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Foldable Phones Don’t Yet Have a Reason To Exist, Says Honor

This may be the year that we finally be able to get our hands on foldable phones, judging by the number of foldable devices reportedly in the pipeline. But opinion remains divided on just what purpose these flexible handsets serve, even among phone makers.

Royole FlexPai Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Royole FlexPai Credit: Tom's Guide)

Tom’s Guide sat down with the George Zhao, president of Honor, at that company's launch of the Honor View 20 this week, and he revealed that he has yet to be convinced by foldable phones and questioned why they exist. 

"From a technology point of view, they are good," Zhao said. "But why do we need a foldable phone? What can the experience offer the user?"

For Zhao, one of his biggest concerns is form factor. He believes that the current two approaches he has seen just don’t work.

"Maybe [the approach is] putting two phones together? But that’s too thick and not convenient," he said. "Or it could be a phone that folds in half and into a square... from my point of view the technology needs to bring an improved service. That’s more important."

MORE: Why Apple Will Be Late to Foldable Phones (and Still Win)

Zhao revealed Honor is watching closely where things are going, but he still needs to see the benefits of the form factor.

"We are looking into foldable phones but for us it is all about experience," he said. “I am the president of Honor but I am also a phone user so I have to ask myself: how does this benefit me? Why do I need this? And I don’t need the technology."

Zhao’s remarks come at a time when Xiaomi is showing off an impressive concept video of its foldable phone, which works a little differently, folding three ways and keeping a normal phone aspect ratio in the process.

Maybe this alternative concept will convince Honor that foldable phones are the future. But for now, it’s notch-free screens that are that phone maker's focus, as Honor's View 20 uses a punch-hole design on its display to house the phone's front camera while expanding screen real estate.