As of 2023, it has been five years since the inception of foldable smartphones. In the coming years, as this technology becomes more refined and accessible, foldable phones are going to become the norm. The convenience they offer of having both a tablet and a smartphone in one form factor is simply unparalleled. As a startup, developing a mobile app for foldable phones is a great way to prepare your business for the future.
The foldable smartphone market is expected to surpass $101,351 million by 2033. Now’s the best time to invest in foldable app development and own this decade.
Developing mobile apps for foldable devices comes with additional considerations. It’s a level ahead of traditional app development and requires more responsive UI designs. In this blog, we’ll guide you on how to approach foldable app development for your startup.
Types of Foldable Phones
As of 2023, there are two types of foldable mobile devices available on the market. These are:
Flip Phones: These fold inward and have a small screen on the outside which displays the most important stuff. The main screen is on the inside and is similar to a normal phone. For example, the Motorola Razr.
Foldable Phones: These open up like a book and have a large tablet-like screen on the inside. The outer screen is like a normal phone. For example, Pixel Fold.
Factors To Consider For Foldable App Development
As mentioned earlier, developing apps for foldables comes with multiple considerations. Here are the major factors you need to keep in mind to ensure that your app is foldable-friendly.
Users should be able to transition from the secondary screen to the main screen of the device without feeling that they’re using a completely different app.
Multiwindow Support: This is essential so that users are able to use your app in split-screen mode.
Layout Adaptation: Developing adaptable layouts is the key here to make your app compatible with different folding scenarios.
Most foldable devices support app continuity, where users can transition from folded to unfolded states without losing progress. Ensure that your app is compatible with this feature.
Flexibility in Design
You have to develop flexible design elements that can adapt to different screen sizes and orientations.
Utilize Foldable Features
Make full use of the special features foldable devices provide, such as the ability to create custom interactions when the app is folded and unfolded.
Step-by-Step Guide For Foldable App Development
Start the development process by understanding the market and your target audience. Create a list of features and app screens that you would develop for a normal app. You’ll have to optimize these for the foldable design.
Design For Adaptability
Create adaptable layouts and design elements that fit into different screen sizes, like water. You have to use responsive design principles to ensure a consistent and enjoyable user experience.
There are 4 screen sizes for which you’ll have to develop. The two outer and two inner screens of foldables and flips. The outer screen of a foldable and the inner screen of a flip phone are relatively similar to a normal phone and do not require a lot of attention.
The inner screen of the foldable is primarily used for work and productivity. The larger size allows users to look at things from a wider perspective. Design your app to provide maximum features and functionalities on a larger screen.
When it comes to flip phones, the outer screen is all about minimalism. Ensure that you put only the most important information on it as people use the screen to avoid checking their phone every now and then. You’ll have to optimize the push notifications so that they blend well with the small screen.
Implement Multi-Window Support
A major reason people buy foldables is that they provide the ability to run multiple apps side-by-side. You’ve to implement multi-window support if you want your app to be truly foldable. This will allow users to use your app while simultaneously using other apps.
Maybe the user wants to watch a YouTube video while working on your app. By implementing multi-window support, you’re reducing the chances of the user abandoning your app.
You’ll have to adjust the layout and handle window resizing to optimize your app to work in split-screen mode.
Optimize For Continuity
App continuity is another crucial aspect of foldable mobile app development. Users should be able to transition from a folded to an unfolded state without any hiccups. Your app should seamlessly adapt and change to the different layouts. Ensure that your app can save its state and pick up exactly where the user left off seamlessly when transitioning between states.
For example, if a user is filling out a form in the folded state and then unfolds the device, your app should smoothly transition to a larger view without interruption or progress loss.
In most cases, the software on the phone automatically handles this for you. But, you still have to take care of it from your end to ensure that the continuity is flawless.
Test on Foldable Devices
There is no alternative to rigorous testing when it comes to developing mobile apps for foldables. You have to test on as many devices as possible because foldables come in very unique aspect ratios. For instance, the outer screen of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is much longer compared to the Pixel Fold.
While getting access to all foldable devices is difficult, try using emulators that mimic different foldable phones. Test various scenarios, screen configurations, orientations, and multitasking scenarios to identify and address any issues.
Foldables have the same processor and battery as normal phones. This makes it a little stressful on the device’s processor and GPU, as they have to handle a larger screen with the same power. Also, the dual screens put a lot of strain on battery life.
While this should not be your primary concern, try to optimize your device to draw less power from the device. If users find that your app is hurting their battery life and performance through the device’s settings, they might force it to stop or uninstall it in worst-case scenarios.
Not only does it help with foldables, but it also optimizes your app for all phones in general.
Launch, Test, and Iterate
The rest of the steps are the same as for any other app. Launch your app on the respective app stores and collect user feedback. Add new features to the app based on the feedback and release them through updates.
Over time, you’ll have a fully refined foldable app for your startup.
Develop Your Foldable Mobile App
WDI has stayed on top of trends for more than 20 years, innovating with every new technology. We can guide you on how to approach your app idea for success in the digital world. Our UI/UX designers are adept at creating extremely responsive designs that adapt to all the bizarre screen orientations that smartphones come in.
Our award-winning testing team incorporates both manual and automated testing methodologies to ensure that no stone is left unturned.
Allow us to bring your vision to reality.