Motorola Razr+ 2024 foldable phone: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google I/O 2024 has come and gone, and despite rumors and expectations, a new foldable phone was nowhere in sight. Of course, the Google Pixel Fold is hardly the only game in town, nor is it the only one that’s expected to debut really soon. Perhaps beating both Google and Samsung to the punch, Motorola’s next-gen foldable could be hitting shelves as early as June, though it will still be competing with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip rather than the OnePlus Open and other larger foldables. Unofficial information about the device is quite thin, but the ones we’ve already heard are quite substantial and paint an interesting picture, one that could make the Motorola Razr+ 2024 or Motorola Razr 50 Ultra the clamshell foldable to beat this year.

Designer: Motorola

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Design

According to sources, this year’s Motorola foldable would look exactly like last year’s Motorola foldable, save for some changes in screen size. That means the Motorola Razr+ 2024’s external screen will still cover the entire surface of the upper half of the phone’s back, leaving only room for the camera lenses themselves. It might sound like a letdown and a sign of lack of innovation over at Motorola, but sticking to a design that works is also a sign of maturity, especially since the design is only a year old.

Image courtesy of: MSPoweruser

Motorola’s design for its Cover Screen is admittedly divisive. On the one hand, it’s the only foldable of its kind that utilizes the whole area, while others make do with tiny rectangles, even tinier circles, or a square with an uneven cutout to make way for cameras. On the other hand, this also makes for a weird arrangement that actually cuts out part of the display anyway, making the image or text in that area inaccessible.

Motorola is also the only brand that allows normal apps to run on that external screen, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Regardless, it seems to be sticking to its guns for one more year, offering an experience that, while faithful to the design spirit of the original RAZR, isn’t afraid to go beyond to offer something new and useful.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Specs and Software

While the Moto Razr+ 2024, or Moto Razr 50 Ultra, won’t look any different on the outside, it will be a very different beast on the inside. Of course, there’s the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 leading the changes, and there will supposedly be a larger external screen at 3.9 inches up from last year’s 3.6-inch Cover Screen. There will also be 12GB of RAM paired with 256GB of storage, while the battery has been expanded from 3,800mAh to 4,000mAh.

Given the expected launch windows, the 2024 Razr will be running Android 14 out of the box, and while it might sound like Motorola would upgrade it once Android 15 comes out, there’s not really any certainty. After all, the Motorola Razr+ 2023, which launched with Android 13, still received Android 14 half a year later. Despite being once owned by Google (now under Lenovo’s stewardship), Motorola’s track record for Android updates sadly isn’t that impressive.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Cameras

Part of the big upgrades coming to the Motorola Razr+ 2024 according to those rumors is an upgrade to the camera system. It will now have not one but two 50MP cameras, one of which has a wide lens while the other is capable of 2x telephoto zoom. Given how Motorola advertises its foldable phone as a sort of mini camcorder, more capable cameras are definitely in order. The 32MP selfie camera, on the other, might remain the same as last year.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Price and Release Date

There has been no word on the exact date when the Motorola Razr+ 2024 will be launched, which might go by the name of Motorola Razr 50 Ultra in other markets, but all signs point to yet another June release. In fact, the device was spotted making its way through a certification process, suggesting that its debut is close at hand. The leak also confirms what we’ve heard about the design, that it would be a dead knocker for last year’s model.

Image courtesy of: 91mobiles

That leak also “revealed” the color options for the Razr+ 2024, which include Blue, Orange, and Green instead of last year’s Black, Magenta, and Peach. But the more interesting detail about the phone is its starting price of $999 for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. That’s the same price for half the capacity last year, so it will definitely make the Motorola Razr+ 2024 the cheapest flagship foldable in the market.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Final Thoughts

Although they are younger than the larger foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold, clamshell-style foldables have become better accepted and sought after. They’re usually more affordable and look more stylish, bringing to mind the flip phones of old. They’re pocketability makes a bit more sense to most people who don’t need a phone that turns into a tablet, and their accessible price tag makes them feel more like regular flagships rather than overpriced novelties.

Of the many foldable flip phones in the market right now, the Motorola Razr+ 2024 seems to offer a more reasonable balance of features and price, especially one from a reputable brand. It looks like this year will show a significant upgrade, at least internally, while still keeping the design that has won fans. That said, Motorola’s Android updates don’t inspire confidence, and we’ve yet to see it make any improvements in that regard.

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Top 5 Quirky Phone Designs That Actually Make Sense

Smartphones today seem to look very similar, varying only in the shape of the camera bump and the color of their backs. Sometimes, the materials might be different, too, but the same large-sized “candy bar” form factor has become the standard for all the smartphones currently in the market. There was a time, however, when companies were a bit more daring, experimenting with phone designs and features in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. That did lead to some rather eccentric and sometimes even ridiculous designs that make us question the sanity of the minds behind them. But there are times when those odd designs of the past actually have important relevance today. Here are five such phone design oddities that we wished existed or still exist, and some alternatives in case you may have been smitten by their quirky appearance.

Designer: Google, Motorola

Undying Handset: Project Ara

Google’s Project Ara inspired the idea of a modular smartphone whose components you can easily swap to upgrade or repair parts. In theory, this would make the phone last forever, or at least as long as the base is intact and parts continue to be manufactured for it. In practice, it was a very ambitious endeavor that could neither meet expectations nor present a viable business model that wouldn’t bankrupt manufacturers. In the end, that sustainable and immortal smartphone remained just a dream, at least in that idealistic and perfect form.

