Foldable phones are having a moment

Foldable Phones made headlines in 2019, when companies love SamsungHuawei and Motorola introduced their first bendable devices. If the rumors and reports are correct, 2022 will be another year for foldable phones, with Samsung, Motorola and Google expected to introduce new flexible designs.

The rumors of Samsung’s foldable phones could even arrive in the coming months if the company follows its previous pattern. For example, Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip 5G and in the summer of 2020 the Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 in August 2021.

Sales of foldable phones are growing, but they’re not nearly as ubiquitous as standard phones. Shipments of foldable smartphones are said to have increased by 264.3% in 2021 from 2020, according to The International Data Corporation† But the IDC estimates that only 7.1 million foldable phones were shipped in all of 2021, compared to 362.4 million phones shipped in just the fourth quarter of last year

Here’s a look at the rumored foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola and others that are reportedly in the works.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung Z-fold 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung’s phone-tablet hybrid is reportedly due for an upgrade this year. Based on the leaks and rumors that have emerged so far, it appears that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a moderately upgraded version of the current one. Z-fold 3† It could have a slimmer design, thanks to a slimmer hinge according to prolific leaker Ice Universelike an improved camera similar to that of the Galaxy S22† Qualcomm’s recently announced Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 will reportedly power the device, the source also claims.

But what I really hope to see for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a lower price. The current version costs $1,800 with no trade-in, making it one of the most expensive phones out there. But display analyst Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, speculates Samsung’s next-generation foldable phones get a price cut.

Samsung usually unveils its new foldable phones in August, so we expect to hear more in the coming months. Check out our full story to learn more about what to expect the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Samsung Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung is also expected to launch a new version of its clamshell, flip phone style Galaxy Z Flip this year. Much like the rumors about the Z Fold 4, leaks about the Z Flip 4 indicate that it will be a refresh of the current model rather than a dramatic change.

The Z Flip 4 is expected to get a larger cover screen according to Youngthe display analyst, and Yogesh Brar, a writer for the site 91mobiles who claims to have received a full list of the Z Flip 4 specs. An upgrade like this would make it easier to see the time and notifications at a glance without unfolding the phone.

We won’t know for sure until Samsung announces a new version of the Z Flip, which is likely to happen in August. Check out our full story to learn more about what we can see in the Z flip 4.

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A new Samsung foldable

Samsung's concept Flex S tablet shown at CES 2022

Samsung Display unveiled several folding concepts at CES 2022, including the Flex S tablet shown here.

Samsung

But perhaps even more exciting is the idea that Samsung could introduce a completely new type of foldable phone this year. In a tweet that appears to have been deleted, Ice Universe previously said Samsung could debut a third type of foldable this year. Young also participated to say that a slide-out phone from Samsung was slated for production in 2022 but had been pushed further out.

If Samsung plans to launch a new-style foldable, it certainly has plenty of ideas to choose from. The Korean tech giant on display several new concepts at CES 2022 in January, including phones with a triple-folding screen and a screen that slides. Samsung has not given any indication that it plans to launch a new type of foldable soon, but we expect the next big Unpacked event to take place in August.

2022 Motorola Razr

motorola razr

The 2020 Motorola Razr

Angela Lang/CNET

Motorola may be preparing its iconic Razr for another comeback. The company is reportedly working on a new version of its foldable Razr flip phone which could have a lower price, a new pill-shaped dual camera and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, according to leaks from known leakers Steve Hemmersstofer (through CompareDial) and Evan Blass (published on 91Mobiles

We liked it in the end the 2020 Razr due to its refined design and improved battery life. But CNET reviewer Patrick Holland pointed out that the phone’s then $1,400 price and other shortcomings, such as the camera’s poor low-light performance, kept it from being as good as it could be. Hopefully Motorola will have allayed these concerns if the rumors of the third generation Razr turn out to be real.

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Google Pixel Fold (or Pixel Notepad)

Google patent folding phone sketch

An image from a Google patent application for a foldable phone.

google

Google may be the next big tech company to jump on the foldable phone cart. The company is reportedly working on a foldable Pixel that could have a similar shape to Oppos Search N and a price lower than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, according to 9to5Google† The outlet also says the phone could be called the Pixel NotePad, but warns that the camera could be a step lower than the Pixel 6.

Google hasn’t said anything about plans to release a foldable phone yet. We also didn’t see any indication of a foldable Pixel at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference where it sometimes showcases new technical concepts. But given Google’s recent focus on hardware — which it emphasized on I/O by announcement of six new gadgets — it wouldn’t be surprising to see the company experimenting with foldable devices.

If Google has a foldable phone in the works, it’s unclear when it would launch. korean news site the Elec said Google previously planned to announce the device in Q4 2022, but the company has reportedly delayed the launch.

A TCL foldable phone

TCL foldable phone

TCL’s foldable phone concept

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

TCL canceled plans to release a folding telephone in the shape of a telephone phone in 2021, but he is not giving up yet. The Chinese electronics maker on display two new concepts earlier this year for phones with rollable and foldable screens. One concept has a screen that can bend in and out, while the other can fold and enlarge its screen.

TCL has not said when it plans to release a foldable phone. But if and when it does, the company plans to keep the price at $700 or less, TCL previously told CNET. Reaching that price will be a challenge, but hopefully it will motivate other phone manufacturers to make their foldable phones equally affordable.

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A foldable iPhone

Apple foldable iphone concept art

A fictional concept showing what a foldable iPhone might look like, by YouTuber ConceptsiPhone.

Concept iPhone

Apple is one of the few major smartphone makers that hasn’t released a foldable phone, and it’s unclear if that will ever happen. But rumors of an iPhone with a bendable screen have been circulating for years, fueling speculation. If Apple is working on a foldable iPhone, the device will probably only be released in a few years. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote in his Power On newsletter in 2021 that: a foldable iPhone will take another two to three years. Display supply chain analyst Young also said in February that Apple’s foldable iPhone would be delayed until 2025, according to 9to5Mac

Waiting a few years to launch the first foldable might not be a bad idea. Foldable phones are expected to represent 1.8% of the total smartphone market by 2025, a jump from 0.5% in 2021, according to the IDC. The market research firm also has says foldable are expected to take over a third of the premium Android phone market.

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