It might finally be time for foldable phones

Foldable phones made headlines in 2019, when companies like Samsung, Huawei and Motorola introduced their first foldable devices. If the rumors and reports are correct, 2022 is shaping up to be another banner year for foldable phones, with Samsung, Motorola and Google expected to launch new flexible models.

Samsung’s foldable phones are rumored to even arrive in the coming months if the company follows its previous model. For example, Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip 5G in the summer of 2020 and the Z Flip 3 and the Z Fold 3 in August 2021.

Sales of foldable phones are growing, but they’re still not as ubiquitous as standard phones. Foldable smartphone shipments would have increased by 264.3% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to The International Data Society. But the IDC estimates that only 7.1 million foldable phones were shipped in 2021, compared to 362.4 million phones shipped in just the fourth quarter of last year.

Here’s a look at the rumored foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola and others that are reportedly in the works.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung Z Fold 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung’s phone-tablet hybrid is expected to get an upgrade this year. Based on the leaks and rumors that have emerged so far, it looks like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will be a moderately upgraded version of the current one. Z-fold 3. It could have a cleaner design, thanks to a thinner hinge according to the prolific leaker ice universeas good as an improved camera on par with that of Galaxy S22. Qualcomm’s recently announced Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 would power the device, the source also claims.

But what I really hope to see for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a cheaper price. The current version costs $1,800 without trade-in, making it one of the most expensive phones on the market. But display analyst Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, speculate Samsung’s next-gen foldables will get a price cut.

Samsung usually unveils its new foldable phones in August, so we expect to hear more in the coming months. Check out our full story for more details on what to expect the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Samsung ZFlip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung should also launch a new version of its valve, flip style phone Galaxy Z Flip This year. Similar to the Z Fold 4 rumors, the Z Flip 4 leaks indicate that it will be a refresh of the current model rather than a drastic change.

The Z Flip 4 should have a bigger cover screen according to Youngthe display analyst and Yogesh Braran editor from site 91mobiles who claims to have received a full list of Z Flip 4 specs. An upgrade like this would make it easier to check the time and notifications at a glance without unfolding the phone.

We won’t know for sure until Samsung announces a new version of the Z Flip, which would likely arrive in August. Check out our full story for more on what we might see in the Z flip 4.

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A new foldable Samsung

Samsung's Flex S concept tablet presented at CES 2022

Samsung Display unveiled several foldable concepts at CES 2022, including the Flex S tablet shown here.


But perhaps more exciting is the idea that Samsung could introduce a whole new type of foldable phone this year. In a tweet that appears to have been deleted, Ice Universe previously said Samsung may launch a third type of foldable this year. Young also intervened say that a Samsung slider phone was supposed to be produced in 2022 but was pushed back further.

If Samsung is planning to release a foldable in a new style, it certainly has plenty of ideas to choose from. Korean tech giant featured several new concepts at CES 2022 in January, including phones with a tri-folding screen and a sliding screen. Samsung hasn’t given any indication that it’s planning to launch a new type of foldable anytime soon, but we’re expecting its next major Unpacked event to take place in August.

Motorola Razr 2022

motorola razr

The Motorola Razr 2020

Angela Lang/CBS

Motorola could be preparing its iconic Razr for another comeback. The company would work on a new version of its Razr foldable flip phone which could have a cheaper price, a new pill-shaped dual camera and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, according to well-known leakers Steve Hemmerstoffer (Going through CompareDial) and Evan Blass (published on 91Mobiles).

We finally liked the Razr 2020 for its sleek design and improved battery life. But CNET reviewer Patrick Holland pointed out that the phone’s price at the time – $1,400 – and other flaws, like poor low-light camera performance, kept it from being as good as it could be. Hopefully Motorola has addressed those concerns if the rumored third-gen Razr turns out to be real.

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Google Pixel Fold (or Pixel Notebook)

Google patented foldable phone sketch

An image of Google’s patent application for a foldable phone.


Google could be the next big tech company to jump on the foldable phone bandwagon. The company is reportedly working on a foldable Pixel that could have a shape similar to the one Find Oppo’s N and a lower price than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, according to 9to5Google. The outlet also says the phone could be called the Pixel NotePad, but warns that its camera might be a bit behind that of the Pixel 6.

Google has yet to say a word about plans to release a foldable phone. We also didn’t see any hints of a foldable Pixel at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference where it sometimes showcases new tech concepts. But given Google’s recent focus on hardware – which it emphasized during I/O in announcing six new gadgets — it wouldn’t be surprising to see the company experiment with foldables.

If Google has a foldable phone in the works, it’s unclear when it will launch. Korean news site The elect said Google previously planned to announce the device in the fourth quarter of 2022, but the company reportedly delayed the launch.

A TCL foldable phone

TCL foldable phone

TCL’s foldable phone concept

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

TCL has dropped its exit plans a flip phone style foldable phone in 2021, but he’s not giving up yet. The Chinese electronics manufacturer presented two new concepts earlier this year for phones with rollable and foldable displays. One concept has a screen that can fold in and out, while the other can fold and expand its screen size.

TCL hasn’t said when it plans to release a foldable phone. But if and when it does, the company plans to keep the price at or below $700, TCL previously told CNET. Hitting that price will be tough, but hopefully it will motivate other phone makers to make their foldables just as affordable.

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A foldable iPhone

Conceptual illustration of Apple's foldable iphone

A fictional concept depicting what a foldable iPhone might look like, by YouTuber ConceptsiPhone.


Apple is one of the few major smartphone makers that hasn’t released a foldable phone, and it’s unclear if it ever will. But rumors of an iPhone with a foldable screen have been circulating for years, fueling speculation. If Apple is working on a foldable iPhone, it probably won’t release the device for a few years. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote in his Power On newsletter in 2021 that a foldable iPhone is still in two or three years. Supply chain analyst Display Young also said in February that Apple’s foldable iPhone would be delayed until 2025, according to 9to5Mac.

Waiting a few years to launch your first foldable might not be a bad idea. Foldable phones are expected will account for 1.8% of the overall smartphone market by 2025, up from 0.5% in 2021, according to the IDC. The market research company also says foldable are expected to take more than a third of the high-end Android phone market.

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