Samsung Folds.. or Rather, Doesn't

Posted April 22, 2019
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When a new piece of technology comes along - a real game-changer, life changer, amazing new piece of technology, it's anyone's guess what it looks like or how it is supposed to work.

Let's talk about airplanes.

When the airplane was first invented, it looked a lot like the Wright Flyer.

Well, it was the Wright Flyer, because that's all there was.

It was made out of cloth and wires and wood, and you sat in the middle. There were two big wings a lot of smaller wings. In fact, it looked more like a box kite than an airplane.

Then, slowly, over time, a kind of architecture for airplanes evolved.

The two wings became one.  The plane became a slender aluminum tube.  The engines were slung under the wings, and pretty much for the past 50 years or so, since the advent of the Boeing 707, all planes have pretty much looked alike.

You can't really tell the difference between an Airbus and a Boeing (software not included).

The same thing happened to phones.

The earliest mobile phones were all over the place. No one knew what they were supposed to look like. Did they have physical keys (Blackberry) or a pull out drawer with a keyboard (remember those?).  Were they square or oblong? Did they look like a brick?

But slowly, as with planes, one architecture came to dominate.

Now, all smartphones pretty much look exactly the same, which is to say, they look like an iPhone,  Steve Jobs - game, set, match.  (Except he is dead).

So if you are in the phone business and it is 2019, and you want to differentiate yourself, you better come up with something new and novel, which is no doubt what Samsung thought when they came up with the idea of a folding phone, 

It can be a small phone that fits in your pocket, or it can be a big phone that you can watch a movie on. Just fold it in half. 

Good idea.

Bad execution, as anyone who has had an old credit card they wished to dispose of, can testify - Fold it over a few times and it breaks in half.  Which is what appears to happen to the Galaxy Folding Phone. 

Note the video from the Wall Street Journal's tech reviewer, Joanna Stern:

So today, Samsung announced that they were suspending the release of their folding phone in China. 

Good idea.

Hopefully, Boeing does not try a folding plane.

They seem to have enough troubles already.