The Galaxy Z Fold & Flip 4 aren’t the only foldable devices that could be on the way

Folding phones hit in 2019, when companies like Samsung, Huawei and Motorola introduced its first bendable devices. With Samsung, Motorola and Google rumored to be developing new flexible phones, another milestone moment could be coming soon.

Samsung’s next foldable phones could be right around the corner. The tech giant holds its next Packaged event on 10 Augustwhere it is rumored to be released Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4. That assumes Samsung follows its previous launch pattern, which involved announcing the Galaxy Z Flip 5G in the summer of 2020 and Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 in August 2021.

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Sales of foldable phones are growing, but they’re still nowhere near as ubiquitous as standard phones. Shipments of foldable smartphones are said to have increased by 264.3% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to International Data Corporation. But IDC estimates that only 7.1 million foldable phones shipped in all of 2021, compared to 362.4 million phones shipped in the fourth quarter of last year alone.

Here’s a look at the rumored foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola and others said to be in the works.


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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: What we want to see


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Samsung Z Fold 3

Last year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung’s phone-tablet hybrid will reportedly be upgraded this year. Based on the leaks and rumors that have surfaced so far, it appears that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will be a moderately improved version of the current Z Fold 3. It can have a slimmer design, thanks to a slimmer hinge according to productive leakage Ice universeplus an improved camera on par with it Galaxy S22. Qualcomm’s recently announced Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 will reportedly 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-ins, making it one of the most expensive phones out there. But display analyst Ross Young, managing director of Display Supply Chain Consultants, speculating Samsung’s next-generation foldable devices will get a price cut.

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

Samsung Z Flip 3

Samsung’s current generation Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Samsung is also expected to launch a new version of its clamshell, flip phone-style Galaxy Z Flip this year. Like the rumors about the Z Fold 4, leaks about the Z Flip 4 indicate that it will be an update of the current model rather than a dramatic change.

The Z Flip 4 is expected to get a larger cover display according to Youngthe screen analyst, and Yogesh Brar, a writer for the website 91mobiles who claims to have received a full list of the Z Flip 4’s specifications. An upgrade like this will make it easier to check the time and notifications at a glance without having to unfurl your phone.

We won’t know for sure until Samsung announces a new version of the Z Flip, which will likely happen in August. Check out our full story to learn more about what we can see in Z Flip 4.

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Samsung's concept Flex S tablet was showcased at CES 2022

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

Samsung

A new foldable Samsung

But perhaps what’s more exciting is the idea that Samsung could soon introduce an entirely new type of foldable phone. In a tweet that appears to have been deleted, Ice Universe previously said Samsung could debut a third type of foldable this year. Young also looked in to say that a Samsung sliding phone was planned for production in 2022 but had been pushed further out.

If Samsung plans to launch a foldable in a new style, it certainly has a lot of ideas to choose from. The Korean technology giant showed off several new concepts at CES 2022 in January, including phones with a tri-folding screen and a screen that slides. But Samsung hasn’t given any indication that it plans to launch a new type of foldable anytime soon, so we’ll have to assume the concepts are just ideas for now.

motorola razr

2020 Motorola Razr

Angela Lang/CNET

Motorola Razr 2022

It looks like Motorola is preparing its iconic Razr for another comeback. The company teased a new version of its Razr flip phone with a dual camera, larger bezel display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor in a series of posts on Chinese social network Weibo, GSM Arena spotted. Earlier rumors suggested that the next Razr could have a cheaper price, a new pill-shaped dual camera and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, according to leaks from known leakers Steve Hemmerstoffer (via CompareDial) and Evan Blass (published on 91Mobiles).

We finally enjoyed it Razr from 2020 for its refined design and improved battery life. But CNET reviewer Patrick Holland pointed out that the phone’s $1,400 price at the time and other shortcomings, like the camera’s poor low-light performance, have held it back from being as good as it could be. Hopefully Motorola has addressed these concerns if the rumored third-generation Razr turns out to be real.

read more: Best Samsung phone for 2022

Google patent folding phone sketch

An image from a Google patent application for a foldable phone.

Google

Google Pixel Fold (or Pixel Notepad)

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 similar shape to the Opposite Finn N and a price lower than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, according to 9to5Google. The outlet also says the phone could be called the Pixel NotePad, but warns that the camera could be a step down from the Pixel 6s.

Google hasn’t said a word about any plans to launch a foldable phone yet. We also didn’t see any hints of a foldable Pixel at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference where it sometimes shows off new technology concepts. But given Google’s recent focus on hardware – which it emphasized at I/O of announces 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 Elec said Google previously planned to announce the device in the fourth quarter of 2022, but the company reportedly delayed the launch.

TCL folding phone

TCL’s foldable phone concept.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

A TCL foldable phone

TCL shelved plans for release a flip phone-style foldable the phone in 2021, but it’s not giving up yet. The Chinese electronics manufacturer showed off two new concepts earlier this year for phones with rollable and foldable screens. One concept has a screen that can bend inwards and outwards, while the other can fold up and expand the size of the screen.

TCL has not said when it plans to launch a foldable phone. But if and when that happens, the company plans to keep the price at $700 or less, TCL previously told CNET. Getting to that price will be challenging, but hopefully it will motivate other phone makers to make their foldables similarly affordable.

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Apple foldable iphone concept art

A fictional concept showing what a foldable iPhone could look like, by YouTuber ConceptsiPhone.

ConceptsiPhone

A foldable iPhone

Apple is one of the few major smartphone manufacturers that hasn’t released a foldable phone, and it’s unclear if it ever will. But rumors of an iPhone with a bendable display have circulated 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 two to three years away. Display supply chain analyst Young also said in February that Apple’s foldable iPhone would be delayed until 2025, according to 9to5Mac.

Waiting a few years to launch its first foldable might not be a bad idea. Foldable phones are expected to account for 1.8% of the total smartphone market by 2025, up from 0.5% in 2021, according to IDC. The market research firm also says that foldable devices are expected to take over a third of the premium Android phone market.

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