Our phones are getting bigger. There are no two ways about it, and you certainly don’t need me to pontificate on how smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives. We have hit a tipping point, though. For the past two years over half of all web traffic has come from a mobile device, as we supplement (or replace) our computers with whatever it is we’re carrying in our pockets.
2019 will be a year in which we’ll begin to see some drastic experimentation with what the next wave of mobile screens will look like. Imagine if your phone was twice as wide and hinged in the middle with a seamless OLED display under plastic. It’s a bridge toward getting close to a full sized monitor in your pocket. Huawei, Samsung, LG, and Motorola are all tipped to have foldable screens on the horizon, while Royole’s FlexPai ($1,318.00 MSRP) became available for order last month. Apple reportedly has filed patents for a foldable screen, with no formal announcement.
Some user experience experts are taking a wait-and-see approach to how these screens should disrupt design decisions, and their hesitancy is tinged with feelings that this might be the first wave of a tech demo gimmick whose real impact won’t really be seen for a few more years (as the tech gets better and cheaper). Also interesting is that the language is built around an expanding phone and not around the appeal of a foldable tablet, even if the end result is basically the same product. There’s definitely a sense of novelty to the folding screen. If you saw one in the wild, you’d want a second look.
They indicate that consumer demand is there, and, even better, it’s reliable. Barron’s reported in 2018 that the larger screens have a “consistent ability to drive both volume and pricing power” over any other new features a phone may have. The report goes on to mention that processing tech right now for mobile devices might not be enough to offer any great new innovations, so the proven way to generate excitement and revenue with new devices is to increase the screen size.
At Rocksauce, we design and develop software no matter what the mobile device screen size. Reach out to us today to see how an innovation or design sprint workshop can encourage goal-setting, ideation, and innovation at your company.