The rumor was published yesterday by Chinese mobile phone network CNMO, but it cites no specific sources.
CNMO claims that Sony will launch something called Xperia F next year, the F standing for “foldable.” It will use a flexible OLED made by Samsung and keep a 21:9 ultra-wide aspect ratio as its latest smartphone.
Allegedly, the phone will not fold horizontally like the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Huawei Mate X. It will instead fold vertically, like the Motorola Razr.
A fan mockup video shows how a Sony phone may look like.
Why it makes sense for Sony to bet on foldable?
Despite having no success in obtaining any significant market share with its Xperia line, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has said that the company has no plans to stop making smartphones despite its mobile group’s losses— $879 million alone in the last fiscal year.
In fact, Yoshida said that the company sees the smartphone business as indispensable for its future: “Sony [has been] centered on entertainment since our foundation, not daily necessities like refrigerators and washing machines,” he told journalists last week. “We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable.
For Yoshida, younger generations no longer watch TV and their first touch point is the smartphone, so it makes sense to think that Sony wants to bet on what most analysts consider the next wave in the phone business: foldable phones.
After all, foldables are even better for entertainment than regular phones, offering a bigger screen when unfolded to watch video content and play games.
It’s also a young market. If Sony manages to deliver a really cool foldable at the right price, it may have the opportunity to establish itself as a new golden standard, the new object of desire that can supersede iPhones and Galaxies alike.
The rumor claims the Sony foldable will come out in 2020, so we will see soon enough.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.