First released in 2019, folding phones have only spent a short time in the public eye. With just a few premium devices hitting the shelves each year, user interest has piqued, but the systems are still far from causing a commercial boom. This raises some interesting questions on how popular folding phones could become in the future, and whether our reliance on mobiles as entertainment systems could one day make them the new normal.
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The Device Basics
If you’re unfamiliar with folding phones, the concept behind them is quite simple. Essentially, they use a new technology called ultra-thin glass to open the devices like a book, doubling visual real estate. As an unproven tech, industry speculators were initially cautious about the longevity of these systems, thanks in part to the failures of early pre-release units. On full release, however, the devices were vastly improved, and appear to be on track to cope with the stated 200,000-fold count.
A New Point of Entertainment
It might be difficult for those of us still tied into traditional systems to imagine, but entertainment access on mobiles has exploded over the last decade. Perhaps the most profound illustration of this change on the mass market comes from YouTube. From a starting point of being exclusively for desktops and laptops, around 41% of all YouTube traffic today comes from mobiles. While this is slightly down from 2019 and 2020, likely owning to greater rates of Smart TV adoption, the numbers are still strong.
Similar strong performances can be found in the landscape of online casinos. Formerly the domain of desktop spaces, modern online casinos have leaned heavily into mobile access. Gaming on these systems now includes the same types of bonuses like free spins and deposit matches, the same ease of navigation, and the entire range of a website’s games. These are some of the main features that are ranked highly by review sites such as Nettikasino 247.com – an online review site of casinos in Finland, as they aim to provide unbiased judgments that can be relied on by consumers for their PC and mobile online casino needs. As a rare point where limited mobile input in no way inhibits the gameplay experience, the success of mobiles in this realm was inevitable.
Engagement and Experience
On a fundamental level, the availability of a larger screen for activities like watching streaming and playing games won’t completely reshape the experience. What it will do, however, is make participation that much easier to enjoy, owing to our love of larger and flashier displays. For many people, playing videos on TV or games on PC is preferable because mobile screens to are too small, but where does the threshold for this size lie?
We’ve already shown that smaller mobile screens don’t stop us from enjoying mobile entertainment, with the convenience factor already being enough to create a change. Given this reality, it stands to reason that closing the gap between mobile convenience and big-screen engagement would only make the call for mobile access bigger.
At this point in late 2021, the folding phone market has expanded significantly with each passing year, offering a CAGR of more than 21%. With mobiles being taken more seriously as both entertainment and work machines, combined with growing folding phone popularity, the mass adoption of these new devices appears all but assured. The only questions are whether or not these could eventually become the rule rather than the exception, and what this change could have on the way we live our entertainment lives.