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Foldable smartphones are the latest device trend, and companies that include Motorola and Samsung have released new foldable smartphones over the course of the last few weeks.

The first foldable smartphone from Samsung, the Galaxy Fold, had major durability issues that caused its launch to be delayed. Samsung's newest foldable device, the Galaxy Z Flip, seems to be faring a bit better so far, but there are some complaints about the build quality and problems with the display. The same is true of Motorola's latest smartphone, the RAZR.

motorolarazr1.jpg
Motorola RAZR foldable smartphone, image via Ray Wong​

Over the weekend, YouTuber JerryRigEverything tested the durability of the Galaxy Z Flip's display, which is made of a bendable "Ultra Thin Glass" for the first time rather than the plastic material used for the Galaxy Fold.

The testing suggests that the display of the Galaxy Z Flip scratches like plastic and isn't resistant to scratching or other damage. A fingernail on the display was able to make a permanent dent, which is concerning for a smartphone that costs $1,380.


In response to that video, Samsung told CNBC in a statement that the display should be "handled with care" and that it has the same protective layer used in the Galaxy Fold, which perhaps explains some of the scratching.

Another Samsung Galaxy Z Flip user on Twitter got his smartphone, opened the box, opened the phone, and then had it crack right down the middle. He suggests that it could have been due to cold weather.

galaxyzflipbreak.jpg
Image via Twitter

Cracking at the fold was a problem that plagued the Galaxy Fold, and Samsung does warn against pressing hard on the screen and making sure there's nothing on the screen when it's folded closed, but a crack down the middle right out of the box is unexpected behavior.

The $1,500 Motorola RAZR, another foldable smartphone that came out in February, is also seeing durability issues. Ray Wong from Input over the weekend said that the site's Motorola RAZR has a display that's peeling apart just a week after it was purchased.

motorolarazr2.jpg
I'm too scared to even fold up the phone now because the more I close it the wider the spread gets. There's a long streak across the top of the bubble and at first glance, you might mistake it for a scratch. It's not a scratch; there's no physical damage on the surface of the lamination. It's literally the pixels splitting from the two layers.
The damage is more than just cosmetic - the touchscreen is broken and the warping on the surface makes touches and taps unresponsive. Wong isn't sure what caused the damage, but as with the Galaxy Z Flip crack, he speculates that it could be related to cold temperatures.

There have been a few rumors suggesting Apple is working on foldable display technology, but given the super high price points of foldable displays and the ongoing durability issues that have impacted every foldable smartphone to date, Apple may be planning to hold off on a foldable iPhone.

Apple in early February shared a patent for a foldable device with movable flaps to prevent the display from creasing, and that's the latest that we've heard about an Apple device with foldable display technology.

apple-patent-foldable-device-movable-flaps-1.jpg

Interestingly, Apple has also separately patented a self-heating display for a foldable device to prevent damage in cold weather, which seems to be a significant issue for foldable devices at the current time.

Of course, Apple patents a lot of technologies that don't ever come to fruition, so whether or not these patents and other related patents hint at Apple's work on a foldable iPhone remains to be seen. At the current time, there are no rumors indicating a folding iPhone is something that we can expect to see in the near future, and certainly not in 2020. The 2020 iPhone lineup will be similar to the 2019 iPhone lineup, though Apple is planning to implement new technologies like 5G connectivity and 3D cameras.

Article Link: Latest Foldable Smartphones Experiencing Failures and Durability Issues
 

benshive

macrumors demi-god
Feb 26, 2017
660
5,879
United States
Most likely partly due to this being a first-gen product and partly due to trying to rush the device to market to beat the competition. Hopefully there are some rock solid warranties available for these phones :p
 
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cjboffoli97

macrumors member
Oct 4, 2005
90
175
Seattle, WA
Not at all a surprise. This is what happens when you rush gimmicks to market in lieu of actually developing original innovations. I recall seeing demonstrations of multitouch technology for many years before the iPhone was announced. In addition to a range of other reasons, I appreciate that Apple can afford to wait until new technologies are truly ready for market.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
1,380
1,075
I respect these companies more for assuming this risk and trying out new things that can fail, for the sake of moving technology forward. As long as they honor any warranties, support, etc.

That’s despite me thinking that foldable phones in this form factor might not be “forward.”
 
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TravelsInBlue

macrumors regular
Feb 7, 2020
110
351
On a related note, I don’t understand the people who complain about the iPhone “not being innovative enough.”

It’s a mature market, of course everything we see now is going to be iterative.

Foldable phones are change for the sake of change. It doesn’t add ease of use or anything of value.
 
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Nuno Lopes

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2011
416
425
Lisbon, Portugal
People don't learn that these companies just want to be in the "innovation" limelight to push their other products.

I am all for them and other to push for innovation and innovate. I'm not all for pushing products that don't work solidly. It seams to be fashionable at the moment. Even Apple has fell for it with the MacBook Pro keyboards. I basically skipped that line.

In the end of the day, it does not seam to hurt their bottom line., by the contrary. So this will keep on happening until consumer "punish" them with their wallets closed.
 
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Kabeyun

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2004
3,046
5,721
Eastern USA
On a related note, I don’t understand the people who complain about the iPhone “not being innovative enough.”

It’s a mature market, of course everything we see now is going to be iterative.

Foldable phones is change for the sake of change. It doesn’t add ease of use or anything of value.
This. Innovation is now under the hood. And speaking of cars, do people complain that auto manufacturers don’t innovate because cars still look like cars? In sum and substance a car today looks like a car from 50 years ago, yet a phone is somehow supposed to be radically different with each model. I have an idea... let’s make a folding car! Not that it would help anyone actually use their car, but I bet we could make one. Let’s do this!!
 
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