A shiny new foldable smartphone is great, but despite the massive improvements that have been entering the foldable niche lately, there is still a certain level of uncertainty regarding device longevity and rigidity associated with foldables. All you generally have to go by are manufacturer informal assurances and third-party fold tests, like this recent one which revealed that the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra only managed 126,266 folds despite being manufacturer rated for 400,000 cycles. You get the point.
As per some insider info courtesy of Mishaal Rahman, Google might be looking to step in and offer at least some assurances for the longevity of future foldable devices. Apparently, new foldables will be expected to last at least 200,000 folds and unfolds. If you open your phone 100 times a day, this should be good for five years and, consequently, a whopping ten years if you only cycle the hinge 50 times a day.
Speaking of the hinge, apparently, Google might also have a requirement that any device with a “torque hinge” maintain at least 80% of its original torque after 200,000 cycles. Circling back to the recent folding test article, you might notice that even the Galaxy Z Flip5, which scored great in the test overall, had some torque issues effectively losing its ability to hold half-closed angles after 223,000 folds. It’s good to see this aspect being addressed as well.
Finally, as per the insider info, Google might also require OEMs to offer at least two major OS updates and at least three years of security patches for future foldables. These requirements aren’t nearly as impactful, considering companies like Google, Samsung and Oppo already offer up to five years of security patches, but we still appreciate the effort.
Google has yet to officially confirm these rumors, so we’ll also be watching for that.