Folding smartphones have proven challenging for hardware makers, but they have been forging ahead nonetheless with little sign of slowing down. It is not just Samsung and Huawei or getting in on the action either. Motorola, one of the most iconic brands in the cell phone space, is said to be gearing up to debut a folding smartphone of its own.
Not to be confused with a flip phone, this modern day Razr handset would be in the general mold of a Galaxy Fold or Mate X (though obviously not a carbon copy of either model). A person who is apparently close to Motorola told CNET to expect the company to announced the folding Razr phone before the end of the year.
This is presumably a dual effort—Motorola (owned by Lenovo) would be throwing its hat into the emerging folding smartphone market while simultaneously reviving the Razr brand. If a patent filing from 2017 is any indication, the folding phone would fold inward like the Razr flip phones from a past era used to do.
The big challenge is avoiding the same issues that have plagued both Samsung and Huawei. Samsung has had a particularly rough go at the folding phone market—the initial launch of the Galaxy Fold in April was marred by a design flaw, forcing Samsung to yank the device from the market. It finally relaunched earlier this week.
As for Huawei, the Mate X was originally supposed to launch in mid-2019, but it was delayed in June and pushed to September. Then in August, Huawei announced it was again postponing the launch.
These delays and issues underscore how tricky it is to develop a folding smartphone for the masses. Screens for the most part have been rigid up to this point, and implementing a bendable display on a handset that is likely to be used often is not easy. It's also expensive, as we have seen with the pricing on both the Galaxy Fold and Mate X.
In that regard, Motorola is facing an uphill battle. Still, it must think it has a handle on the situation if it is truly eyeballing a 2019 unveiling.