It has been a revelatory week for foldable phones.
One clear takeaway is that Samsung is working on a new flip-up device, which could be bad news for Motorola. I’ve said a fair few times that Motorola’s flip-up shape makes the most sense for a foldable phone. It’s ergonomic, reduces phone size and it’s a familiar design that people will instantly recognise. Don’t discount the power of the warming embrace of something recognisable and nostalgic.
It’s also the one advantage Motorola’s upcoming Razr has over the current Samsung foldable flagship. Not any more, it seems.
Samsung is in the top tier for smartphone camera ability, performance, display and battery life. Plus, there’s a good chance the Korean company will bring the price of the Fold down. Motorola’s new Razr may have an uphill battle to compete against the Fold 2.
But what can it do to see-off Samsung’s competition?
Motorola’s ‘Moto Mods’, which are essentially clip-on accessories that add extra functionality, are delightfully old-school. They represent a different era of Android that prioritised customisation and choice at the expense of uniform design principles. They’re also a really good idea.
Clip-on 5G modules, clip-on batteries, clip on projectors and others can instantly improve the phone. Motorola may very well struggle to top Samsung in key specifications, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story. With a never-ending ability to improve certain areas of the phone – midway through the device’s life – Motorola users can always access the best possible tech.
There’s also the added benefit of finally making a genuinely useful productivity focused phone. I wrote earlier this week about foldable phones opening up new productivity possibilities because of their malleable shape. A suite of add-ons like stylus-pads, projectors and keyboards only cement that point.
Price, bundles & repairs
If Motorola does extend its Moto Mods to the new Razr, then it should start on the front foot and offer either a free Mod with every purchase or some other good bundle options.
Should Samsung does drop the price of its next Galaxy Fold, then this is a way for Motorola to compete even if it doesn’t directly discount the core device. It has done this before for previous Moto devices, so the company has form. The rumoured mid-range specs could be offset by the additional capabilities a Moto Mod could provide, and if one or two come free with the device, then all the better.
There’s also the issue of repairs. Samsung had to contend with a very public display durability problem in its Galaxy Fold. It has since been fixed and testing by journalists has shown it’s solid to withstand thousands of folds – as you’d expect from a device that costs nearly $2000. But this is new technology and there will be more hiccups down the line, especially as more manufacturers launch flexible display handsets.
An act of good faith from Motorola – or any other company making these devices – to fix broken displays, and/or make it easy for third parties to repair these displays, would go a along way when it comes to convincing people to shell out thousands of dollars.
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