App Development for Foldable Smartphones

A recent innovation within the smartphone industry is the launch of foldable smartphones. While on the surface level it appears that it is only about having flexible UX in mobile apps, the impact is a lot more massive. Foldable phones have more room for developers to create immersive and detailed user experiences because of having multi-windows APIs.

A simple example is video streaming apps, it can utilize enhanced screen size to show videos in more substantial orientation or to add additional controls and features to the app based on the screen size.

Here are the factors and alterations we must consider when developing apps for foldable phones.

One distinct feature of foldable smartphones is that their screens are significantly larger than any of the smartphones that we are used to. Additionally, most foldable smartphones are equipped with multi-window mode. As an app developer, we must make sure that the app we develop is compatible with both the size of the screen and the multi-window mode. The easiest way to do so is by using the code “resizeableActivity=true”. It helps the system in assuming that our app supports multi-window and resizable screens. Hence, this code helps an app for being compatible with a variety of screens. This includes foldable phones, freeform windows, and desktop screens.

Each foldable smartphone has two states — unfolded and folded screen — i.e the main display and cover display. In foldable app development, we need to find out which features are to be reflected on which screen.

Unfolded State: This is where the phone turns into a tablet, giving companies a better experience. This additional space can be used to provide more contexts and to add subsequent actions or experiences to apps.

Folded state: The phone looks like our traditional smartphone in this foldable app design state, which we can use with one hand.

Here, it is better to allow users to navigate with multiple fingers simultaneously rather than one. It is essential that we create an app that works optimally for both screens.

Screen ratios are an important element in the foldable app development. It majorly depends on the manufacturer- some manufacturers may like bulkier and shorter screens; there are others who like long, high, and thin screens. Therefore, it becomes essential to test our apps for different screen sizes so that we can obtain maximum compatibility with devices.we can use minAspectRatio and maxAspectRatio for identifying the lowest and highest aspect ratios.

As the screen size of the Foldable smartphone is going to be higher than regular smartphones, the users will expect an efficient multi-window mode for running more than one application on it. There may be the expectation of even three or more apps at a time. Multi-tasking capability will be desirable by users of foldable. Developers need to keep in mind the fact that their app will probably share its usage with another app on the foldable screen.

There is also the functionality of using the Camera even when multiple apps are functioning with some of their relevant settings. Both apps may have distinguished features and design. As an app creator, we need to explore allowing the option of drag and drop in our app.

As the foldable will bring an enhanced multi-window operating feature to its users, it is looked forward that the Apps will provide support for a Multi-Resume feature too. Previously, only the app which was dominantly used remained in the resumed state, rest all other applications activities were paused. This led to the issue that the paused apps shut down their resources or even stopped performing their functions. Now, there is a possibility that all activities can remain in the resumed state. The phone may also stop a resumed activity if the user functions on a transparent app along with it or the function performed are not focusable.

The user experience must seamlessly move from the folded to the unfolded state and then back to the folded state. There should be minimal to zero change happening in the layout so that it would increase the app flow ambiguity.

With folding smartphones, teams can expect to have more test cases than ever before. These additional views mean that teams will have exponentially more test scenarios to cover. One factor that is unique to foldable phones is the need to support multiple sizes/ratios for a single user. With foldable phones, developers will have no choice but to support at least two resolutions (folded and unfolded), and possibly four, if they support the rotated orientation as well.

Foldable phones will come with multiple orientations, aspect ratios but what will remain the same is the quality expectations. The users will expect us to deliver them the same flawless and glitch-free quality and app flow that they are used to. Considering this, the responsibility of providing high-quality digital products will increase when we venture into the app development for foldable phone space.

The foldable smartphones are new-fangled technology in the market. A more Agile approach will be demanded. The apps developed for these devices will not just need robust testing but also an in-depth analysis of the initial user feedback. In the transitory phase, a lot of users will bring out their feedback about the performance of the revamped apps. Developers need to be on their toes to carry out necessary improvements more frequently.

Thus, foldable smartphones are definitely going to create a big boom in the entire industry as well as among people. This disruptive technology will fully transform the way people use smartphones.

Author: Kalpana B
Stream: Mobile

Your Digital Transformation partner. We are here to share knowledge on varied technologies, updates; and to stay in touch with the tech-space.