Foldable phones are arriving, but a new forecast suggests they may evolve before becoming a mass market device.
Fewer than 2 million foldable phones will ship in 2019, according to the forecast by Canalys.
Foldable phones announced so far are the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X. The Samsung phone is priced at about $2,000.
Canalys suggests that cost is the main factor that will hinder adoption.
“The ‘fold-out’ design, with the screen on the outside, as used on the Mate X, will eventually lend itself to cheaper devices, as manufacturers won’t need to include as many cameras, nor a second outside screen, which the Samsung has, and the bend on the flexible screen won’t need to be as tight,” states Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton
However, such devices will arrive too late to market to impact the 2019 shipment forecast.
The objective of foldable phone makers for the first year is to build consumer awareness, according to Canalys.
“Foldable phones are now in mass production, and vendors have set realistic expectations for their sales performance,” stated Canalys senior director Nicole Peng. “Samsung and Huawei will account for the majority of foldable smartphones shipped in 2019, but high shipment numbers are not the priority. The goal is to capture consumer awareness, and each vendor wants to prove it can achieve the greatest technological advances with its new industrial designs.”