As Samsung (When I unveiled his clamshell folding phone last week, the same question kept popping up in my social circles: Why?
I honestly asked the same thing. I'm not sure even Samsung knows it. They would win me over in the end, but only a little. With the semi-folded "Flex mode" in laptop style, you can place the phone on a table for hands-free video calls. That's pretty neat, I think. But … is that it?
The best answer to "why?" So far I have not come up with a very satisfactory one: Because (maybe) they can. And because they have to do something somehow.
Let's take a trip back in time to the early 2000s. The phones were strange, varied and no manufacturer really knew what was going to work. We had simple flip phones and Nokia indestructible stones, but we also had phones that twisted, slid, and contained chunky physical keyboards that seemed absolutely vital. The buddy! LG chocolate! BlackBerry Pearl! Most were pretty bad by today's standards, but it was at least easy to distinguish one model from the next.
Then came the iPhone in 2007; A rectangular glass plate that is less defined by physical buttons and switches than by the software that powers it. The device itself, a silhouette. This formula hesitated at first; the first Android Phones with swiveling keyboards, trackballs and various sliding pads. As iPhone sales grew, everyone else's buttons, sliders, and keyboards were boiled away as the designers emulated the iPhone's form factor. The best answer seemed simple.
Everything changed the same twelve years later. Phones have become … boring. If everyone tries to create a better rectangle, the fight becomes one of the hardware specifications. Which one has the fastest CPU? The best camera?