back to article Gartner squints into its crystal ball: A pholdable phuture is very far away

Gartner has predicted foldable phones will capture a puny 5 per cent of the flagship market by 2023. "We remain very cautious, for different reasons," Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner told us. "It will take several iterations before they are reliable and durable." These reasons boil down to manufacturing, materials …

  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Well, the would say that, wouldn't they?

    Gartner has predicted foldable phones will capture a puny 5 per cent of the flagship market by 2023.

    I guess they've got to say something but at the moment I reckon it's too difficult to call. If they're reliable then then screens and devices could take off, otherwise they will perforce remain niche. I also think that future trends will increasingly be driven by Asia and China and these are notoriously difficult to predict, but it was definitely the Chinese preference for huge screens that prompted Apple to adopt them in order to stay in the market. And Shenzhen's ability to develop should no longer be questioned: when Samsung first teased their folding screen I think most people imagined they might have a monopoly at least for a year or so. Instead we're going to see at least three companies release foldable screens about the same time.

    I guess we'll know more towards the end of the year once people have had some of these devices in the pockets for a while to test their usefulness and their reliability.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, the would say that, wouldn't they?

      The Chinese created the market for large screened phones. They were the first to sell them, Samsung followed and eventually Apple followed too. They could do the same for folding phones. If the up to 7" monstrosities you can already get aren't enough for them, I could see folding phones becoming more popular there than the west to give people what they want even if they have to put up with a few compromises most of us wouldn't be willing to make.

      Personally I think Gartner is being overly optimistic - 5% is something like 70 million devices.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Well, the would say that, wouldn't they?

        The Chinese created the market for large screened phones. They were the first to sell them, Samsung followed

        You do have a very selective memory. Samsung was definitely first with the monsters and became popular in China as a result.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well, the would say that, wouldn't they?

          Just because you are ignorant of the large screen phones that existed in China before Samsung did theirs doesn't mean they didn't happen. Perhaps if you had friends who actually lived there you wouldn't assume Samsung invented phablets (if one could really be said to 'invent' what's basically "the same thing, only bigger")

  2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Blah, blah, blah gartner... as in I wonder who paid for this particular piece of "research"? A tech company that doesn't own any patents in foldable displays, perhaps?

    As for foldable display tech... just how long does anyone think that it will really survive? With no screen protectors available for it and most users not being the most gentle or forgiving of types, my guess is months and definitely not years. I'd love to be surprised by this and for a foldable display to continue working without visible or electronic/sensor issues for a good few years however experience of moving parts and portable devices suggests otherwise.

  3. DropBear Silver badge

    And I'm predicting that by 2023 the foldable market will be anywhere _except_ around 5%. It will either turn out blisteringly expensive and/or fragile and stay far below 1%, or it won't and therefore end up taking the world by storm, with 5% reached well before 2023. Funny thing is I'm profoundly unconvinced my odds of being wrong or right are the slightest bit worse than Gartner's....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You neglected "fold-able LCD's will be used for clothing with people literally wearing their mobiles".

      And yeah, while I don't expect it to happen, I still expect it to be more likely than Gartner's expensive guesses.

      1. quxinot Silver badge

        "No, I'm sorry, I can't go out today. I have to stay home and charge my shirt."

        The future is stupid.

  4. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Predictions are hard, especially about the future

    I don't know the future, but I do that Gartner's and everyone of their ilk have a 0% success rate of their predictions, yet somehow still get paid to predict. Must be nice to be always wrong but have people still value your opinion of the future. I know the foldable phone market won't be 5% in 2023. With that single pronouncement, I am now more accurate than Gartner's has ever been.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Fashion and economics

    Are impossible to predict, every year Pantone tries to predict ' this years colour trends' with a fifty/fifty chance of either being right or wrong.

    All other consumer goods are the same. Who knows what some manufacturers may have waiting to spring on the markets?

    The likes of Gartner and others like them, I am sure get paid regularly by thosr trying to drive the markets.

    I'm waiting for the holographic Minority Report wrist phone, pholding phlaps, phlipping 'ell.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foldable phones will go down a treat with prison smugglers, best invention for them since rounded corners.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      For prison smugglers, I suspect rollable would be a tad more comfortable.

  7. a pressbutton Silver badge

    Reminds me of 3d tv

    That was the future once.

    When I can walk around the back of the screen and see the back of the actors heads, i _might_ start thinking about getting one.

    I have a note 8 (about all the large flagships are +/- 1cm on height / width) and it just fits in a pocket.

    I can take it out of my pocket, unlock and activate using the fingerprint with right hand and then start using it.

    No need for 2 hands

    With a folding phone you probably need 2 hands to unfold and once unfolded it will invite a different mode of use - more like an ipad.

    but I am an old fogey and am reminded that many people in asia and young people just have a phone - no laptop or tablet and so I do think the use will grow dramatically over the next few years - much more than 5% of flagships.

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Does anyone still make 3D TVs?

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
        Trollface

        Every TV is 3D ... unless they make them paper-thin, at which they'll become 2D.

        1. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Oh, something only an atom thick is 3D...

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Don’t know about “make”, but I did a bit of search and found a 55” Panasonic 3D ready TV for £329.99, down from &1,099.99.

  8. Rainer

    This will be Itanic all over

    Anyone remember those "predictions"?

    Nobody wants to have a phone as a consumable, which the current "foldables" really are.

    After oh-so-many folds, it's done and you'll get a new one.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: This will be Itanic all over

      I've used foldable phone for years but it's really difficult to get them to re-boot after you fold them.

  9. WereWoof
    Trollface

    I thought Apple made foldable phones already? *Coughs and backs out*

  10. rskurat

    no, just no. That is not the proper use of the word "ecosystem." Stupid, glib PhDs are no less stupid & glib for throwing around terms whose subtleties they are completely unfamiliar with. - a Biology PhD

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