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Phone makers are experimenting with funky designs

Samsung teased a foldable smartphone at a 2018 developer conference. Photo: Samsung
Samsung teased a foldable smartphone at a 2018 developer conference. Photo: Samsung

After years of reducing the smartphone to as much a pure thin screen as possible, the industry is finally ready to start experimenting again.

What's happening: Foldable phones are expected from a number of device makers, while others are experimenting with clamshell and other abandoned but once-popular configurations.

  • Samsung, which briefly showed a foldable phone prototype at its developer conference last year, is expected to ship a consumer device "early this year."
  • Xiaomi posted a video this week of co-founder Bin Lin with a phone that folded in two places and appeared sleeker than what Samsung showed.
  • LG is teasing what appears to be gesture controls for its Mobile World Congress phone launch.
  • Motorola, meanwhile, is planning a pricey, modern version of its once-popular Razr clamshell device, per WSJ.

Our thought bubble: Yes. these devices are coming, but whether they offer enough benefit to justify their added cost remains to be seen.

Go deeper: Have phones become boring? Well, they're about to get weird. (Wired)