It sounds like an improvement
It sounds like they've improved the device to the point where it could properly be considered a beta, but there is a lot more work to be done to make it a reasonable consumer product.
Screwdriver wielding nihilists at iFixit have dismantled the revised Galaxy Fold, declaring that despite Sammy implementing "durability quick fixes" it proposed in a previous teardown, the device remains "alarmingly fragile". Samsung's unusual (and pricey) folding phone was initially set for launch in April but was withdrawn …
120k folds is 65 a day for 5 years. Given this is a gen1 product that is (mostly) for users who will ditch it and get the latest version after a year or two, i don't see a material difference between lasting 120k folds and 200k folds. Even 18500 folds is 50 a day for a year.
Repeatedly folding and unfolding the thing with a robot means all the folds are done in the same way under the same conditions. In real life, people will not always apply the same amount of force to the same area. It will also be folded/unfolded in a variety of different temperatures, humidities, dust conditions etc. So the real performance won't be known until it's been 'in the wild' for 6-12 months. Also, dropping from 6 feet seems not a very real-world test, and is also useless to state unless we know what surface it's dropped on. Carpet? Parquet? Concrete? Cushions?
In any case, kudos to Samsung for the progress on this because a few years ago this seemed like a pipe dream and now it looks like they're quite close to cracking it. A couple more iterations and it could be ready for the mainstream. And if you want a phone right now that will last more than a year, this particular version is anyway not for you.
"But it is notable that other vendors, like Microsoft with the forthcoming Surface Duo, seem to be inclining more to dual-screen designs, where each display can be tightly sealed"
Yes, we should make the distinction between bending screens (Samsung) and folding ones (Microsoft): and my money's on the folding ones.
I don't doubt that bending displays will have an important role, and may eventually win in the mobile market: a really flexible display will be something you unfurl from a device that's more like a cylinder than a rectoid, and you'll be able to decide just how much display you want to unroll for the task in hand.
But that level of flexibility, reliability and image quality is not in sight yet.
For the meantime—maybe the next five years?—I'd like to see some clever work with folding displays. As I've muttered before, it seems to me that a combination of clever glass design (using its lensing properties), nifty hinges (make the seam tight) and smart software (fooling the eye) may get us a long way towards near-invisible joins in folding displays. I'm pleased that MS are working on a Surface using this tech, and don;t expect the first iteration to be wonderful, but I do believe that for the moment, the future is foldable.
I would argue that M$ are just making a phone out of the NIntendo DS. It isn't foldable but two screens on a hinged platform. Nothing new really (like everything M$ innovates)
A foldable display would mean the display folds IMHO, not just the platform the display sits on.
Thoughts of a Surface double screen would be echoing lots of other attempts, but a foldable surface I don't see happening. I don't see real world use for a 13 inch laptop with foldable screen, much easier to break and damage etc.
They already are properly flexible and can be hit with a hammer - check out Samsung Youm, some 5 years old I believe. OLEDs are flexible but on phones/tablets have a glass front that solidifies them. Without the glass, I suspect the surface would be prone to scratching badly.
I can see these displays being used on things like car dashboards where the dash itself is the display rather than a rectangular thing stuck into a plastic dash - the possibilities are profound.
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In contrast, the design made by M$ seems to be much better.
Still won't buy anything that folds, either from Sagsmug or M$, or somebody else.
Will still prefer a single screen - for now. Let the fanboys have jolly good fun first, and based on their experience and feedback, better versions will be released.
How i imagine this product came to life....
At CES two execs are sitting at the bar ,
Sam turns to Mac and asks, if his company has any crazy products in the pipeline?
Mac replies "not since that toaster in 2000, we just make small changes and up the price these days. What about you? "
Sam retorts " see that tablet you got there, well we have folded it in half, shoved in a sim card, and calling it the next big thing"
I have watched several tech advisor testing the fold one put it on a auto closing and opening machine, the phone was not clamped properly and the pixels were damaged, but the tech advisor blamed the fold, most of the tech advisor try to deliberately damage the fold. If they bought the fold they would be more careful, if you spend £2000 for a mobile you would respect the care more.