For some reason, phone manufacturers think that we need to have foldable smartphones. Yes it is true, people generally need big screens for watching videos, reading articles online or playing games. It is also true that they need smaller devices for making and receiving phone calls, but I am sure no one needs a clumsy device that can do both. Despite this, Huawei, Samsung, Lenovo (with their Motorola division), Xiaomi, Oppo and tones of others are in a rush to unleash their foldable devices in the market. Huawei already has the Huawei Mate X but to limited users. Samsung already unleashed its Samsung Galaxy Fold but took them back when those that were given the test devices reported issues with their foldability, particularly issues that were affecting the screen. Sony having seen the nightmares Samsung ran into, has decided to hope for a Sony Rollable Smartphone instead, which according to the imagination I have had of it, might turn out to be a more useful device compared to the foldable options that are currently being tested.
There is 2010 video (see below) that demonstrates how the rollable smartphone ought to be operational, and judging by how it rolls, it seems a rollable smartphone will be this device that one will be able to roll out to increase its screen size, or roll in to make it smaller. Although the device by itself may still be clumsy depending on the maximum screen size it is supposed to roll out to, it seems it will be a device that can be pretty decent when rolled down to its phone-size for normal phone functionality.
What’s not clear at the moment is whether the Sony (and any other) rollable smartphone will steer clear of the major problems the foldable smartphones are experiencing, especially the two big problems that forced Samsung to recall the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Samsung had to recall their test devices after some users were able to peel off the protective laminate used to cover the display so that the display doesn’t crease (a major problem with foldable devices), and the issue of tiny objects being able to find their way into the hinges from where the folding happens. To resolve these Samsung simply decided to tuck away the edges of the protective laminate, and to make the hinge holes smaller. For the rollable smartphones I can imagine these problems not being so prominent.
Rumors have it that the Sony Rollable Smartphone is set for an early 2020, but there are those who expect the company to make an unveiling as soon as September to December this year. According to Max J of @Samsung_News_ Twitter handle, Sony has already released a prototype device and the device has the following features:
- SM7250 SoC
- LG Display
- Nautilus Design
- 10x Zoom Camera
The device is also expected to feature 5G capabilities hence might come with Snapdragon 855 Soc and Qualcomm X50 Modem. These are high end Qualcomm chips hence no one should expect the Sony Rollable smartphone to come in cheap.