Some people still see them as inessential luxuries, especially considering the price tags attached to them, but it’s not hard to argue that foldables will eventually become commonplace. At least, that will be the case once all the pieces are perfectly in place, when flexible panels are no longer fragile and expensive, and when hinges are more reliable and more durable. Of course, it still depends on whether phone manufacturers actually join the program and start churning out foldables like they were the next flagship generation. It also presumes that all the popular brands will be making foldables, and it’s definitely starting to look that way. There are still a few holdouts, particularly from some Chinese sub-brands, but one brand has officially teased that it’s about to join the fold.
Despite all the marketing and Samsung’s aggressive push, foldable phones are still a risky venture for smartphone makers, especially those with fewer resources to burn compared to giants like Samsung and Huawei. The costs of manufacturing foldable phones are quite high, and their profit margins are not that large. Although they have improved a lot since they first came around three to four years ago, foldables’ durability and practicality are still very much in doubt as far as regular consumers are concerned.
That’s why it’s critical for some of the smaller players to jump onto the bandwagon, at least if they do want foldable phones to fly. The Oppo Find N’s more approachable price tag and handier size are taking things in the right direction, and it might have some company soon, at least according to OnePlus CEO Pete Laui.
Oppo Find N may be the foundation of the OnePlus foldable
A foldable OnePlus phone has actually been in the rumor mill for a while now, so this confirmation might not come as a complete surprise. Of course, a foldable phone can come in two to three forms these days, so it’s still uncertain which path OnePlus would take, at least until now. Lau showed off what was clearly a long hinge that took the foldable clamshell out of the equation. OnePlus’ first foldable phone would most likely fold like a small notebook, and we might not have to look far to see what it could look like.
It wouldn’t be so far-fetched to think that the OnePlus Fold, or whatever its name would be, will share many things in common with the Oppo Find N. Despite the two’s insistence that they aren’t related, Oppo and OnePlus did eventually merge their R&D departments, creating closer ties between the two companies. Some of the fruits of that relationship were outright rejected by some camps, forcing OnePlus to reconsider its decision to embrace Oppo’s ColorOS almost wholesale. That, however, doesn’t contradict expectations that the Oppo Find N would be the basis of OnePlus’ own foldable model.
OnePlus could, of course, do better than Oppo, and it definitely has to. The company has to distinguish itself not just in design and UX but also in overall value. Given how it has been pricing its handsets, there is a great deal of expectation that the OnePlus foldable will have a more accessible price tag, and it could even be the most affordable foldable phone in that category — presuming OnePlus sticks to its usual pricing strategy, that is.