2022, the year of the foldable smartphone?

Long fantasized (thank you for science fiction films), the foldable smartphone is struggling to convince for the moment. It must be said that the market remains embryonic and the prices high. Only one actor took the subject seriously, and not the least.

Global smartphone leader Samsung is in its third generation of foldable smartphones. And while the first two attempts looked more like prototypes than successful commercial versions, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 launched last year gave us a clearer glimpse of these phones of the future.

More successful, better finished, these two models still suffer from some weaknesses. The first is aesthetic: the fold of the screen is still too visible to convince the majority of consumers. The second relates more to daily use: the autonomy of these folding machines remains below what we expected in 2021. The last is economical: foldable smartphones are still very expensive.

And yet, Samsung’s rapid advances point to a booming 2022. Proof, other players seem determined to enter this market (for the moment niche) archi-dominated by Korean. The arrival of competition will undoubtedly be accompanied by a fall in prices which should accelerate the democratization of this very special format.

OPPO in ambush, Motorola and Huawei take their chances again

Oppo Find N

© Oppo

In 2022, Samsung will therefore have to redouble its imagination so as not to see its market share melt like water ice during a heat wave. Among the more serious competitors, OPPO leads the race. The Chinese giant unveiled its first foldable smartphone at the end of 2021.

The OPPO Find N takes the format of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (a smartphone that unfolds to become a tablet) but corrects one of its weaknesses: its size. Folded up, the Find N is barely larger than an iPhone 13 mini. Unfolded, it is a small tablet. Chilly, OPPO will launch its first foldable smartphone in China only, just to take the temperature.

Honor should also adopt this format with its Magic Fold. Divorced from Huawei, the manufacturer made its comeback at the end of 2021 on the smartphone market. You might as well beat the iron while it’s still hot. Its Magic Fold should land in 2022 according to the latest rumors. True to its credo, Honor should pull prices down in order to democratize the genre.

His compatriot Xiaomi, also very good at cutting costs, should also launch his first foldable smartphone in Europe. The format is still unknown. If he had given a glimpse of a model that folds onto him twice, it is unlikely, for obvious cost reasons, that this will be the very first foldable smartphone from Xiaomi in our region. The Mi Fold 2 should take the concept of the Mi Mix Fold launched in China only.

Motorola and Huawei should also invite themselves to the party. Both will try their luck again after the first hazardous attempts. The first had tried to resuscitate the Razr but had relied too much on nostalgia according to representatives of Motorola France. The company, now under the control of Lenovo, will always rely on the iconic Razr but with a much more successful model.

Huawei for its part abandons the booklet format after the mixed reception of the Mate X and Mate XS, yet very attractive. Chinese expected to launch P50 Pocket, a model also comparable to the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The fact remains that, like all the manufacturer’s smartphones, this P50 Pocket should be delivered without Google services in Europe. If, however, Huawei intends to launch it in our regions.

Affordable foldable smartphones in 2022?

Design Galaxy Z Flip3

© Lemon squeezer

The arrival of new manufacturers will logically contribute to the democratization of foldable smartphones. This movement will be accompanied by several leverage effects.

In addition to this increased presence of flexible models, prices will inevitably fall. First, because the price is a differentiating lever for manufacturers, but also because folding screen technologies are becoming more democratic.

Ultimately, the big winner will be the consumer. On the condition, at first, to have all the same a comfortable budget. Because if prices will be more affordable in 2022, they will remain high for ordinary people.

The foldable smartphone at 500 euros is not for now. But we can still expect models at the same price as an iPhone. Which is already not so bad to put a foot in the “turfu”.

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