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Is the flip phone about to make a comeback?

The gadgetsphere exploded with buzz when a Japanese site unearthed a manual from Samsung’s site for what is supposed to be the “Samsung Folder,” which looks like this:

20130807-Flip-phone-comeback-Samsung-diagram-Technoodling20130807-Flip-phone-comeback-Samsung-diagram-2-Technoodling20130807-Flip-phone-comeback-Samsung-diagram-3-Technoodling

So why is this a big deal? Well, we haven’t had a folding a.k.a. “flip” phone in years. At least not hereabouts anyway.

And there’s good reason for that. Namely, everyone and his mother thinks that flip phones are very passe.

But with this sighting, it appears as if Samsung (at least) may be trying to make flips happen again.

The last time we were excited about flips was when this happened:

Motorola RAZR

Motorola RAZR

That was, like, ten years ago.

And before that, there was this groundbreaking phone that made your dads crave like mad:

Motorola StarTAC

Motorola StarTAC

And that was, like, twenty years ago.

Flips haven’t totally vanished. In Japan, in particular, people still love flip phones. But it’s a cultural thing perhaps. Then again, you can’t deny that a flip phone offers something that current phones don’t: lots of surface area. The Japanese love their flips because they get a big screen and a large keyboard.

Perhaps that’s what Samsung is aiming for with their Folder. Except in a more modern way: note how this phone is supposed to have not one, but two display panels. Wow. Think about the cost. This could be one pretty pricey phone.

Think about it. Samsung coming up with a folding phone. And Motorola, a historical purveyor of signature flip phones, has now been refurbished by Google. Motorola already has a history of coming out with flip phones to reinvigorate interest in its brand — riding on the StarTAC popularity of ages past, the original Motorola RAZR flip was actually a company statement of sorts that led to a wave of growth for the company. Who knows? They just might come up with a flip again if only for sentimental reasons.

Art

Art

Art is a long-time editor for a number of technology publications. He is a Palanca-winning writer (he got lucky) whose day job is to try to be as serious as possible while being a management consultant and lecturer. His favorite noodles: chapchae.

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