2019 should be a banner year for smartphone design, as phone makers continue to look for new and revolutionary ways to impress the bored out public.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line will lead the charge with its Infinity-O display, which trades the notch for a hole in the corner of the screen where the camera resides, but we’re also going to see the first mass-produced devices with foldable displays this year. And a new RAZR could be among them.
While the original phone is now just a memory, it’s apparently getting a spiritual successor in the form of a foldable Motorola Razr smartphone that could arrive in the next few months. The bad news? It may cost 1.500 dollars.
There are a number of questions surrounding Motorola’s upcoming foldable phone – the Razr V4 – including what the purpose of the second screen will be. Thanks to new information, we may have an answer that could give it the edge over Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.
A source familiar with the project spoke with XDA developers and revealed that there will be a second display, but it will have limited functionality. The additional screen, which will be on the outside of the handset and primarily used when the clam-shell device is closed, will act as a notifications and settings center.
The display will also act as a type of trackpad that can be used for scrolling up and down web pages. There will also be Google Assistant and camera app functionality integrated into the second screen.
It sounds like Motorola is still working out what to do with the second display, but the good news is that it won’t have a full Android experience. A small, notifications and quick settings-based display is both in the spirit of the original Razr phone – but also better for power management.
Foldable phones that are fully operational whether they’re open or closed – like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold – rely on three, power-hungry AMOLED displays. Traditional smartphone displays are a huge power drain, so an extra two will cause issues.
Samsung has included a second battery in the Galaxy Fold to combat this, but it also hasn’t let reviewers play with the device yet, so we don’t know what effect these displays have on lasting power.
The new Motorola will come with a familiar shape
The rumours suggest Motorola will create a modern version of its famous flip phone shape. Given the popularity of the device in the early 2000s, that makes perfect sense.
But outside of brand recognition, for a foldable device, a flip-up shape would be the most ergonomic. A large part of the appeal of foldable smartphones is their ability to unfold a larger device without having to always be a larger device. It means carrying around a big screen without having to carry around a big screen. That was true of the original flip-phone and it will be true of a modern, foldable flip phone, too.
The renders that have been published since the Wall Streeet Journal report (like the image above) suggest that the foldable phone will flip out into a normal-sized smartphone. Of course these aren’t official measurements, but they make sense. Transforming from a half-size, folded shape, into a full-size touchscreen smartphone will be the most familiar to, well, everyone.
The foldable device Samsung demoed last year appeared to be a traditional – slightly thick – smartphone that horizontally folds out into a tablet. In tablet mode, it looked fine. In smartphone mode, it looked like a brick.
If you’re counting: that’s three power-hungry displays and one, thick bezel that goes all the way around when it’s in smartphone mode. Samsung has worked hard to eliminate bezels in its Galaxy S lineup, and the S10 looks like it might just do that, so it seems unlikely the Korean company would go with such an ugly design that can only hold a limited charge. Rumours suggest that the Galaxy X will have two 2190 mAh batteries to power all of that extra display – it will be a hefty device.