Oppo has already sent a few shock waves through the tech world with some of its intended releases in 2021, as we’ll discuss below, but rumours are now suggesting that the company could be readying a new foldable device which will appear in the near future.
When will the Oppo foldable smartphone be released?
There’s no official word from Oppo on whether a foldable device even exists yet, and it's not likely to arrive any time soon, though industry insiders disagree on when we'll see it.
Korean site The Elec predicts a launch in 2022, claiming that Oppo is collaborating with Samsung on the phone's display, and that the phone had been targeting an earlier launch but it has been delayed and now won't release until some time next year.
On the other hand two display industry insiders disagree. Ross Young tweeted back in December 2020 that the Oppo foldable would launch in 2021. More recently, David Naranjo, a senior director at Display Supply Chain Consultants, tipped the Oppo foldable for a Q4 2021 release, which would see it launch some time between October and December this year.
Of course, this remains unconfirmed at the time of writing, but we’ll update this article when more details become available.
It should be noted that the foldable device is thought to be different to the rollable Oppo X 2021, which is an official concept phone. That device features a revolutionary scrollable display powered by motors that glide the expanding surface into place.
How much will the Oppo foldable phone cost?
Again, there’s no price available at this time. For some indication though, we can look to the other foldable models that have already been released.
- Motorola Razr 5G - £1,399/US$1,399
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G - £1,399/US$1,399
- Samsung Galaxy Fold Z 2 - £1,799/US$1,999
- Huawei Mate XS - £2,299/US$2,700 (approx)
As you'd expect, these cutting-edge devices cost a lot. Foldables are still such new technology, that the cost of entry will remain high for a while yet, so expect to pay well over the £1,000/$1,000 mark.
What features will the Oppo folding phone have?
As with the pricing and release date, any hint of the specs in the upcoming Oppo foldable remain unclear. Obviously, though, it will have a foldable display.
Reports from Chun on Twitter, Arsenal on Weibo, and The Elec all predict a 7.1in internal display in a clamshell form factor, and using LTPO tech rather than OLED - which could indicate support for dynamic refresh rate. The 7.1in size would suggest a clamshell foldable, the same form factor as the Motorola Razr and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, as opposed to the larger tablet-style foldables adopted by Huawei and Xiaomi.
Rival leaker Digital Chat Station disagrees though, predicting a bigger panel: between 7.8 and 8.0in. He also reckons it will have a 2K resolution, used OLED tech, and support 120Hz refresh rate - pretty much all disagreeing with the earlier reports.
There's just as little agreement on the outer display - early reports predicted an external display between 1.5 and 2in in size, with Arsenal specifying that the company has settled on a 2in panel here.
However, since then a more recent report from The Elec points to a much larger 5.45in outer display. If this is correct, it suggests that the phone is either not a clamshell, or is one but has a large outer display covering the phone when folded, which would be a first. Or, of course, it could be that the leaks are confused and there are two Oppo foldables in the works, one in each form factor.
The same Elec report also points to the display tech being used, claiming that Oppo is among several foldable manufacturers moving to use ultra-thin glass (UTG) to cover the folding display. This is the same tech that Samsung has adopted for all of its foldables following the first Galaxy Z Fold, so the move is unsurprising since it's Samsung that's tipped to providing the phone's internal display.
Digital Chat Station's report also goes into more detail on other specs. Expect a Snapdragon 888 chipset, a 32Mp front camera, and a 50Mp main rear camera using the Sony IMX766 sensor. In terms of software, he says it will run Oppo's ColorOS 12.
One other thing we have seen from Oppo recently, is how it will approach foldable technology going forward, with the company showing off a foldable concept phone at the 4th China International Industrial Design Expo in December 2020.
This device uses three foldable screens, attached by hinges, that allow the user to unfurl the display to the height they prefer. There’s also a stylus contained within one of the segments to allow note-taking and other pen-based tasks.
The concept phone it obviously still far from a reality, but if Oppo can bring any of that technology to the 2022 device, then it could be the one that sets the standard for those that follow.