Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, served as a coming-out party for foldable smartphones. Samsung, Huawei, TCL and OPPO all showcased foldable phones. But they aren't the only ones working on them. Motorola also confirmed that it is working on one too.
In the past few months, several patents have surfaced showing what Motorola's foldable smartphone might look like, so it's not too surprising to hear this from Motorola. From what Motorola has shown us, via patents, is that it'll look like the original RAZR, from the flip phone days (not the Droid Razr from a few years ago).
Engadget got a chance to speak with Motorola's VP of Global Product, Dan Dery at the trade show this week, who stated that the company "started to work on foldables a long time ago." Also mentioning that Motorola has "been doing a lot of iteration." Which seemingly means that their foldable smartphone may be coming sooner rather than later.
Dery also said that they have been testing a "plastic OLED device with plastic film on top." That's similar to what Huawei and OPPO have been showing off. Dery also mentioned something that no other company has really referred to yet, and that's the fact that when you touch it, your nails are scratching it, so it "has a short life right away, it starts dying the day you unpack it." Dery did say that it's beautiful the first day, but after that, not so much.
That's one of the big issues with foldable phones right now. Glass cannot be bent, so companies need to use plastic OLED panels instead of a regular OLED panel. Which doesn't look as great, and it also is prone to scratches. Think about the Moto Z2 Force with that ShatterShield display, it'll be similar to that.
Dery did say that Motorola is not wanting to put a display on the outside of the device, for that very reason. Imagine you put the phone in your pocket, even if there's nothing in your pocket, it's still going to get scratched by the pocket. Motorola is still exploring a double-hinged device, similar to what Xiaomi showed off not to long ago in a teaser, but that's not where all of Motorola's R&D is right about now.
Motorola has no "intention of coming later than everybody else in the market." That could mean that Motorola will be coming out with its foldable smartphone this summer, considering Samsung's is launching in April and Huawei's Mate X is launching in the middle of this year. Though it does sound like Motorola is taking its time and making sure everything is as polished as possible.
Foldable phones are a pretty new thing right now, and every smartphone company is racing theirs out the door to get some positive press and attention. A company out of China, Royale, was actually the first one. But it is universally bad, not a single person has said that the product has been any good. So it's perhaps a good thing that other companies have been taking their time.