Mobile

I’d love to see a smart flip phone come to the U.S.

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Samsung seems to be a prominent name in tech news recently, particularly because of thecompany’s worldwide recall on the recently released Galaxy Note 7. However, not all Samsung-related news is so dire. According to recent leaks, Samsung appears to be prepping for a newer version of its Samsung Galaxy Folder, a smartphone that uses the clamshell design of mobile phones from yesteryear.

Leaked as the Samsung Galaxy Folder 2, the Android device has specs on the lower end of the spectrum. The device is rumored to feature a 3.8-inch 800 x 480 display, 1.4GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card). The device is also said to feature an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, while the front-facing camera would have 5-megapixels. A 2,000 mAh battery is expected to power the device.

Obviously, the Galaxy Folder’s main appeal isn’t that it’s any type of powerhouse – the selling point is, of course, in the design. The Galaxy Folder brings back the popular design from the mid-2000’s as a means to keep the phone compact. An added bonus of this design is that the screenis protected when the phone is not in use (assuming that the phone is closed, that is). As an extra added bonus, you would get to re-experience the glory days of T9 once more. And since we’re already this deep down the nostalgia rabbit hole, let’s not forget that this design is the last great design that allowed us to somewhat “slam” our phone when finishing a particularly frustrating conversation. Try doing that with an on-screen button.

I know what you’re thinking: “Where can I buy one of these bad boys?” If the device ends up being real, your best bet would be China. This would not be the first, nor likely the last, smart flip phone to enter the market, but like the rest of them it also probably won’t come anywhere near the U.S. Probably for good reason, too.

In case it wasn’t clear (as these things often aren’t when speaking through text), I was being a bit sarcastic when I assumed that everybody would want to buy one. I don’t think that would be the case at all. However, I do think that there’s an audience for it. Not everybody needs or wants giant screens, and I’m willing to bet that some people still greatly appreciate a clamshell design. It’s also vastly different from the style of phones we have offered today – which is, ultimately, a flat slab that typically only differs in color, branding, and material. It’s unique. Plus, with a smaller display, low resolution, and a 2,000 mAh battery, it probably has great battery life.

It might just be the nostalgia in me talking. I loved me some flip phones back in the day – my Katana II was one of my favorite phones. But that was a time before QWERTY keyboards went mainstream, before Swype and SwiftKey existed, before we could binge watch entire seasons of Netflix series, or before we could play games like Hearthstone or Clash of Clans on our phones. I think for the mainstream user (i.e. those who have been exposed to smartphones for a while and use them extensively) that a Galaxy Folder wouldn’t be a good fit, nostalgia factored in or not. But I do think there are still people out there – particularly ones who are too timid to adopt smartphones (yes, they still exist) or perhaps a starter smartphone for younger kids – who could still benefit from this retro design.

If I had to guess, though, we’ll probably never see it happen. But it’s still a fun concept, even if we in the States have to admire it from afar.

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