Alternative: Fairphone 5

Designer: Fairphone

Fortunately, a part of that dream is actually possible and even sustainable in more ways than one. Although you can’t hot swap components on the fly, the Fairphone 5 at least offers a way for owners to change important parts of the phone, like batteries or even cameras, to keep them running almost forever. There are some limitations, of course, but if all you want is a phone that will last you for almost a decade instead of just two years, this self-repairable design pretty much has that in the bag.

Mobile Shutterbug: Nokia N90

One of the biggest uses for smartphones today next to social media is taking photos and videos. In the days even before the term “smartphone” was coined, even the most advanced handsets from the likes of Nokia could barely hold a candle to point-and-click cameras. That’s why the quirky Nokia N90 was prophetic and way ahead of its time, envisioning a day when smartphones would be used like camcorders, though with a bit more awkwardness due to their inflexible designs.

Alternative: Nokia x Nothing Concept

Designer: Viet Doan Duc

While clamshell phones are back in season thanks to foldable screens, the folding and twisting design of the original Nokia N90 remains a distant memory. This concept tries to answer the question of “what if?” and mixes two famed brands’ design languages to craft what could be the perfect camera phone. It makes you feel like a pro photographer or cinematographer, holding up your phone not with shame but with pride, capturing not only the moment but also people’s attention in a good way.

Pocket Book: YotaPhone Dual-Screen Phone

Designer: YotaDevices

E Ink devices are becoming more popular these days, especially after the addition of features like stylus support and color. These displays are easy on the eyes and the battery, allowing the screen to show the same thing for days without requiring a recharge. A few years back, a small company tried to bring those benefits to the smartphone in the oddest way, by putting an E Ink screen on its back. Although it can be used for reading e-books on the go, its main purpose was to have a battery-saving always-on display that is a bit more dynamic and useful than typical AOD implementations.

Alternative: Onyx BOOX Palma

Designer: BOOX

That said, a phone-sized Android device with an E Ink display might be an even more efficient design, which is what the Onyx BOOX Palma is offering. Technically, it’s an e-book reader that’s the size of a regular phone and actually runs Android, which is the standard for BOOX’s devices. This means it has access to the same apps you have on your regular phone, but without color. You also don’t have cellular connectivity via a SIM card, which might be a deal-breaker for a phone but a great deal for distraction-free reading and mobility.

Productive Minimalism: Minimal Phone

Designer: The Minimal Company

BlackBerry might have joined the likes of Nokia and LG as just parts of the annals of mobile history, but its squarish shape and QWERTY keyboard are forever etched in the consciousness of even the least tech-savvy person on the planet. Many have tried to recreate that magic, but this rather elegant yet odd phone puts a twist to it. It combines the iconic BlackBerry design with an E Ink screen and a minimalist aesthetic, promising distraction-free productivity by actually limiting what you can do on the device. It can even make it easier to actually reply to or post on social media, though the drab grayscale screen is probably going to make that a little less enjoyable anyway.

Alternative: Clicks QWERTY Case

Designer: Clicks

The idea of a BlackBerry-like experience might tickle the fancy of smartphone users, but none of them will be willing to ditch their powerful, colorful, and highly functional smartphones. Clicks is a case that tries to bring the best of both worlds, and it’s practically just a case that slides onto an iPhone to provide that tactile typing experience. You won’t have to give up your favorite apps, especially the ones you need to actually be productive, but the burden of being disciplined and ignoring distractions is now on you instead.

Shapeshifting Multitasker: Astro Slide 5G

Designer: Planet Computers

A phone that opens like a mini typewriter has actually been around since the days of the Nokia Communicator and its kin, but that design proved to be more complicated than they’re worth. After playing with that same design, PlanetComputing shifted to a slider that still provides that typing experience while retaining the exact same functions as a phone. Unfortunately, such a mechanism proved to be just as clunky and unreliable, and the software platform didn’t exactly lend itself well to a landscape screen.

Alternative: Any Foldable Phone

Designer: OPPO

These days, you don’t have to rely on a physical qwerty keyboard to have that same mini laptop experience. With foldable phones now more common, you can tap away on a more flexible on-screen keyboard when the device is only half-folded. At the same time, however, you have both phone and tablet functionality in your hands. Admittedly, the design is far from perfect, and we’re still waiting for more affordable foldables coming in the very near future.

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Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 lets you play with a pen without breaking the bank

The announcement of the new Apple Pencil Pro has put the stylus in the spotlight again. This input tool isn’t just limited to tablets and large screens, though that’s where they have the most use because of the bigger digital canvas. Thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Note, now the Galaxy S Ultra series, it has been demonstrated that there is also some benefit to having a stylus on smartphones. Unfortunately, Samsung does seem to have a monopoly on that design or is at least the best-known example, but it isn’t the only game in town, and Motorola just revealed its latest contender that makes an admittedly attractive offer, at least if you’re not too intent on making pro-level artwork on it.

Designer: Motorola

The stick inside the Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) is exactly that: a stick that works in place of your stubby finger. Unlike the Wacom-powered S Pen of the Galaxy S Ultra phones, it doesn’t have pressure sensitivity, rotation and tilt detection, or Bluetooth-enabled button functions. That’s actually not a big deal-breaker if all you really want to do is scribble notes, annotate pictures and documents, or even start a rough sketch that you’ll continue on a computer or laptop. For these purposes, the Moto G Stylus is more than sufficient, especially with upgraded sensitivity and new software arriving in this model.

The rest of the smartphone is a bit of a mixed bag, though thankfully leaning more on the positive side. It runs on a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, which is the same processor it used for last year’s model. It does have more memory this time around, with 8GB offering a bit more wiggle room for apps. Another thing that is the same is that it still has a headphone jack, though no one will probably complain about that.

