Over the past several months, Motorola has dropped hints that it would like to release a folding smartphone as the spiritual successor to its famed Moto RAZR family. Those intentions came more into focus when a patent filing revealed drawings of the device in question.
Now, a new report from Engadget all but confirms the company’s intentions to re-enter the fray to tackle devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X. "We started to work on foldables a long time ago," said Motorola VP of Global Product Dan Dery. "And we have been doing a lot of iteration."
According to Dery, Motorola doesn’t want to be last major player on the market with a production folding smartphone, which means that we likely should see its offering some time before the close of 2019. For reference, the Galaxy Fold will be available to the public in April, while Huawei is targeting a summer launch for its Mate X.
Given that folding smartphones have a plastic display, forgoing the more durable fixed glass coverings on today’s devices, the question of scratching and longevity inevitably pops up. With the Galaxy Fold, the display is protected when folded, although it leaves a rather unsightly gap (making the folded device relatively thick). The Mate X’s display is always visible no matter if it is folded or if it is completely unfurled. This means that the display is always prone to scratching or damage – especially when it is put in a pocket.
In reference to the Mate X, Dery explained, "The fact that you're touching [that kind of display] with your nails is scratching it. It has a short life right away, it starts dying the day you unpack it. But it's beautiful. That first day, it's beautiful."
He went on to add that a design that would protect the display – clamshell style, as seen in the images above – would be a better direction. “When you know the scratching issues you would be facing, you will have something that is very rapidly not usable."
Dery also goes on to discuss other potential design directions including a dual-hinge style display, which would increase the portability factor of the device. However, he also pointed out that making a tablet-sized device is not in the company’s plans at this time (which also meshes with the above design direction).
If previous reports are any indication, Motorola’s RAZR remake could be limited to around 200,000 units and it could have a price tag of $1,500 when released.