By now there is no doubt about it: Foldable phones are the future of this industry. Gimmicky as they seem, they're now inevitable.
Adding fuel to this foldable future is Oppo, now the latest company rumored to be working on a foldable smartphone of its own. It joins Xiaomi, Motorola, along a select few, in this endeavor.
Oppo Foldable Phone
Oppo's foldable phone isn't official yet. Brian Shen, the company's VP, showed it off only via Weibo, which suggests the device is miles away from hitting the market. Much like the Mate X and the foldable phone Royale showed off a while ago, Oppo's device folds outward instead of inward. It bears a striking resemblance to the Mate X, actually, and it's easy to mistake one for the other and vice versa.
Shen, however, states that the device was developed in-house, as opposed to basing it on a reference design from another manufacturer. Oppo had planned to show off the device at its Mobile World Congress keynote a couple of days ago but chose to withdraw since the company says "it wouldn't have been meaningful" to unveil it during the event.
Also, Shen says that he doesn't necessarily think foldability adds something significant to the overall user experience, other than the fact that it enlarges the display and lets users occasionally fold the device.
In that regard, Shen preaches too much of the naysaying choir when it comes to foldable phones: "A foldable phone is cool and all — but how is it useful?" This sentiment has loomed large over the buzz over such devices, with skeptics challenging manufacturers to prove that foldable phones are not just "cool" but actually essential, too.
Still, Shen says that depending on how many "retweets" the Weebo post gets, the team might consider mass producing the device in question.
Oppo, for those who don't know, has shown to be one of the fastest-rising OEMs in the field, rubbing elbows with the likes of Huawei, Vivo, and a number of other manufacturers. While they are specializing on affordable but decently powered midrange handsets, they've proven to be just as future forward as their more formidable rivals.
Vivo, for example, was the first to implement a functional in-display fingerprint sensor on a smartphone. Oppo, on the other hand, made the world's first rotating camera.
Are Foldable Phones Going To Be Worth The Investment?
No surprise then that Oppo is letting itself into the foldable phone party. However, it might be a better decision to take a step back to see how this all goes. Audiences have barely warmed up to the idea of foldable phones, let alone to their price.
The Galaxy Fold will retail for $1,980 when it goes on sale this April, and Huawei's Mate X will cost past north of that — $2,600. Will consumers shell out this much for foldability? Time, as always, will tell. Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.