ship with are at best incremental (compared to their respective immediate predecessor). That gives Samsung and Huawei and other companies more incentive to try out new ideas and see whether customers find them useful.