Samsung’s original foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, was dogged by technical problems that delayed its launch. Even after the Fold went on sale, buyers were warned in a YouTube video to “use a light touch” and to keep the phone’s “articulated spine” (the hinge) “free from water & dust.” The water I sort of get, but seriously, how many pockets, purses, or bags are dust and lint free? Guess I’ll need to store my $2,000 Fold in a hermetically sealed pouch.
In Motorola’s official “Caring for razr” video, the company warns Razr owners to keep sharp objects away from the screen and close the phone before putting it in a pocket or purse. Motorola also explains that the phone’s “screen is made to bend: bumps and lumps are normal.” Wait what? The screen on my $1,500 phone is going to have bumps on it?
In all seriousness, if foldable devices are to catch on, and I still believe they will, manufacturers need to make some major improvements and buyers should wait for those changes.
SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)
Improved durability and all-day battery life
Today’s foldable phones are just too fragile, mostly due to their bendable screens. No one expects smartphones to be as rugged as Motorola’s old DynaTACs, but foldable phones should be just as durable as regular smartphones. The screens shouldn’t have bumps, lumps, bubbles, creases or any other flaw. The hinge shouldn’t stop working when exposed to normal levels of dust and debris. People should be able to use their phones in the real world, not a laboratory clean room. Lastly, the battery needs to last all day.
Folding design that isn’t a gimmick
Remember the Amazon Fire Phone with its 3D display? What about the Samsung Galaxy Round, which had a concave curve to its screen? Most people probably don’t, because those phones were based on gimmicks. For the record, I do not believe flexible, foldable, or bendable screens are a gimmick. As I’ve written about previously, foldable phones could finally push office workers away from the PC. But, a phone that folds must do so for a useful purpose…not just because folding is “neat.” If folding makes the phone smaller and more easily fit into a pocket or bag, that’s a useful purpose. The phone’s outer screen, if it has one, should allow you to perform useful tasks. The operating system and apps that run on the phone should take advantage of both the open and closed positions and transition between both seamlessly.
Right now, companies are charging a premium for folding screens and 5G. But, there’s a very small market for phones that cost more than a laptop and are more fragile than your grandmother’s china. Just as prices for flatscreen TVs, computers, and smartphones came down, so too will the price for foldable, 5G phones.
Wait for Apple (and others) to release their foldable phones
The folding Huawei Mate X is available now, but only in China. Other major handset manufacturers have either announced their plans for foldable phones or filed patent applications that hint at their foldable phone plans. In January 2019, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi showed off a foldable phone prototype and began taking votes on whether to call it the Dual Flex or the Mix Flex. LG, thanks to its subsidiary LG Display, has the technology to make flexible screens and is rumored to be working on a foldable phone. Google filed a patent application for a foldable device in June 2018. PC maker Lenovo, unveiled the folding ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop at CES 2020. Apple has been filing patent applications for “electronic devices with flexible displays” since 2011. And at their Surface event in October 2019, Microsoft announced the Surface Neo, a folding Windows 10x tablet-like device, and the Surface Duo, a foldable Android “phone.” Unlike devices with bendable displays, the Neo and Duo have ridged displays attached to hinged panels.
Look, Samsung makes amazing phones and tablets. I use a Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy Tab S6 every day, and they are two of my favorite devices. I’m also genuinely excited to see Motorola bring the Razr back as a foldable phone. But until there are more foldables on the market and flexible screen technology improves, prices won’t come down, foldable phones will remain too fragile for most buyers, and we won’t have a clear picture of which features are genuinely useful or just gimmicks.
ZDNET’S MONDAY MORNING OPENER:
The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8:00am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6:00pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet’s global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.
The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia drops into Fortnite with his mate Doom Slayer – Pocket-lint
(Pocket-lint) – Fortnite has always been the king of the crossover and now it’s at it again with Chapter 4 Season 1 with Geralt and Doom Slayer making an appearance.
