Smartphones are Entering Other Gadgets Space

Foldable Device

If we look at the past couple of years, companies have been trying to get most of out the smartphones. Today phones have the raw power to do heavy tasks of computing. They have this much power that there are not many everyday tasks that can take advantage of that. Companies are also trying to get the maximum and bigger screens on the device. But there is also a limit for that as we can’t have a device with 7 inches of screen and still call it a phone.

Not a Phone
Not a Phone

For the brands, this leads to exit the boundaries of a smartphone form factor and allowing them to do some crazy and interesting things. And soon smartphones may be able to be your tablet, computer and possibly your smartwatch.

Tablet

Tablets are the devices that have a display which is bigger than a phone and smaller than a computer. You would know this as a foldable phone. This is the direct result of the limited size and footprint a ‘phone’ can have and the hunger to get a bigger screen in your pocket and the easy to carry it. Use your phone like normal and when you want a bigger display for whatever task, just unfold it and you have a tablet with a bigger display.

Royole FlexPai
Royole FlexPai

The foldable phone doesn’t mean foldable display. ZTE Axon M is a device which is foldable but has two separate display and when unfolded, it is a tablet. The first proper foldable device was the Royole FlexPai. This device received the same amount of praise and criticism. The next one is from Samsung and the recent one from Xiaomi is about to come. Other brands like LG, Apple and others are about to come.

ZTE Axon M
ZTE Axon M

It can only use OLED display, as only that display is flexible as of now and also the hinges to make the folding mechanism for the phone body. As much as it sounds interesting, it is the same complicated. It is still far to have a proper foldable phone. Arun Maini from MrWhoseTheBose YouTube channel has made a very good detailed video on the current problems, I am linking it below for you to see.

 

Despite all this, they have a strong and bright future. Phones opening up to be tablets will become a huge part of future smartphones. Devices with 7-inch or 8-inch screen will be sitting comfortably in our pockets.

Smartwatch

This is also a use case for the foldable or flexible display. The idea is that the screen wraps around the wrist and performs as a watch. The one and only example as of today is the Nubia α.

The screen on the device is to narrow to be a proper phone. But Nubia wants us to call it a phone. For that maybe Nubia has to wait for some more development.

Nubia Alpha
Nubia Alpha                                                                                             (Photo Credit: TheVerge)

This is simultaneously the least and most interesting thing of the lot. The thought of wrapping your phone on your wrist and have it in your sight all the time even if it is not in your hand is great.

But it has problems. If we wrap a phone-sized display, it will be too wide and may cause hindrance to the arm movement. Maybe we reach the foldable tech where the normal display is folded about the vertical axis and when we can wrap it around the wrist. And if and when opened becomes phone again and further opening again we get a tablet. This thing is way too far unless we start getting very thin devices.

(Throw your crazier and amazing ideas in the comment box below, would love to hear.)

Computers

I am personally interested more in this one. The flagship processors today packs so much power that the everyday tasks just can’t make use of that. So OEMs came up with this beautiful idea to use the power for regular and normal ‘PC’ tasks.

The very much alive example of this thing is the Samsung Dex. In this, you connect Samsung flagship from the last two years, with a cable to a monitor screen which is further connected to the computer peripherals, and you can use the raw processing power for the basic desktop tasks.

Samsung Dex
Samsung Dex

And there are laptop replacements too. Razer has a project called Linda. In this, the Razer phone gets in the place of the trackpad of a laptop chassis and you are able to use the power of the Razer phone and perform operations on a bigger display of the laptop chassis. The chassis will have a battery of itself which will power the laptop chassis and may charge the phone.

Here is the short video below.

 

Surprising enough Apple has also filed a patent for an apparatus that does the same thing. An iPhone fits in the trackpad of a MacBook chassis and uses the iPhone’s power. Another thing in Apple’s patent was that an iPad was fitted in the MacBook’s display. It just provides a keyboard and ports to the iPad.

Apple's Patent
Apple’s Patent

If we look at the advantages for this, there are quite. The first thing is, the laptop gets more portable and light as it won’t have to get the motherboards but don’t by large margins. But it can make the combo cheaper than the separate phone and laptop.

Since the main hardware between the computer and the phone is the same which is the phone, so there will be continuity of the main data unless you have some extra storage int he laptop chassis.

The things that don’t go in favor of this is that it is not the thing that everybody will badly need although it is cool to have it. Also with this, the phone stays occupied. But every coin has two sides.

The Global downside

The foldable equipment is quite expensive and I also don’t think if it will be ever that cheaper that it can reach the very general normal public.

For the computers, only flagships smartphones can be used as only the processors in them have that raw power. So this whole setup will be quite expensive. Even if the budget processors gets powerful still the laptop equipment will be expensive.

The expansions of a smartphone of what we discussed above are just what we have seen now, maybe we get something new in the future.

Conclusion

Smartphones will be definitely more than what they are now.  The basic idea is to make one device versatile and to make it be able to perform more than usual.

We have some cool ideas like foldable phone and a phone fitting in it a laptop. All these have their amazing and not so amazing points. In the future, there will be a category of smartphones that will be completely different than we see today.

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