Over the years, smartphones may have become thinner, bigger, and more powerful. However, from the moment we’ve transitioned from keypad to touchscreen, there were little changes made in terms of its design. That is, until the invention of the foldable phone.
What are foldable phones?
Foldable phones, as implied, are smartphones that can fold. They were invented back in 2018 as a response to consumer sentiment that smartphones are becoming too big to fit in a user’s pocket. In fact, the demand for them has only got bigger, with global foldable phone shipments expecting to reach 50.1 million units by 2022.
Foldable phones are powered using a printed circuit board (PCB) that’s shaped in a zigzag-like pattern. This design has solved many PCB layout challenges that manufacturers have faced even on ordinary boards, like needing an excessive number of layers to maintain ample voltage to power a smartphone. The modified power distribution network also ensures that no electromagnetic interference occurs even if the phone is open and closed repeatedly.
In the design’s short life span, many foldable phones have been created. And here are some of the best-selling ones.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Samsung was one of the pioneers of foldable phone technology, with the release of the vertically folding Samsung Galaxy Fold back in 2019. However, some consumers weren’t fans of their large design, so the manufacturer opted for a build that was reminiscent of the flip phones back in the early 2000s. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip sold almost 400,000 units within the first three months of its release in February 2020. Samsung’s market research predicts that they’ll be selling 3.5 million to 4 million units by the end of 2021.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
But just because some consumers didn’t like the Galaxy Fold’s book-open flip design, doesn’t mean that there’s no market for it. In fact, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which is a smaller and more durable version of the first Galaxy Fold, sold 500,000 units in its first year. Its main market was aimed at users who were looking for large screens but thought that tablets were too big. When opened, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is 7.6 inches long.
A Fold 3 is going to be released soon, and according to the same Samsung prediction above, the manufacturer might be shipping out 2.5 million to 3 million units.
Motorola Razr (2020)
The original Motorola Razr flip phone, which was first unveiled in 2005, sold 130 million units during its lifespan. This has made it the best-selling flip phone to date. The Motorola Razr (2020) is a horizontal fold flip phone that is reminiscent of the classic Motorola Razr design. It’s rounded at the edges with a tiny portion of the bottom bar elevated. While the company hasn’t released official numbers, the unit sold out “before they were officially sold” thanks to pre-orders.
Despite the intense competition from Samsung, industry experts from the Display Supply Chain Consultants share that the Motorola Razr will be the third best-selling phone of 2021.
While not a lot of manufacturers have joined the foldable phone market, those that do are increasingly producing the best builds they can offer with the technology available. In the coming months, more companies such as Huawei and Microsoft will be joining, so the numbers could shift.
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