If you're a phone fan, China's the place to be right now: some of the best phones in the world, especially the best folding phones, are only available in the Chinese market. But Honor plans to change that with the next generation of its folding phones, so while the brilliant Honor Magic V isn't coming to western markets its successor will. Speaking to The Verge, Honor said that the next Honor Magic folding phone will be going global in early 2023.
That's enormously exciting, because while the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are really great folding phones their Chinese rivals are really interesting devices too, and many of them are relatively affordable. But while Motorola's third generation Razr, the Oppo Find N and models from the likes of Huawei and others are all very impressive, you can't buy them here.
That's a shame, not least because it means there's less pressure on Samsung: if there's one thing we know about the smartphone market, it's that fierce competition drives innovation and also drives down prices. So 2023 could well be the year of the fold as well as the year of the Rabbit.
More folding phones is good news for everyone
Honor isn't the only big name working on its own folding phones for the US and EU markets. Google is too, although the rumoured 2022 release for its Google Pixel Fold phone is looking increasingly unlikely. And while Apple's keeping characteristically schtum about its own plans, we're pretty certain that a folding iPhone is in the labs at Apple Park even if any release date is still some years away.
I've written a lot about my love of folding devices, whether that's folding phones or fancy laptops such as the wonderfully clever T3 IFA award-winning Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold Gen 2, which manages to cram a 16-inch display into a 12-inch laptop: they solve the problem of portability when you don't want a microscopically tiny device but you don't want one that takes up loads of room either. And the more folding phones we see, the better the engineering and the better the quality: as with other areas of tech, good ideas spread.
I very much doubt the iPhone 15 is going to fold, but I'm very sure that a folding phone is in my not-too-distant future. I think Honor's decision is the beginning of something good, with more firms making more phones for more people outside their home markets. Better phones with better prices too? Count me in.