Oppo might be the next company to join the foldable phone market.
Credit: Tom's Guide
The Chinese handset maker told news outlets on Thursday (Nov. 29) that it could unveil a foldable phone at Mobile World Congress in February, according to The Verge, which earlier reported on the plans. Speaking to AndroidWorld, Oppo's Chuck Wang acknowledged that Samsung and Sony "are working on a foldable phone" and said that the world can "expect more news from Oppo on that topic, maybe at MWC."
Foldable phones were initially popularized by Samsung, which has been talking about working on one for years, but the technology is now making its way to more vendors. In addition to Samsung and Sony, Huawei is also working on foldable phones and other big companies have envisioned the possibility in patents.
Indeed, Oppo itself has developed patents that describe how a foldable phone design might work. One of those patents showed a design that allowed the smartphone to be folded out and up to triple its size, creating a smartphone and tablet experience in one handset.
While Wang's comments were noncommittal, they suggest that Oppo is working on something that it wants to bring to the market in 2019. And if it can't quite get it ready for Mobile World Congress, the company could wait a bit and unveil it later in the year.
Regardless, what is clear now is that the Android ecosystem will be filled with foldable phones in the coming years. And even Google, which develops the Android operating system these devices rely on, has acknowledged that and said that it's working on specialized versions of its software to ensure they properly adapt to foldable screen designs.
The big question, however, is whether Apple will follow suit. For now, the company seems content with its standard, flat designs, but whether it has something else planned for the future is unknown. For now, foldable phones are uniquely Android-based.