Sony is toiling away on an all-new smartphone with a foldable display to make the tablet-size screen easier to carry, a new report claims. The forthcoming flagship will be pitted against rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X. As well as a pliable OLED display, the new Xperia handset will boast support for 5G networks.
According to a new report from China (opens in new tab), the foldable phone is still in the very early stages of development inside Sony. Dubbed Xperia F, the new handset looks set to boast the same cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio that has become a trademark for the company, following the launch of the Xperia 10, Xperia 10 Plus and Xperia 1 this year.
- Sony Xperia 1 is a cinematic new flagship phone... but don't call it Xperia XZ4
- The best folding phones of 2019: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X, and more
That 21:9 widescreen aspect ratio makes the latest round of Sony Xperia handsets much taller and svelter than the competition. As such, the all-important fold will likely be vertical and not horizontal, like we've seen from the likes of Samsung and Huawei. So, rather than opening and closing like a paperback, the Sony Xperia F will fold open and close like a Star Trek communicator.
Motorola is rumoured to take an identical approach to the fold with its reimagined Motorola Razr reboot, which is expected to launch in the coming months.
Unfortunately, the report doesn't reveal whether Sony will fit the Xperia F with a smaller, secondary display to quickly dismiss calls or follow Google Maps directions when the primary flexible OLED is safely folded away. Motorola and Samsung have both taken this approach, whereas Huawei folds the display around the outside of the Mate X so that the touchscreen surface is always accessible.
Opting for a 21:9 aspect ratio makes watching movies and cinematic television on the morning commute an absolute blast, with no black bars around the content. However, the widescreen design results in very tall handset (or very long, depending on how you're holding it) that can be a little cumbersome to wield.
Being able to fold the display – effectively halving the physical footprint of the smartphone – should make that much less of an issue going forward. Whether Sony can keep the same 4K HDR quality seen on the Xperia 1 with its pliable OLED remains to be seen.
According to whispers from inside Sony, the so-called Xperia F is still in the very early stages of development, so we're unlikely to see anything emerge from the R&D laboratory anytime soon. Don't get too attached to the Xperia F name either, as we'd expect that to change before launch. After all, Samsung was widely-rumoured to use the brand name Galaxy F for its long-awaited foldable – before it was finally announced as the Samsung Galaxy Fold back in February.
As it stands, Sony has not yet announced a 5G smartphone. However, we expect this all-new, folding flagship handset to be 5G compatible, if Sony is serious about ruling the super-premium mobile space.