To most consumers, the idea of a foldable smartphone already has a high enough barrier to cross in order to get them to buy one and actually start using it in their daily lives. That barrier is simply the novelty of the design, which will represent something between a head-scratcher and an example of the kind of bleeding-edge geeky tech that turns off ordinary buyers. Couple that with the high price tag these foldables are commanding — almost $2,000, for example, for the Samsung Galaxy Fold — not to mention the reports of design issues and flaws, and it’s no doubt enough to turn off many buyers completely. At least for a while, until this new smartphone category improves and does a better job of establishing itself.
Speaking of design issues, that seems to be at the heart of a video that’s been making the rounds showing a Huawei Mate X foldable handset which appears to be having screen problems similar to those that plagued the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
If 2019 was the year foldable smartphones finally started to become a thing, 2019 was also the year of all sorts of foldable problems — from delayed releases to problematic designs and reports of expensive foldable devices that broke and essentially turned into pricey paperweights. Like this one:
This is great! Huawei Mate X
— Max Jambor (@MaxJmb) December 26, 2019
One theory floating around is that this particular Mate X — with its flashing, broken and completely unusable screen — may have seen some dust or debris find its way underneath the display. Similar to what happened to some of the early Galaxy Fold units which caused so many problems that Samsung decided to delay its launch for several months. Compounding the problem here, though, is the fact that unlike the inward-folding Galaxy Fold (which closes up the screen like a book) the Mate X’s main screen stays exposed on the exterior of the device when it’s folded, which means more opportunities to scratch and damage the device.
Whether the problem here was something that was the fault of the user or some sort of underlying design flaw, as we said, seeing things like this will definitely keep many ordinary consumers away from foldables for a while yet. Once the price comes down, and as the durability of these phones improves, though — well, that’s another story.