Could 2021 finally be the year for foldable phones? It seems so, thanks to a recent report suggesting that up to three companies, who don't already have foldables, could be launching their first - and we've now heard that one of those flexing devices could be out before July.
This comes from prolific leaker Digital Chat Station, who said 'Green Factory’s first new folding screen is expected to debut on Q2' [sic]. The leaker refers to Oppo as 'Green Factory', and 'Q2' refers to April, May or June, so to translate we could see the company's first foldable phone soon.
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#DigitalChatStation Green Factory’s first new folding screen is expected to debut on Q2, which is much more interesting than tonight’s exploration version...😎March 11, 2021
By 'first' foldable phone, we're not including the Oppo X Nendo concept device. Sure, that was a folding smartphone from Oppo, but as a concept device it wasn't available to buy - presumably this new device is.
The aforementioned report mentioned Xiaomi and Google putting out debut foldables at some point in 2021 too - we recently heard about the Xiaomi foldable's form factor, and separately about the existence of the Google Pixel foldable phone, so it could be a busy year for fans of this kind of phone.
While Oppo isn't necessarily the most prolific smartphone maker, it's seemingly having a busy 2021.
The same day Digital Chat Station's news broke, Oppo launched its new flagship series of smartphones, led by the super-premium Oppo Find X3 Pro. Well, that seems premium now, but when Oppo's foldable phone comes out that could cost a lot more.
Another big phone launch in the coming months would be surprising given its proximity to the Find X3 launch, but its possible it'll be a limited launch - Oppo frequently puts out phones for certain regions only.
We'll have to wait and see what happens with this Oppo foldable phone, especially because we have no idea what it'll be like. Watch this space.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.