Almost every leading Android phone maker is investing in foldables these days, but there are exceptions if you look hard enough.
A notable example is Poco, the former Xiaomi sub-brand which is now a standalone company in its own right. Since the split in 2020, Poco has retained deep ties to its ex-parent company, including running an identical version of the MIUI Android skin.
But despite two generations of Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Fold, it’s one area Poco is yet to experiment with. You might think it’s something the company is planning soon, but Head of Product Marketing and Global Spokesperson Angus Ng told a very different story in an interview with Tech Advisor.
“As of right now, we definitely don’t see ourselves launching a Flip or Fold”, Ng explains. “For us, it’s still not mature…I feel like it’s still struggling to find its position in the market.”
Data from IDC suggests that foldables accounted for around 13.5 million shipments in 2022. But that’s a tiny fraction of the more than 1.35 billion smartphones sold worldwide – just 1.1% of the total.
The same report predicts that it will only grow to around 2.8% by 2026, but Poco may be ready to release a foldable by then.
“Within five years’ time, I think foldable display types will be much more affordable and the way that hinges are designed will be more common. Then we can actually see a design and maybe tweak it ourselves.”
Price is something Ng touches on throughout the interview. Poco released a total of nine phones in 2022, but none more expensive than the £699/€699 F4 GT. Most of the company’s handsets are under £500/€500, so a foldable would almost certainly break its current pricing structure.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
“From the learnings we’ve done in 2022, we really want to focus on the mid-range price segment. That’ll be the price segment where most of our strongest products will set up, and the ones we’re most confident in.”
But Ng didn’t rule out releasing flagships in the future: “We’ve explored it, and we definitely support it internally. There’s potential for us to fit in that market, but it’s a very crowded space.”
That may include a foldable at some point, but Poco wants to wait until it can be sure the device will replace your phone, tablet or both. “People buy tablets, have a phone and then buy a fold. It’s like, what was it for, then?”
“You can’t retire both, so that’s kind of the reason why I feel like it hasn’t found its pinpoint positioning. But it’s…the future.”
When that future will be for Poco remains to be seen. But if you can afford a foldable right now and don’t mind paying flagship prices, there are plenty of options. They include the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, Oppo Find N Flip and the Motorola Razr 5G (2022).