The fourth-gen Moto G Stylus 5G does bring some considerable upgrades to the table, starting with a larger 6.7-inch 120Hz screen, though it’s still stuck with a 1080p resolution. The 5,000 mAh battery might still be the same, but it now supports 15W wireless charging on top of fast 30W wired charging. The main camera still has 50 megapixels but has upgraded specs. It is joined by a new 13MP ultra-wide camera, while a new 32MP selfie shooter is on the front.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 isn’t going to win awards when it comes to specs, but its $399 price tag is easily a fourth of the launch price of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Motorola’s stylus-toting smartphone, however, does score points when it comes to looks, with a vegan leather material, a clean, minimalist rear design, and two colorful options that aim to inspire your creativity just by looking at it and touching it. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) goes on sale on the 30th of May.

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Sharp still makes smartphones and its latest design is beautiful but a little off

The mobile phone market is a very aggressive one, so it’s no surprise that even big companies bow out eventually. Nokia raised the white flag after numerous failed attempts with both Windows Phone and Android. BlackBerry also closed shop after failing to find a profitable market for its QWERTY phones, while LG opted to focus on its other businesses other than mobile. Some brands, on the other hand, simply downsize their operations, like HTC mostly in China, and Sony only through online shops. Sharp, is part of this latter group, though its presence has been so small you’d hardly notice it still existed. In fact, it just announced its latest handset, and while the Sharp AQUOS R9 looks rather elegant in its simplicity, a single design element, unfortunately, mars its otherwise clean appearance.

Designer: Sharp

When it comes to minimalism, the two cultures that are considered to be the epitome of this style and lifestyle are Scandinavian and Japanese. In that regard, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Sharp’s new smartphone embodies minimalism almost to the extreme. It barely has any branding on the back of the phone aside from the small “AQUOS” and “LEICA” texts in the camera circle. With flat surfaces and edges, plain colors, and the lack of almost any embellishments, the Sharp AQUOS R9 is like a breath of fresh air in the smartphone market.

Unfortunately, it’s because of that very simplicity that your eyes are immediately drawn to the one conspicuous element on the phone’s back: its cameras. The design, while simple, looks a bit skewed, lopsided, and uncertain as if it can’t decide if it wants to be a square or a circle, the two predominant camera designs in the market today. Even more unbalanced, despite being an even number, are the camera lenses, positioned diagonally and off-center and with slightly different sizes. We’ll just have to take Leica’s unspoken word that this is the optimal placement for these cameras.

In terms of hardware, the Sharp AQUOS R9 looks quite competitive, at least on paper. It’s powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 processor with 12GB of RAM, with a large 5,000mAh battery to keep it running. The 6.5-inch Full HD screen boasts TV maker Sharp’s Pro IGZO OLED technology and is capable of 240Hz refresh rates. Those two odd cameras on its back both have 50MP sensors, and the front-facing camera for selfies and video calls has a similar 50MP hardware. As mentioned, Sharp is proudly flaunting LEICA’s brand, indicating how its imaging system has been approved by one of the biggest names in the optics industry.

There’s no word yet on how much the Sharp AQUOS R9 will cost or if it will even be available outside of Japan. It’s definitely an odd design choice, one whose elegant minimalism is juxtaposed with an asymmetrical camera bump. It’s not ugly, for sure, but it’s an appearance that looks a little confusing and disconcerting, creating a bit of a visual discomfort whenever you try to appreciate its clean looks.

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Foldable iPhone Needs to Happen: 5 Reasons Why Foldable Phones are Here to Stay

Apple just announced what might be the biggest upgrade to the iPad line since the iPad Pro was introduced in 2015. In addition to switching to an OLED panel, with all the benefits that it entails, as well as gaining a new Apple Pencil Pro, the new iPad Pro is possibly one of if not the thinnest tablets in the market, especially for its 13-inch size. But while Apple’s new tablets are definitely worthy of attention, the company’s fans are still holding their breath for a foldable iPhone. Rumors claim that could be coming in two years, but it could also be canned at the last minute, just like the AirPower wireless charging mat if the design and performance don’t meet the meticulous company’s standards. Then again, some probably consider foldable devices as a passing fad, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Apple should launch a foldable phone sooner rather than later because these devices aren’t going away, and here are the reasons why.

Designer: Semin Jun

1. Content is Still King

Chances are, you’re using your phone less for calls and more for content, which does include activities like instant messaging and chatting. The screen is the most important part of the device because it is the part that we see and use the most. Content is the primary reason for having a smartphone, whether it’s for consuming content or sometimes even creating it, so any technology that lets people enjoy more content or gives them more ways to enjoy content is always a winner. Is it any wonder, then, why phablets or phones with large screens are now the norm, despite how much Apple ridiculed its size at first?

Foldable devices solve this in two ways. Large foldable phones in the style of the Google Pixel Fold offer an experience similar to a mini iPad mini that you can still shove in your pocket and use as a regular phone to some extent. In theory, it delivers the best of both worlds, with a screen that can contain as much content as possible while still in a portable format.

Conversely, clamshell-style foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip series strike the problem from the opposite end. It provides a screen experience that’s exactly like a normal large phone but lets you conveniently cram the device in very small purses and pockets. It still prizes the role of content but delivers it in a design that doesn’t get in your way because of its size.

2. Falling Prices

One of the reasons why people avoid foldable phones and why they see them as luxurious fads is because of their rather mind-blowing prices. Yes, it’s expected that novel technologies and designs would cost more at the start, but foldable phones have been around for almost half a decade now, and yet most still cost a premium flagship and a half. Fortunately, things are changing for the better, even if slowly.