The next big thing in Fortnite is now live with Chapter 4 Season 1 getting an all-new map and a whole lot more. One of those things is a new character called Selene, available from the get-go. But things will get interesting for The Witcher fans come mid-season when Epic Games adds Geralt of Rivia as Battle Pass skin.
As always, the Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks and as you progress through you’ll unlock items and whatnot. Geralt will be unlocked via that Battle Pass, as will Doom Slayer – of DOOM fame, of course. Other unlockable skins include Massai, Dusty, Nezumi, Helsie, and The Ageless. The Geralt unlock won’t be available until later on in the season, Epic says.
The latest season includes plenty of other tweaks and treats and makes use of Unreal Engine 5.1, making this the best-looking version of Fortnite to date on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
All of this will take place on a brand-new island with new points of interest that include The Citadel, Anvil Square, and Brutal Bastion.
The new season of Fortnite is up and running right now and you can get involved yourself. You can play Fortnite on just about anything right now and the download is of course free.
Writing by Oliver Haslam.
‘Elden Ring’ Reveals Free PvP Colosseum Update, Hopefully Ahead Of DLC Announcement – Forbes
FromSoftware has just released a new trailer for an upcoming free update to Elden Ring that drops tomorrow, Wednesday December 7.
It’s a PvP-focused update to the game which will herd players into battles into the many colosseums doting the map, hence why it’s called the “Colosseum Update.” They just released a new trailer for it, which you can see below:
According to the official press release about the addition, we have some confirmation on what exactly the modes are that will be added:
“The Colosseums of Limgrave, Leyndell and Caelid will open their gates, allowing players to engage in battles such as duels, free-for-alls and team fights.”
In the trailer, we see a traditional 1v1 battle at the start, but it progresses to players fighting each other’s summons, and then finally a 3v3 team fight battle which is well beyond anything the game is currently capable of now.
Elden Ring has spent many months balancing all of its magic and weapon skills in an effort to try to create more parity in PvP, which has turned out to be a significant part of the game, and the core of the game’s endgame once you’ve done everything in PvE.
There is a theory that I personally subscribe to, that FromSoft is revealing this PvP update now and launching it tomorrow so it will not get drowned out by a potential announcement this Thursday at The Game Awards. There are rumblings, and fervent prayers, that this would be the stage in which they would finally announce sizable, PvE DLC for Elden Ring. We are well, well behind the pacing of past DLC announcements from FromSoft games, given that Elden Ring came out almost ten months ago now, but it’s obviously a bigger game than past ones. Elden Ring DLC repeatedly is brought up as the “World Premiere” at The Game Awards that everyone is hoping to see, and these days, with the demise of E3, it’s pretty much the biggest place in the industry to debut things, outside of first party PlayStation and Xbox showcases.
That’s the hope anyway, but the concrete facts right now are just that this PvP update will come tomorrow, so get your builds ready and find some teammates in order to take on the toughest PvP challenges in the game yet. Should be a lot of fun.
After Backlash, Overwatch 2's New Tank Will Be Easier To Unlock For Free – Kotaku
On Twitter, Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller tweeted that Blizzard had reviewed data from Season 1 and decided to move Ramattra from tier 55 to tier 45 in the battle pass. And some challenges will be made “easier” to complete.
“Hey, all! Quick update on some changes coming to Season 2,” said Keller. “After reviewing data for Season 1, we’re moving Ramattra into Tier 45 of the Battle Pass and making a few more weekly challenges easier to complete. Excited for you all to see everything new in Season 2 starting tomorrow!”
This is part of Blizzard’s ongoing efforts to make progression in the shooter “more rewarding.” Of course on Twitter, players were mixed. While many seemed happy about the change, others were still upset that the hero was locked behind such a high tier of the pass, suggesting a lower tier would be better.
Now, it should be noted that unlike in the original Overwatch—which added all characters for free for all players with no restrictions—Ramattra will still be locked behind a paywall unless you grind. But at least now the grind will be less terrible and once you hit 45 you can stop focusing on challenges and the battle pass and just enjoy your new character. Well, unless Blizzard removes him like Mei or Bastion for a few weeks.
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