It’s okay to wait for foldable phones, LG

LG's Kwon Bong Seok

2018 was the Year of the Notch. 2019? We’re not getting rid of that particular design decision completely, but this year is definitely making a change for something a bit weirder. This is going to be the Year of the Foldable Phone, and some of the designs are going to be pretty interesting.

Samsung, interestingly enough, might be the most “normal” of the folding phones this year. A handset that folds only once to offer up a bigger primary display, the Galaxy [insert name here] may also be the most stable thanks in part to that design. Meanwhile, we’ve got companies eyeballing smartwatches that unfold to phablets, and Motorola is going to relaunch the RAZR brand!

The smartphone industry is about to get weird again and I can’t wait.

The only issue is that the foldable phone design might be something to wait on. Especially for consumers. I’ve already said that I’m going to wait for the second-generation foldable phone to come around before I even remotely consider making one my daily driver, and I’m definitely okay with that. Even as someone who would be considered an early adopter in most cases, waiting in this situation seems like the right decision.

And apparently it’s a decision that at least one major smartphone manufacturer is going to follow along with, too. LG is waiting on the foldable phone, instead putting its primary focus on launching a stable, worthwhile 5G smartphone first. At first this seemed like a silly idea, because this is LG — a company that went after the curved smartphone display just as quickly as Samsung did. But maybe that’s partly why the company has decided to wait this time around.

There is no denying that foldable smartphones are the trend for 2019, but there is always the possibility that they aren’t that great when they actually arrive. Maybe the folding mechanism isn’t worthwhile. Maybe the software is wonky at best. And, just maybe, companies price them out of most consumers’ reach. It doesn’t sound all that crazy to wait.

Which is why I think the Life’s Good crew might be right on this. We all know that Apple isn’t going to launch a foldable phone this year, but that isn’t too surprising. Apple takes its time on just about everything, and this would certainly not be any different. If foldable phones take off, both LG and Apple are primed to jump on the bandwagon when it suits them.

Of course, we need companies like Samsung, Motorola, and . . . TCL (!?) to jumpstart the craze to begin with, so this is certainly not a knock on them. They will be able to learn a lot of lessons from real products, rather than just watching from the sidelines. Maybe that means they lead the charge, even when LG does eventually follow suit. Or, maybe LG can take everything that’s said about these future and weird phones and build something truly worthwhile to surprise all of us.

We will have to wait and see. What do you think of LG’s plan? Should the company wait and see how it all shakes out before launching a device of its own? Or should the company be going out of its way to try and lead the pack with these foldable phone designs? Let me know!

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