Designer: nubia

As the technologies and components become more common, the cost of their production will start to decrease as well. Given that there’s still plenty of room for newer designs that will involve more costs, high-end foldable phones won’t be going away any time soon. At the same time, however, that still leaves the door wide open for options on the lower rung of the price ladder. The new nubia Flip 5G, for example, is currently the most affordable among the relatively cheaper clamshell foldables. Sure, it does cut corners in a few aspects, but that is also proof that you can have “mid-tier” foldable phones in this market.

There’s definitely a great deal of interest in a cheaper book-style foldable, and that might be coming this year if not from Samsung then from its growing number of rivals. Admittedly, it might take another year before more affordable foldables become more common, but it’s something that will happen sooner rather than later.

3. Design Refinement

Even after five years, the foldable phone design is still relatively young. Given how it strays so far from normal phones, it’s not surprising that perfection still feels so far away. In other words, there’s still much to be done, and smartphone makers continue to push the boundaries, refusing to settle for the status quo. In a way, it’s a matter of pride for these brands, as well as refusing to admit defeat after investing so heavily in foldable designs.

Images courtesy of AppleInsider

Foldable phones are getting thinner to the point that a folded phone no longer feels like you have two regular phones stacked together. At the same time, others are cramming more powerful and larger cameras into these ultra-thin devices, trying to get them on the same playing field as any other flagship model. While standard smartphone designs seem to have settled down after many tumultuous years, things are just heating up for foldables. There’s still a lot to be explored, and we’re far from reaching the peak.

4. Stylish Trendsetters

Smartphones have graduated from being technological products that only tech-savvy people can truly appreciate to lifestyle items that reflect the owner’s design tastes and personal preferences. Smartphone expressiveness is becoming an important factor in how people choose devices these days, from the design of the cameras to the overall style of the phone itself. That’s part of the reason why “flip” foldable phones are reported to be outselling their larger cousins, precisely because they bring back that classy image of flip phones from decades ago.

Designer: Honor

Yes, you can dress up your regular phone slab as much as you want, but the way you open and close a foldable phone is going to be fashionable for quite a while. And you can also dress them up as much as you want, and may even offer more customization options and creativity with the styles of cases and accessories used. Everything you can do on standard phones, you can also do with foldables but with more pizzazz and a “wow!” factor.

There’s also the aspect of offering more customization options inside as well. The foldable screen is a bigger canvas you can play on, and some external Cover Screens can get creative with their designs as well. It’s a new playground for designers and creative users who want to truly make their smartphones an extension of themselves.

5. Innovation Has Just Begun

Foldable phones are just the start, however, because they are the most accessible and easiest to comprehend. Once the idea of foldable screens has become cemented in people’s minds, it will be easier to introduce newer designs that can provide even better solutions. The current foldable designs are far from perfect, but they’re paving the way for future foldable devices.

Designer: Samsung

We’re already seeing that in the PC market with the introduction of foldable laptops, but we don’t need to go that far for proof. Samsung has already shown off working prototypes of tri-fold devices that turn the phone into a larger, and more conventional tablet design. We’ll see other foldable technologies unfold (no pun intended) in the future as well, including a phone that folds both ways. And don’t forget those rollable screens that offer an alternative answer to the same screen size problem.

Apple is rumored to unveil a foldable laptop next year, with a foldable iPhone following in 2026. Honestly, the order should probably be reversed, given how MacBook owners are more meticulous about how new designs affect functionality, sometimes negatively. Either way, Apple really needs to jump on this train soon, not just because it’s trending but because it can have a significant impact in driving innovation in this space forward by leaps and bounds.

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Google Pixel 8a official: A more affordable way to experience Google’s AI

Even before AI and machine learning became buzzwords, Google was already utilizing these technologies behind the scenes to power services like Search and Google Assistant. In line with recent trends, however, it has started applying and advertising AI for anything and everything, especially for its Pixel devices. AI features, however, are normally accessed through online services, which incurs security and privacy issues, or on the device itself, which requires powerful hardware that’s often available only on more expensive flagships. That’s the kind of situation that the new Google Pixel 8a is trying to change, offering a more accessible device to access Google’s AI-powered features and services for years on end.

Designer: Google

The Pixel 8a is practically the Pixel 8 in both design and spirit. It has the exact same appearance, though in a slightly smaller size and one important change in materials. The back of this newer Pixel phone is a matte composite instead of the Pixel 8’s glass rear. The color options available are also slightly different, with the Pixel 8a leaning more towards fun and saturated hues like Aloe green and Bay blue. Otherwise, the two are almost exactly identical, which some Pixel fans have grown pretty fond of.

The Pixel 8a even shares the same Tensor G3 processor as the current flagship, though we won’t be surprised if we find out later that it has been dialed down a bit. That said, it still has enough power to support almost all of Google’s AI features on the Pixel, from Circle to Search to Gemini assistant for summarizing pages or notes to removing background noise from recorded video. There will still be some features exclusive to the Pixel 8, of course, but you can already enjoy most of what’s available on the Pixel 8a, especially when it comes to photography.

It will definitely need it because one of the biggest corners that Google had to cut was the camera system. Neither the 64MP main camera nor the 13MP ultra-wide has autofocus, and both have slightly lower specs than the Pixel 8. In other words, the Pixel 8a will rely more heavily on AI and algorithms to compensate for the camera hardware’s limitation. There are also some other key differences, like a slower (but still fast) 18W charging speed.

