Research firm Gartner predicts that foldable phones will account for five percent of high-end phones by 2023, amounting to 30 million units. While Gartner analysts expect foldable phones to potentially re-inject innovation in the smartphone market, they are cautious about their short-term uptake due to trade-offs. Roberta Cozza, senior analyst at Gartner, says:
Through the next five years, we expect foldable phones to remain a niche product due to several manufacturing challenges. In addition to the surface of the screen, the price is a barrier despite we expect to decline with time. Currently priced at $2,000, foldable phones present too many trade-offs, even for many early technology adopters.
Gartner expects foldable phones to be used mainly in folded state:
We expect that users will use a foldable phone as they do their regular smartphone, picking it up hundreds of times a day, unfolding it sporadically and typing on its plastic screen.
It’s not clear on which research Gartner is basing this last claim. There’s only one foldable phone on the market currently (the Royole Flexpai) and considering the small number of users, it seems impossible to draw conclusions on foldable device usage with such a small sample. In fact, it’s not known if Gartner has actually interviewed foldable device users or that the research company’s prediction is just WAG.