One of the big headlines in the industry during the last 12 months has been the innovation of the folding mobile phone. The technology is yet to be perfected – and to many people it’s marmite – but it certainly offers no shortage of possibilities.
Samsung has been one of the key innovators, and certainly the brand that’s made the most noise and succeeded in putting countless handsets in front of reviewers. But other manufacturers are working on their own models, or at least taking note of how the early efforts fare.
It’s too early to tell whether or not the folding phone will eventually ‘go mainstream’ and become as prominent in the industry as other innovations like fingerprint unlocking and front-facing cameras, as we’ve seen arrive in years gone by.
App and software developers are already considering what the new technology could mean for them and how their existing offering could be adapted to make the most of the extra screen space created.
Perhaps most interesting to see will be how app developers use both form factors – that is on a smaller screen while the phone is folded closed, as well as on the larger display. It’s a similar challenge posed to video game developers when the Nintendo DS was introduced, but one they conquered, albeit while changing the handheld market forever.
But beyond your usual lifestyle apps and traditional games, which other industries could harness the innovation of the fold to improve the product they offer to customers?
One industry that has prospered hugely from the rise of the smartphone is the online gambling industry. The mobile sector of online gambling has been a huge catalyst behind its overall growth as players increasingly demand a premium experience while on the go.
As phone tech has evolved, so too has the experience, but what possibilities does the folding phone offer? Of course, one of the first images to pop up is the classic poker ‘fold’ and one wonders whether this action could soon be performed physically.
Already, you can play roulette online and trigger the spin of the wheel with the swipe of your finger, but physically folding your phone to withdraw from a poker hand would certainly take that level of interactivity to the next level.
Immersion on the go
One of the big perceived advantages of the folding phone is that it allows you to effectively carry a large display around with you in your pocket. And while providers in the gambling industry have wrangled with ways to deliver a portable experience that is engaging to smartphone users, more screen real estate could relieve a few headaches for developers.
It will also enable players to enjoy more immersive casino experiences on the go, including live dealer interaction and an overall more colourful experience across a larger number of inches.
The waiting game
As we have discussed, the key in all of this is whether or not the folding phone proves to be a mainstream hit, which means many online gambling brands can do little else other than wait, with attention remaining on enhancing the mobile experience on a traditionally smaller screen.
But there will undoubtedly be very few tech developers in the industry who aren’t already pondering the possibilities.