All in all, you’re getting nearly the same Pixel 8 experience for $200 less, with the Pixel 8a going for $499 for 128GB of storage and $549 for the first-ever 256GB option for a Pixel “a” series. Aside from the camera, none of the “downgrades” are deal-breakers, making the Pixel 8a a very worthwhile investment for the future, especially since the phone will also be getting Android updates for seven years.

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iPhone 16S concept mimics the Rabbit R1 format to reinstate that a phone is the best pocket AI device

We are still living with the iPhone 15 and its variants; the era of the iPhone 16 is further away from now. As known, it’s customary of Apple to drop its new seedlings (iPhone variants, if you like) in September every year and it looks like there is nothing unusual this year as well. Like every other year in the past, since Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone – feels like it was a century ago – iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro variants will arrive with new features.

A lot of them are leaking in bits and will continue to do so until the launch date. Irrespective of that, we will continue to have our own wishlists: long battery performance… please, elaborate AI integration into the iOS, and perhaps smaller screen real estate…hmm! When everyone else is putting their money on predicting the possible large display sizes of the iPhone 16 Pro Max, the Phone Industry is taking an ‘S’ route: A concept of an iPhone 16S that looks to take design cues from the Rabbit R1.

Designer: Phone Industry

For reference, the Rabbit R1 isn’t a typical gadget, and so is not its design. The boxy little AI device is designed to learn from your commands and do more than what the average smartphone can do. That is until the recent debacle of reviews that are showing that the real-world evolution of the Rabbit is far from its advocated details. Anyhow, this is not about what the Rabbit R1 does, it’s about the identical-looking (minus the hold bars on the top and bottom) iPhone 16S concept because the best AI device you can have in your pocket – in the foreseeable future is a phone!

Perhaps then the form factor of the concept phone in question may be stolen from the Rabbit R1, it does have some interesting ideas reliving its iPhone 16 identity (as the rumors hold it for now). The iPhone 16S is taking the expected Capture Button idea from the forthcoming iPhone deals, to give us a pocket camera-like physical clicking button from the yesteryears.

So, the hypothetical capture button on the opposite side of the iPhone 15 Pro like the Action Button, gives this iPhone a more camera-like feel. While Apple is considering on reworking the camera array in the upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, this concept sticks to the S series iPhone basics and uses just one – obviously multi-capability – camera in the rear. The highlight for me – besides the square form factor – of the iPhone 16S concept is its all-metal body and an interesting pattern around the Apple logo on the back. What do you think?

 

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Google Pixel 8a: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google’s annual developer conference is fast approaching, and with it comes announcements of new devices that will showcase the company’s software for years to come. The Google Pixel Fold 2, which may be known as the Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold, is already making headlines and becoming the center of attraction, but it is hardly the only mobile device expected to be unveiled this month. As part of the more affordable “a” series, the Pixel 8a may sound uninteresting at first glance, but a few leaks and rumors paint a more curious picture of the Google Pixel 8a, making it a feasible candidate to be your 2024 purchase.

Designer: Google

Google Pixel 8a: Design

For those terribly disappointed by rumors of the changes that the Pixel 9 series will be making to a distinctive design, the Google Pixel 8a will offer a refuge. It still bears the same aesthetics of its namesake, namely a rounder and gentler appearance coupled with the “visor” camera design that Google’s phones have been using for three generations now. That said, the Pixel 8a will bring its own twist, making it perhaps even more interesting than its predecessor.

Image courtesy of: SmartPrix

For one, there are clues showing a matte surface for the phone’s rear rather than the traditional glass. This not only improves the grip of the device but also a bit of visual embellishment. This material change could go hand in hand with the “fun” colors that will be available for the phone, which might include Blue and Red, though those could also just be new official cases.

Image courtesy of: TechDroider

Perhaps a bit more interesting is the information provided by Evan Blass, a.k.a. evleaks, about the sustainability story of the Pixel 8a. There’s mention of the use of recycled materials, which could refer to either the back panel, the aluminum frame, or both. It will definitely be a huge design win if the Pixel 8a turns out to be Google’s most sustainable phone, especially considering how long it will be supported.

Google Pixel 8a: Specs and Software

In line with its current practice, we don’t expect to see a huge difference when it comes to the Pixel 8a’s hardware. It will be borrowing the same Tensor G3 as the Pixel 8a, but perhaps a bit watered down in performance. The display will be a new 120Hz panel, up from the Pixel 7a’s 60Hz, with an even brighter 1400 nits. The same trio of cameras that’s on the Pixel 7a will make its way to this year’s budget phone, so don’t expect a world of difference in terms of image output. What’s new is a 256GB storage option, which also shakes the pricing up a bit.

In other words, the Pixel 8a will be a very incremental update to the Pixel 7a and a step down from the Pixel 8. It’s not a surprising state of affairs, as it gives Pixel fans an option to grab the Google experience without burning a hole through their wallets. What will make all these worthwhile, however, is the software that runs on the device, and that one is expected to be fresh and new, at least compared to the hardware.

The Pixel 8a will naturally run Android 14 at launch, with updates to Android 15 immediately coming. More importantly, however, it will be running parts of Google’s Gemini AI suite, with tons of AI-powered features for search, photography, and more. Google is also promising 7 years of software updates, quite a feat in the mobile world, though it’s not clear how many of those will be actual Android upgrades versus security patches.

Google Pixel 8a: Price and Release Date

With Google I/O set for May 14, the timeline for revealing new devices is just around the corner. There are rumors that the Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold will be announced a few days earlier, but there’s no reason to expect the Pixel 8a to get special treatment. If Google doesn’t break from traditions, orders for the phone will start on that day as well.

