Why tease your foldable smartphone endlessly when you still can’t be the first?
This week, Royole, a display manufacturer, introduced the world’s first foldable smartphone. Called the FlexPai, the device is based on Android Pie with a custom interface. YouTube videos reveal the FlexPai is rather slow, but it does look futuristic. After years of Samsung teasing a foldable device, a new brand has stolen its fame. Companies trying to one-up each other is normal, but it feels quite disappointing. Samsung lost the race to be the first with an in-display fingerprint sensor and it has now lost the foldable device game as well.
Samsung’s not the first in the race for commercial foldable devices
Now, Samsung’s mobile chief has already said that the company doesn’t want to be the first just for the sake of it. Its focus is on quality and not on quantity. That said, as a long-term Samsung fan who still loves the company, I feel sad. Samsung was once innovating before everyone else, but it has now considerably slowed down while the competition from China keeps putting out new stuff ahead of everyone else. Samsung also has a timing problem. How can it be teasing a foldable device since CES 2013 and still get beaten by an unknown company from China five years later?
It hurts me as a fan, but sadly, not many of our readers seem to agree with me. In one of our polls asking whether people would be willing to pay more for experimental/research devices, very few voted yes. However, I still believe it’s the fastest way to test the market. Remember the Galaxy Note Edge or the Galaxy Round? Samsung hasn’t yet lost its mojo completely , but it does seem to have a timing issue with new devices and features. Experimental devices allow them both to be the first and also test the waters before a wider commercial launch.
And I get it, quality takes time. Slowing down software innovation makes sense. For example, Bixby was clearly rushed when it debuted last year and could have used more time in the oven. But hardware innovation needs to keep happening, especially at a time when everything on the market looks so similar. I also understand Samsung’s need to develope a proper user interface for the foldable device before bringing it to consumers, but at this point Samsung is in danger of being left too far behind in terms of innovation and setting the trends.
What do you think? Do you agree with me? Is Samsung too slow with hardware innovations? Let me know down in the comments!