What’s behind the corner is always more exciting – a while ago it was foldable phones, now rollable phones seem to be the next big thing. This form factor secured the first spot in last week’s poll, narrowly beating out horizontal folders.
Rollable phones have some advantages. For one, they avoid the crease by using a bigger radius when folding the screen, also by design they pull it tight when extending. Another advantage is that they don’t need a secondary screen – it’s always just the main screen and the money that would have gone to a second panel can be put towards buying a better main/only panel.
There are disadvantages, of course. That screen is exposed to scratches and damage at all times, similar to outward folding designs. And they need a motor to extend and contract the device.
The horizontal inward foldables seem to be the best design currently available. Once glass makers figure out a formula with glass that’s both tough and bendy, we will revisit the topic, since then rollables and outward foldables will become practical (or maybe a design that both folds and rolls will win out in the end).
It’s interesting that the larger horizontal folders won over the smaller clamshell/vertical folders, which were the preferred form factor less than two years ago. Despite some vocal opposition, it’s pretty clear that larger screens tend to do better in the market (just look at the failure of the iPhone 12 mini and the rousing success of the 12 Pro Max).
As for the clamshells, right now most people would rather have a standard rigid phone. And even fewer people are interested in the extra-large dual foldables.
The second part of the poll asked about the most important features. As expected, price is a major concern – however, it was not the most important one and ended up in second place.
The most important features can be summarized as mechanical – the durability of the screen and hinges, whether there’s enough room inside for a large battery and securing the phone against water and dust are the main problems to be solved.
Better cameras, a stylus and so on proved less important. Remember that the poll allowed multiple options to be selected, so it wasn’t an either/or question. That said, it sort of was – every feature selected leads to a more expensive design. And even though it fell short of being the most important consideration, price will always be a major factor.