As for the price, Google is thankfully keeping the figures the same, at least for the base model. For 128GB of storage, the Pixel 8a will go for $499, or the same launch price as the Pixel 7a. This year, however, a 256GB model is supposedly in the works, and that will go for $599. They’re not exactly “cheap,” but they’re still well below the usual $800 to $1,000 that consumers pay for with a brand-new flagship.

Google Pixel 8a: Final Thoughts

It’s not really strange that smartphone companies and their marketing engines tend to focus on the more expensive high-end products. After all, those are what make the most profits and also have the biggest expenses. That’s not to say they’re always the best, and definitely not for all people. The Google Pixel 8a, despite the stigma of being a “cheaper” version of a flagship, seems to be shaping up to be one interesting design and could be more worth your money in the long run.

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nubia Flip 5G Foldable Phone Review: Finally, A Foldable Phone You Can Afford

PROS:


  • Simple yet beautiful design

  • Large, bright, and vibrant foldable screen

  • Distinctive "porthole" external screen design

  • Attractive and affordable price point

CONS:


  • Dated hardware and software

  • Unimpressive camera output

RATINGS:

AESTHETICS
ERGONOMICS
PERFORMANCE
SUSTAINABILITY / REPAIRABILITY
VALUE FOR MONEY

EDITOR'S QUOTE:

The nubia Flip 5G delivers the essentials of a foldable phone experience without burning a hole through your wallet.

In order to sell more foldable phones, this niche market segment needs to be as common as regular, non-folding phones. These normal phones, however, appeal to the masses because they can cater to a wide range of buyers, including those with tighter budgets. There has long been a clamor for more affordable foldable phones, both the larger book-style design as well as the clamshell type, but few manufacturers have dared to heed the call. The nubia Flip 5G is arguably the first flip-style foldable to really bring the design to the masses, boldly claiming the title of most affordable foldable. Nothing comes for free, however, especially in this industry, so we naturally wonder what nubia had to sacrifice to meet such an unbelievably low price point. We give the nubia Flip 5G a good turn to find out.

Designer: nubia

Aesthetics

Right off the bat, you wouldn’t be able to tell the nubia Flip 5G’s price just from its looks. The word “cheap” has unfortunately acquired a negative reputation, but there is definitely nothing cheap about this phone’s design. Aside from the large black disc on its back, which we’ll get to later, the phone is a poster child for minimalist design, simple yet evocative in its pleasing appearance. There is not a line, edge, or corner out of place, making it exude class and style that would shock you if you knew the price tag it carried.

nubia didn’t skimp on materials either, giving the phone a matte AG glass for its back that not only adds a better grip but also makes the “sparkling sand” surface of the design stand out even more. This is better seen on the Cosmic Black cover which gives you the impression of looking at a starry night sky, while the Sunshine Gold of our review unit gives off a more calming and ethereal presence. The aluminum alloy frame isn’t far behind with its zircon sandblasted finish, adding texture that won’t be easily smudged by fingerprints.

Of course, the nubia Flip 5G needs to have cameras and a second screen on its back, and this is done just as tastefully as the rest of its design. The large black circle is located dead center, giving it symmetry and balance that is admittedly becoming less common in smartphone designs, foldable or otherwise. Once the screen lights up, however, that darkness becomes something like a window to another world, a technological equivalent of the porthole of old ships. This gives the phone a completely different vibe from other clamshell foldables that, while not unattractive, tend to focus more on the technical functionality at the expense of overall design.

Ergonomics

Foldable phones promise a different level of usability and flexibility, but they also demand some changes in the way we use phones. For example, we need to open them up to be able to fully utilize their functions, but the external screen also offers some interactions while the phone is closed. Being able to comfortably and confidently hold such a device in both forms is even more important with foldables than it is for regular, flat smartphones.

Fortunately, the nubia Flip 5G delivers exactly that, and in both forms no less. Holding the folded phone is the easiest thing to do with one hand, and you don’t even have to turn the block around because the external display will automatically adjust itself depending on how you’re holding it. Whether your top is bottom or your bottom is top, you can instantly dive into the notifications, controls, or the camera without having to turn it right side up.

That said, the nubia Flip 5G is admittedly taller and wider than other flip phones, so those with smaller hands might have even more difficulty using it with a single hand. The flat, textured edges help with the grip, but reaching for the other side of the screen with your thumb will still be a tedious task. Then again, most phones these days really take single-handed use for granted, so it’s not exactly alone in this area.

Performance

So far, the nubia Flip 5G seems to punch above its price when it comes to design and comfort, so it raises the question of how the brand was able to push that price tag so low. The answer, if you haven’t guessed it already, is in the hardware. It’s not terrible, mind you, but you would do well to manage your expectations that this isn’t a $1,000 phone.

If you were to really put the flip phone in a box, you would file it under the “mid-range” category. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor it uses is from way back in 2022, and its 8GB of RAM sounds almost meager. Fortunately, this combination has enough silicon muscle to drive a fluid and responsive user experience (especially if you boost the RAM by 12GB by taking away some internal storage space), so you might not even notice the difference. Yes, games need to be set to medium or lower, and certain activities will really raise the temperatures, but there are no show-stopping flaws that would make you throw the phone in frustration.

