Currently a number of foldable phones are being prototyped with the first units now hitting the market and a number of our clients have asked what they need to consider while developing apps.

Well first of all, my advice would be not to worry too much. The market share for foldables is currently negligible and with device costs set to be nearly double the latest iPhones it should not yet be a priority for your development team. However, with users wanting larger screen sizes and better multi-tasking as time goes on foldable devices look set to emerge as a great way of providing on both fronts.

Google has all of the details on how to develop in light of the changes they’ve made to Android in the above link but we’ve summed up the main things to bear in mind below.

To get your app ready for foldables, you should test how your app reacts to:

  • Configuration changes
  • Multi-window and multi-resume
  • Resizing and new screen ratios

You can probably wait before firing up your developers to get working on the above standards as the market share is currently so small. However, now is a great time to be thinking about the design elements and possibilities that foldable devices will give your Apps. Your UI/UX designers should be beginning to consider these devices for both new apps and pre-existing ones or you can take this opportunity to speak to app specialists like Indiespring around how we would approach the new technologies in your case. 

Google are predicting foldable phones with multiple screen displays and a number of different potential implementations. Improved multitasking across both inward and outward folding devices will be popular with users as well as the current “niche” factor of having an incredibly unique device. Obviously the different fold methods could allow a swathe of new features in app development but diversity in implementation across devices may lead to pioneer developers incurring high costs to meet all device requirements.  

With the fold action of these devices the screen size will dynamically change while interacting with the app. This isn’t a huge change in terms of development as this already occurs when an app moves from portrait to landscape but it is another chance for clever design to shine through. The guidelines state “the current task continues seamlessly after transition” but there is the opportunity to subtly hide and reveal other key functions around the current interaction.

It’s uncertain as yet whether foldables are going to be the next big thing or will go the same way as dual screen displays like the LG DoublePlay. What is clear though is that these devices are a unique opportunity to wow first adopters and trendsetters by doing something completely different.