How to Build Apps for Foldable Devices: New Business Possibilities in 2021

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How to Build Apps for Foldable Devices: New Business Possibilities in 2021

Learn how to build apps for the latest technology - foldable devices. Explore the new technology, how it works and the best ways to create such apps.

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After Samsung released Galaxy Z Fold in 2019, everyone understood that a new trend appeared on the market.

Experts believe that in the upcoming years foldable devices will push modern smartphones, tablets and even laptops out of the game.

If you want to keep up with the latest trends and innovations, it’s a great time to start exploring the new technology standing behind Android foldables.

Foldable devices provide users with a better and more immersive experience. The most vivid example of such devices is Samsung Galaxy Fold, which is now available for purchase. However, the technology is predicted to become more popular among manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

In fact, according to Statista, 55 million foldable smartphone displays will be shipped in 2025.

So, it’s about time you learn some basics of building apps for foldable devices.

While the foldable technology seems exciting from the users’ point of view, there is no clear understanding of how it will impact mobile app development. The technology already has quite a notable impact on it with a lot of companies exploring the new technology.

Let’s explore some of the changes and benefits that foldable devices bring to app development:

  • Extra screen estate – the main idea behind foldable devices is providing users with an immersive experience thanks to the availability of a large screen. This is possible thanks to the foldable technology that turns two screens into a single and big one.
  • Small size – today, users need to make a choice between a compact form factor and a big screen. With foldable devices, they get everything in one device. Foldable smartphones can provide double the screen of the traditional device.
  • New content types – thanks to the availability of additional screen estate, creators will be able to release new forms of content that will take full use of the added screen size.
  • More features – modern smartphones have a limited screen size that doesn’t allow to fit all the needed features. With foldable devices, it will be possible to create multi-screen applications that will provide users with a lot of features on a single screen.

Foldable tablets and smartphones will one day take over the world of such devices and they will bring along a lot of opportunities.

CHALLENGES OF BUILDING APPS FOR FOLDABLES

You need to consider the following factors to build a high-quality and user-friendly foldable application:

  • SUPERIOR QUALITY

No one is saying that the development of apps for foldable devices is a walk in the park. You will need to keep in might that foldable phones must provide multiple orientations and have a different aspect ratio from traditional smartphones.

However, user expectations remain the same. They want to have a glitch-free experience when using your app. Thus, you need to know how to develop apps for foldable smartphones, otherwise, your app is doomed.

  • MORE TESTING

Foldable solutions provide a bigger number of different use cases and scenarios. To make sure that there won’t be any bugs hiding in the background, you will need to test every feature and possible usage scenario. It will result in more hours and costs spent on QA and testing of your multi-window app.

  • HIGHER DEVELOPMENT TIME AND COST

If you decide to build an app for foldables or make an existing one compatible, you will be taking your solution into a new space. You will need to design, develop and test your app for a number of modes and multiple use cases. And with more work come higher expenses and time needed for development.

  • TWEAKS & CHANGES

After you launch your application to the market, you will need to make a number of changes based on received user feedback. This is especially important if you already have an app and want to make it compatible with foldable devices.

If you want to know how to circumvent all of the mentioned challenges during foldable app development, continue reading the article to explore the best approaches that will allow you to do just that.

HOW TO DEVELOP APPS FOR FOLDABLE SMARTPHONES: MAIN CONSIDERATIONS

As you already know, the development of apps for foldables is different from the creation of traditional websites. You need to carry it in mind through all steps – from design to development and testing.

TWO SCREEN STATES

There are two states of the screen on foldable smartphones – folded and unfolded screen.

In the folded state, a foldable device looks like a regular smartphone or tablet. There is no difference in how users interact with the smartphone and the features available.

In the unfolded state, a regular smartphone transforms into a huge-screen device. The extra space creates an immersive experience and a lot of challenges for feature development.

As a result, you will need to design your app to operate in both these states. You will need to decide what happens after a user unfolds the device and which features you will show on which screen.

In the unfolded state, a smartphone gives a lot of room for building new features that have been impossible before.

ONE OR TWO-HANDED APP DESIGN

The state of the screen changes the whole user experience.

In most cases, users interact with their smartphones with one hand. In the unfolded state, they will need to interact with your solution using both hands. Thus, you will need to adjust the placement of user interface elements accordingly.

MULTI WINDOW STATE

As mentioned before, the main idea behind foldable smartphones is providing users with larger screen real estate and better multitasking. In some cases, users might interact with a few multi-window apps. You need to keep it in mind when designing and developing your foldable application.

SCREEN CONTINUITY

Moving from folded to the unfolded state should be automatic and seamless for end-users. The app must resume its location and state.

You need to minimize the number of interface layout shifts, otherwise, such shifts will interrupt the user experience.

MULTI-RESUME

Foldable devices are known for their multi-window feature. Before Google released Android 10, only one app resumed after the phone was blocked. The latest versions of Android allow users to open a few apps alongside each other. All of the opened apps can resume their state without freezing other ones.

When building apps for foldables, you need to keep in mind this functionality that allows for multi-window mode.

HOW TO BUILD APPS FOR FOLDABLES: SERVICES & PROCESSES

In most cases, you will see the companies divide the process into two stages: discovery and development.

  1. DISCOVERY STAGE

The discovery stage is necessary for the future success of your foldable application, and it allows to save time and money on reworkings in the future.

If you work with the IT vendor, it will use the discovery stage to identify your needs, technical requirements, and how the team will address the development process.

Key deliverables of the discovery stage include:

  • Market analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Functional specifications
  • Product backlog

A significant part of the discovery stage is dedicated to UX/UI design. You will need to create the logic behind the user interface, identify how users will interact with your foldable application, and visual aspects of its UI.

  1. DEVELOPMENT STAGE

The development stage is dedicated to the coding and creation of your application. At this stage, you will need to define the whole set of future tasks, create specifications for your project, and set a timeline for implementation.

Usually, development is divided into a few phases:

  • Coding – the creation of the code base for your future application, integration with API, and other third-party solutions.
  • QA & Testing – an important part of mobile app development that allows making sure that functionality was realized according to specification. Depending on the type of application, this stage usually consists of different types of testing and QA.
  • Deployment, Ongoing Development & Support – after the app’s release to the market, you will need to continue working on your foldable application. Going development and support will help it stay afloat, surprise users with new features, and timely bug fixing.

Foldable devices are only developing roots in the world of portable devices. The most expressive example are Samsung foldable smartphones. Experts predict that the technology world will see a plethora of foldable devices in the future.

However, you don’t need to wait for that future. There are already devices will foldable screens and you can develop an app working on them today.

Learn more about How to Build Apps for Foldable Devices.