Even better, the 6.9-inch 120Hz OLED foldable display is actually impressive in its brightness and performance. You’ll have to fiddle with the refresh rate settings to get the right speed you want, but the screen is no joke when it comes to responsiveness and colors. Thanks to the phone’s hinge design, you’ll hardly see the crease unless you intentionally go looking for it. Your finger with definitely feel its existence, but you’ll barely notice it in day-to-day operations. The 1.43-inch circular OLED screen on the back shares these same properties, minus the flexibility, but its small size looks odd when placed side-by-side with other flip phones. At the same time, however, this allows nubia to craft simpler, more beautiful, and less distracting experiences rather than giving you another phone on the back of your phone.

In addition to older hardware, the nubia Flip 5G also runs MyOS 13 which is based on, you guessed it, Android 13. We’re past the time when new devices would come out with old Android versions, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. In 6 months, Android 15 will also be out, making this version very old in terms of features and bug fixes. What makes the situation a little worse is that we’re not confident about nubia’s track record in pushing timely updates, so new owners of this foldable phone might be stuck with the same Android version for a long time.

Battery life is a bit of a mixed bag. On paper, its 4,310mAh capacity is definitely the highest in this foldable category, but the older technology of the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is less battery-efficient, so it all evens out at the end. The 33W charging speed, however, makes up for its short battery life, letting you get as much as a 50% charge in just 15 minutes. In other words, you’ll still be charging almost every night, despite having a bigger battery capacity.

nubia’s cost-cutting strategy, however, really shows when it comes to the cameras. The 16MP front-facing camera is serviceable and takes OK selfies, but for all intents and purposes, you’ll probably end up using the main 50MP camera even for the latter. There are two sensors on the back of the nubia Flip 5G, but you can actively use only one of them as the 2MP camera is really just a depth sensor. That means you’ll be relying on that lone 50MP shooter for everything, including a 2x lossless digital zoom. And yes, there is no ultra-wide camera at all.

While megapixel count isn’t always everything, it still matters when that’s all you really have. In practice, the nubia Flip 5G’s lone camera is like a hero, doing everything to the best of its abilities, even when it sometimes fails. Images are passable and at least have enough details to make the mark. Colors, however, can sometimes look a bit washed out or dull, and there is a clear loss of detail when you zoom in. There’s no OIS, so you’ll have to make sure your subject stays still for a second or two. On the upside, this rear camera takes great portrait photos with pleasing blurs and correct separation of subject and background. With so many smartphones boasting impressive photography chops, the nubia Flip 5G sadly comes up glaringly short of expectations. Then again, it’s not exactly that shocking given how much you’re paying for it anyway.

Sustainability

Compared to regular phones, foldable phones are still infants, and some brands are just as new to playing this game. In that sense, it’s really not surprising that using more sustainable materials is probably the farthest from their minds at this point. They first want to establish the durability and reliability of their design before they change the formula to boast about the use of recycled plastics and metal. The nubia Flip 5G is no different in this regard.

That said, it naturally takes the topic of durability very seriously, even if it doesn’t make any guarantees about even being splash-proof, let alone waterproof and dustproof. The waterdrop-style hinge that allows it to fold completely flat does come with the claim of having withstood more than 200,000 folding and unfolding actions. There is a bit of a crunching sound when opening and folding the phone, though, but that’s probably more from how rigid the hinge is rather than anything breaking inside.

Value

If this were a regular smartphone, we’d consider it pretty basic to the point of being disappointing and leave it at that. But the nubia Flip 5G isn’t your regular smartphone, not by a long shot. It’s hardly the first clamshell-style foldable phone either, but it’s definitely the most affordable one in this specific category. It starts at $499 for 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but $699 will get you double that memory. When you consider that something like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 starts at $1,000, then it’s really no contest.

That said, nubia’s real competition would come from its peers, like the TECNO Phantom V Flip launched last year. Yes, the $600 price tag puts it above the nubia Flip 5G, but it also comes with some important upgrades, like a more recent processor, faster charging, and more importantly, a better camera system that includes an ultra-wide shooter. It all boils down to how much you’re willing to cut out for a basic foldable experience, and you might be surprised at how much the nubia Flip 5G is able to deliver for less.

Verdict

Foldable phones are here to stay, though it’s taking quite some time for them to become the norm. Part of it is because of consumer hesitation regarding seemingly fragile devices, but an even bigger factor is the price attached to such products that may easily break from the slightest accident. Offering an affordable yet decent foldable phone goes a long way in allaying fears, and the nubia Flip 5G is the commendable hero that is bravely paving the way for others like it.

The $499 price tag for a foldable phone is nothing short of tempting, but it also raises questions about what corners were cut to get there. The camera story is definitely disappointing, as is the use of somewhat older hardware and software. None of these, however, take away from the truth that the nubia Flip 5G is a surprisingly decent foldable smartphone for its price. If you want to sink your teeth into this still-young device category but are too reluctant to spend too much on it, the nubia Flip 5G is definitely a great way to get started, as long as you set your expectations right.

The post nubia Flip 5G Foldable Phone Review: Finally, A Foldable Phone You Can Afford first appeared on Yanko Design.

Google Pixel Fold 2: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Despite developing an operating system that’s used on a variety of devices and computers, Google has practically snubbed anything other than a smartphone. It’s notorious for having a love-hate relationship with tablets, for example, so it was a bit of a surprise that Google would launch its own foldable device. Perhaps even more surprising is how it might actually release a second-gen foldable phone. Given its pedigree, the next Google foldable is definitely going to pique people’s curiosity, whether it will be called the Pixel Fold 2 or the Pixel 9 Pro Fold. Judging from what we’ve been hearing so far, this foldable phone will be undergoing several significant changes, though not all of them might appeal to Pixel fans and onlookers alike.

