The Samsung Galaxy Fold, the first foldable smartphone to be taken seriously, is official. But is it the first of a category to develop or a curiosity out of price? To try to answer it, let's remember one thing: our inability to judge a product based on its "V1". And Samsung has some experience in this area.
The foldable smartphone takes off?
The concept of foldable smartphone, we talk about it for months, even years. And if, technically, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is not the first, we can say that it is the first that gives us almost want to believe in the category. Yet, seeing the presentation of the Galaxy Fold, it is impossible to ignore many points that raise questions. The lengthened format of the folded phone, with this tiny screen 4.6 inches that seems lost in the middle. The huge notch at the top right of the flexible screen. And more generally an impression of seeing something promising in the long term, but still experimental even if, this time, it is finally a product that we will be able to use from the month of April.
However, while I'm not really convinced by what we know about the Galaxy Fold at the time I write these lines, I want to relativize. Because these lines, I'm typing them on my Surface Pro "5", a nice lesson in relativity. Remember the taunts at the launch of the first Surface in 2012: "A PC and a tablet, these are two completely different things," "Microsoft is trying to combine a fridge and a toaster," etc. And these criticisms were, for some, justified. I still have an original Surface Pro and it was frankly far from a success. The thick, heavy and noisy tablet, the abominable trackpad of the first Type Cover, the stylus button that tore out with the power of the magnet … The love of the concept was put to the test! And I'm not talking about the Surface anyway, the words "Windows RT" will suffice to describe my fear.
Never trust the V1
The Surface Pro, in its latest incarnations, is today my favorite laptop. Why ? Because Microsoft has been able to constantly refine its product, improve it by taking into account its past mistakes, to make a model of what a hybrid tablet can be.
Samsung is a regular in this mode of operation. And he did, often, his success. Sometimes even beyond his expectations. By launching the Galaxy Note in 2011, the manufacturer thought that 5 years later, its format would become the standard? Today almost all smartphones are at least as big as a Galaxy Note. The diagonal 5.3 inches of the original Note would appear even small by current standards. And yet, again, we did not care, this smartphone / tablet ejectable stylus. Because we were formatted by the dominant thinking of the time, because we were taught that a smartphone over 4 inches had no interest, and that "when you see a stylus is that they planted themselves. Another sentence that makes me laugh in 2019.
Well, actually for the stylus, even if the S-Pen has its fans, we can not say that it has become widespread on smartphones. But the format, on the other hand, has become by force "THE" dominant format of smartphones that we hold in our hands. And there are obviously still many users who pester against this trend, but it is there, and we can say that Samsung has marked a turning point. Also because the first Note was the initial version of the concept, and that Samsung has been able to make improvements over the years. The Galaxy Fold multitasking demonstration reminds us that Samsung was among the first to experience the now-common idea of displaying two apps at once with the Galaxy Note 2. And its successors have refined, perfected , and explo … Yes, well, forget this one: the Galaxy Note 8 has corrected the shot!
From curved edge to folded screen
Other innovations of Korean have been transformed into success in a roundabout way. The curved edge of the Galaxy Note Edge and its mini-side screen did not change the world, but the Note Edge served as a life-size experience, and allowed Samsung to successfully launch the S6 Edge the following year. The curved edges are now part of the Samsung signature, and we still find them on the new Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus.
Will the Galaxy Fold be the next Note? This first folding phone is clearly not the model that will propel the category to the general public. Its price which also unfolds the wallet will prevent it anyway. On the other hand, it has the merit of being the first to seriously launch this hybrid of a new kind, and Samsung does not advance alone. Google has already unveiled plans to support foldable screens in Android, and we know how important native support for OS-level technology is for third-party application developers. Microsoft has in its box project Andromeda, sea serpent who resurfaced regularly. The firm of Redmond has also announced work on the subject for future versions of Windows 10. The future will be foldable or not, but in any case, it has not yet fully deployed.
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