Samsung and Huawei kicked-off MWC 2019 with their foldable phones and we're still trying to wrap our heads around the groundbreaking technology. Social media and forums are filled with optimists as well as pessimists, and this has become the hottest topic for enthusiasts right now.
Companies are ready to mass produce bendable displays, but one question still remains. How are we going to use these foldable phones in real life? How will the software compliment the hardware? It's going to take time to slowly understand different use case scenarios, and develop a finished product.
But, Nubia is taking this a level further with the launch of Nubia Alpha (styled as α). It's a combination of a watch and a phone, sporting a foldable display and the brand calls this a "wearable phone with a flexible display". To be honest, it's a fancy watch that offers more slightly more features than your regular wearable, but do we really need it right now?
It sports a 4-inch 960x192 OLED screen that roughly covers half your wrist. Even though the brand claims it to be a phone, the specs say a different story. It comes with 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory, and 500mAh battery. There's also a front-facing 5-megapixel camera. Nubia suggests the device will last 1-2 days of regular use, or a week on standby.
Just like the Apple Watch, it has a built-in eSIM which you can use for calls, texts, and all that other stuff SIM cards can do. It is water resistant, has activity and sleep-tracking along with a heart-rate sensor. Well, you can see movies on the watch if you don't mind standing with your arm lifted at the right angle all the time.
And, the OS is custom built. Meaning, don't expect kick-ass app support anytime soon. The OS gets voice controls, air gestures, and other intuitive controls, but we're yet to see how smooth they really are.
On paper, the watch sounds exciting but lacks any practical usage. Yes, it is technically a "phone", but then the same can be said about the Apple Watch LTE as well. The watch costs a whopping €549 (Rs 44,000) in Europe and expected to ship from the third quarter of this year.
Brands need to stop blindly following trends and think about delivering a usable product. You may manage to house a foldable display, but will it offer anything substantially better to the user in day-to-day life?