The Modern Technologist
It has been awhile since I have written anything. That isn’t to say I haven’t tried. I could look through my phone and identify document after document of the initial paragraph or pitch to an article. I even toyed with just private thoughts in a rambling document to keep the brain working. However, it could be said that this year hasn’t been the best year for anyone. It’s been a year of change towards a new normal. A time where anyone is holding onto whatever they could find as isolation fatigue sets in.
Last year I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Fold, I shared a few thoughts in a hastily written article that summarised that in the end, it’s a tablet and it’s a phone. However, I stuck with it and honestly, I could say it again and again this is the Future but now. (makes shifty hand movements to symbolise the spookiness of it been the future but now).
I can no longer count on my hand the wow factor moments I’ve had with this device. People either shocked about “what is that phone”, or “wait that’s a phone as well”. Or even the fact that I’m not on my laptop anymore as much, for example this article has been written on the Galaxy Fold.
Every time I use my phone, it’s like the Surface Neo reveal video. Those few seconds where the phone rings, and your like Windows Phone is back. Then the device just opens up and it’s a dual screen device, but that screen real estate, you know? Hold on, I’m not crying because Windows Phone is back. I have an Android device now. Besides Surface Phone is Android. Gross I know right? Like the best parts of Windows Phone was the software. Like seriously how did Windows Phone outside of the apps win against the dysfunctional nature of Android at the time. Anyway.....
The point is, if I even have one is that after the wow factor wears off, the device still has its charm. However the issue is from a use case perspective. The hardware itself holds up well, with my only issue so far that my oily skin has lifted part of the layers on the plastic screen and now where I always swipe from has a giant finger like smudge that wont budge. Or the random scratch I discovered on the camera panel, but that is just an issue of camera notches sticking out in general.
Let’s start with what obviously works the best from having a tablet in your pocket. Which is of course things displaying on that large display. Applications just pop a lot better on a screen which you can read more on. Websites with interaction in mind, and even just general browsing works better with the aspect ratio of a tablet. The fold is also a powerful device and sits among the eras flagship devices from Samsung. Android also is improved by the One UI which is easily the only time Android is customized to an acceptable level. That said though, you still would need to strip it down with something like the Evie launcher.
Other then that it really is just a phone, its strengths are the strengths of many Android devices. Which means it is going to appeal based of that alone. But it also means while I see this as the future, there isn’t a wow moment in workflow I expected. Which ultimately is what will make it hard to recommend to others.
One of the most interesting things about a tablet is the ergonomics behind it. Arguably the front screen is just a tad to small for typing. Just like the tablet screen is just a bit to big for typing. Increasing the keyboard size on both helps. However what I’ve found is how my hands wrap around the device is definitely different to a traditional phone, even a larger tablet such as a Surface or even iPad. It seems the biggest issue is my hands are not relaxed as much as previous devices. Especially when we got to a point that everything had soft edges. Say what you will about infinity edge displays, they created a smooth ergonomic edging that helped. How the device sits in my hands is very simular to the original Nintendo DS. Which was highly uncomfortable. It was the only handheld I found myself with indented scars near the thumb mussel. Which is exactly what I find myself having with the Fold as well.
It could just be how I hold the device. However while I proclaim that the device is the future, and such devices like it. I just feel like there is a reason why I believe the iPad is a consumption device and Apples misguided attempt to make a Pro device aimed at creation, because like those devices the Galaxy Fold isn’t there when it comes to creation.
Especially with ergonomics in mind.I wanted a device like this to be in my pocket so I could do creation easier when in positions which all I had was my phone. I found more often I had large amounts of down time which would be benefited by such a device. Which I am surprised how little I have taken this device and ran it as an all purpose computing device.
The lack of a micro sd card slot means taking items from my camera is certainly limiting. The lack of some applications having continuum between the two displays also impactful.
Honestly the biggest game changer was when Pokémon Go supported that feature.Another thing the phone was talked up was multitasking. The ability to throw multiple applications on that one screen. So far the only times I have used that is when watching for example a live event and needing twitter open to furiously tweet and monitor peoples opinions. During other applications I just find the aspect ratio of what the touch screen gives these types of applications as too small to be practical. This is where I am deeply interested in the Surface Neo and Duo devices when it comes to multi-tasking. The bigger screens and a more designated sections for even dual applications make it seem more natural simular to Windows multitasking over dual monitors.