It brings tears to our eyes, but we really don’t need a foldable phone. We were blown away by Samsung’s entry into the space, the Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X with its even larger screens blew us away again (below).
There seems to be great concern about the durability of these new plastic, foldable phones. Will they hold up to key scratches when they are in your pocket or purse? Will there eventually be a line or crease where the fold is, distracting from the user experience?
The biggest challenge we see however is price.
China has been famous for inexpensive phones and at $2,600 the Mate X is priced astronomically. Apple generally prices higher than the rest of the market.
Would an equivalent iPhone cost $3,500? $3,200? $3,000?
For this $2,600, Huawei gives you a 6.4-inch phone and an 8-inch tablet in one.
For about $2,000 you can get a high-end iPhone or Android device and a top-of-the-line tablet like an iPad Pro. For about $1,300 you can get a base iPad and a solid phone.
In addition, you can use both – at once, to stream video or for various other tasks.
We see the need for a $2,600 foldable phone to be highly specialized.
For showing off to friends or customers or perhaps for a field force, like sales or service.
But then again, field personnel are typically very rough on their devices so even this use-case may not make sense.
The bottom line is, the price for a foldable phone needs to be closer to the combined price of a phone and tablet with a slight premium – let’s say around $1,500 today. At this price, it also needs to be extremely durable, scratch-proof and have an amazing warranty.
We desperately want a foldable phone but to be honest, there are few use cases where we can’t just grab a larger fixed-function tablet if we need the extra real-estate.
In fact, a 9.7″ iPad starts at $329 and goes on sale often. For $2,600, you can buy a $1,000 phone and almost five iPads which you can keep in your kitchen, bathroom, office, backpack and den. In short, you will always have a large screen nearby.
So yes, we are very sad. We desperately want a foldable phone – we aren’t really sure why but we won’t even think about getting one until we are sure it is durable and the cost is around $1,500.