Get ready for a future with a bend in it — 2019 looks set to be the year of the folding smartphone. Multiple manufacturers are tipped to be releasing folding smartphones in one form or another, including Samsung, Huawei, and LG. You can another name to that list, because it seems Chinese phone manufacturer Oppo will be releasing a folding smartphone, too — and it will be coming to MWC 2019.
According to Dutch tech site LetsGoDigital, the news was confirmed by the product manager of Oppo, Chuck Wang, in a gathering of Dutch journalists at Oppo’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China. While he was unable to share any details about the phone itself, he was able to confirm that the phone would be showcased at Mobile World Conference 2019, which takes place in Barcelona, Spain at the end of February.
No specs have currently been shared, but it would be safe to assume that a new folding smartphone would be the jewel in any phone manufacturer’s crown. Therefore, we expect to find flagship specs on such a phone. Despite knowing that the phone will fold, there’s also remarkably little else we know about the potential design. Apple has applied for multiple patents for the shape of a foldable iPhone, showing the versatility of such technology. Oppo has also looked at a variety of designs for such a device, leaving us unsure what the eventual look of an Oppo folding smartphone will be.
Oppo isn’t a name that’s particularly well known in the West, but it’s a huge phone manufacturer in other territories. Oppo regularly comes in fifth place as the world’s largest phone manufacturer — making a bigger player than HTC, LG, or Sony. Oppo made waves in 2018 with the Oppo Find X — a revolutionary smartphone that cut out all bezels, and that used a mechanical slide to hide the phone’s camera from view. Oppo’s interest in the cutting edge of mobile technology is clear, and it’s not afraid to put its money where its mouth is. According to that same meeting, Oppo is increasing research & development funding to 10 billion Chinese yuan — roughly $1.4 billion dollars.
What’s the upshot of a potential Oppo folding smartphone? Price. With Samsung’s foldable phone rumored to cost up to an eye-watering $2,500, an Oppo phone could provide a much cheaper alternative for anyone looking to get some folding action.