Designer: Google (renders courtesy of Smartprix, @OnLeaks)

Google Pixel Fold 2: Design

For three generations since the Pixel 6 in 2021, Google seemed to have settled on a signature design that, unusual as it may have been, gave its phones a unique personality. It seems, however, that Google has gotten tired of that look and will be moving to a different design for the Pixel 9 series. For better or for worse, that change is apparently happening to the foldable version of the Pixel as well, but not in the same way as leaks and renders would have it.

The camera bump, which was a horizontal bar across the width of the Pixel Fold’s “back,” has now been reduced to a more conventional rectangle. But unlike the ones you’d see on other smartphones, Google opted for an odd horizontal layout, with black pill-shaped markings that hold the actual camera lenses. It’s definitely an unusual design, but unlike the current “visor” shape, many might find it visually unappealing.

Fortunately, there will be even more important design changes in store for the Pixel Fold 2 (or Pixel 9 Pro Fold), though they might be a bit more subtle. According to rumors and at least one leaked prototype, the next Google foldable will have an outer screen that is taller than its predecessor, yielding an unfolded shape that is more square than the first Pixel Fold as well. Whereas the Pixel Fold had a rectangular shape that resembled a small notebook, the Pixel Fold 2 could be more like a minuscule iPad mini.

This change in screen aspect ratios isn’t just cosmetic and will have important usability implications. It won’t be as tall and narrow as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is notorious for being almost unusable as a regular phone, but it could make it a bit more awkward to use the Pixel Fold 2 in folded form, at least with a single hand. Those who loved the current wider design of the Pixel Fold might be disappointed, but those who missed using a 16:9 phone will welcome this change.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Google Pixel Fold 2: Specs and Software

With the change in screen aspect ratios come changes in screen sizes as well, and everyone will probably love what’s rumored so far. The Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold is expected to have bigger screens on both sides, though there is some agreement on the exact sizes. Some claim that the external Cover Screen will be 6.4 inches and the main foldable screen will be 7.9 inches, while another source uses 6.29 inches and 8.02 inches for those same screens, respectively. Either way, it will still be a significant size boost compared to the current Pixel Fold’s 5.8-inch exterior and 7.6-inch interior displays.

As far as the hardware is concerned, Google might debut a new Tensor G4 on the Pixel Fold 2, a very big leap from the Tensor G2 on the OG Pixel Fold. Details on this new processor are still extremely slim at this point, but you can expect significant performance improvements, especially on Google’s favorite AI features. Uncharacteristically, Google might also be extra generous and give the Pixel Fold 2 as much as 16GB of RAM, something that even the Galaxy Z Fold 6 isn’t expected to have.

There seems to be some disagreement on which version of Android the Pixel Fold 2 will ship with, but that mostly depends on when the foldable device will actually launch. It could go with Android 14, which is the current version in circulation, or it could delay it to coincide with the release of Android 15. Pushing the Pixel 9 Pro Fold’s launch to the end of the year might sound unreasonable, but there might be one very good reason for doing so. Android 15 betas have revealed that Google implemented improvements to the behavior of apps on foldable phones, something that its Pixel Fold badly needed.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Cameras

It’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been any news on the kind of cameras that the Pixel Fold 2 will bear. The new camera design on the back may look like Google was making room for an additional camera, but the lack of news in that department suggests otherwise. In short, the new Pixel Fold may still be using the exact same three sensors as the current model, with some additional lenses for focusing or maybe a thermal sensor for taking temperatures. It wouldn’t be unheard of for Google, since it prefers to rely on software solutions to improve image quality.

Another big camera design change will be the internal selfie camera which used to sit on the Pixel Fold’s ugly thick bezels. According to leaks and renders, the Pixel Fold 2 will do away with those atrocities, which means there’s a need to move the camera to a different place. The consensus is that it will take the form of an under-display camera similar to the Galaxy Z Fold, but it’s also possible Google will opt for a simpler solution that has a traditional punch-hole cutout for the camera.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Price and Release Date

Although the Pixel Fold 2, or Pixel 9 Pro Fold, will be advertised as an upgrade, it doesn’t seem like a huge generational leap if not for the difference in design and the new Tensor G4 processor. As such, it’s probably only reasonable to expect that the price tag won’t go higher than the $1,800 that the first Pixel Fold launched with. At the same time, it’s also not expected to go lower than that either.

As for its launch date, that could depend on whether Google wants to delay it to sync with Android 15’s release. If it’s fine with having it run Android 14 out of the box, it could follow the same schedule last year that saw the Pixel Fold hit shelves in June. Otherwise, we might be looking at an October date after Android 15 goes gold. Either way, we’ll definitely find out more next month when Google reveals the real deal at I/O 2024.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Final Thoughts

The first Pixel Fold was definitely a surprise for Google fans. It managed to carry some of the personality of the Pixel design language to a foldable phone, along with Google’s blessed flavor of the Android user experience. At the same time, however, it really failed to stand up to other options in the market, and its very thick bezels were a big turn-off for more design-conscious consumers.

Fortunately, the Pixel Fold 2 will be improving on those pain points, but it raises the question of whether it’s actually enough or if they’re the right changes to make. The screens will be larger and have thinner bezels, but Google is also moving away from an aspect ratio that was praised by some reviewers as one of its winning traits. The camera design will definitely be divisive, especially if it doesn’t bring significant improvements to the camera system anyway. While the Pixel Fold 2, or Pixel 9 Pro Fold, will catch the attention of Pixel fans and market watchers, it might not end up being the big hit that Google wants it to be, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of low sales that will lead to the early demise of Google’s foldable phone line.

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