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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)

Go deeper

46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.