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Google could make these hardware requirements mandatory for foldables

New foldable phones could be forced to offer a minimum number of rated folds, among other requirements.

Published onAugust 11, 2023

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 app drawer folded
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Google will reportedly require specific hardware standards for foldable phones.
  • This includes a minimum of 200,000 folds and unfolds for devices.
  • Google could also mandate slightly longer software update pledges for foldables.

2023 has been a major year for foldable phones, as Samsung finally has competition from other brands in the global space. These phones are expensive though, and the last thing you want is for your device to break or be abandoned by the manufacturer.

Now, Android expert Mishaal Rahman has revealed on his Patreon account (paywalled) that Google will soon require specific hardware quality standards for foldable phones.

It’s believed Android OEMs will need to complete a Google questionnaire and send sample devices to the platform holder for closer scrutiny. So what are these requirements, then?

More folds for longer

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 typing unfolded
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
Yep, there's still a crease.

For starters, Google will require all foldable phones to last for at least 200,000 folds and unfolds.

This requirement is in line with Samsung’s own rated number of folds for its Flip and Fold devices. Meanwhile, some brands like OPPO tout 400,000 folds for their foldable phones. But 200,000 folds and unfolds still makes for five years of usage if you fold the device 100 times a day, or just over 10 years of usage if you fold the device 50 times a day.

Interestingly, Rahman adds that devices with a “torque hinge” need to have friction torque equal to at least 80% of the original torque after 200,000 folds/unfolds. In other words, it sounds like Google wants free-stop hinges to still maintain their rigidity rather than becoming loose over time.

Google doesn’t seem to be mandating other hardware requirements, though, such as the use of ultra-thin glass. But this seems to be a good starting point anyway.

Slightly longer software updates for foldables

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate vs Google Pixel Fold showing home screens on table
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Google will also apparently require Android OEMs to offer two major OS updates and three years of security patches for foldable devices.

What do you think of these foldable phone requirements?

132 votes

This isn’t much better than the minimum requirements for Android in general, namely two major OS updates and two years of security patches. This is particularly disappointing in light of the steep price of foldables in the first place. But at least the likes of Google, Samsung, and OPPO all offer up to five years of security patches.

We, therefore, hope Google revises its software update requirements for foldable phones in short order. But we’re glad to see the company instituting some hardware requirements to improve durability.

We’ve asked Google for confirmation of these new foldable phone requirements and will update the article if/when the company gets back to us.

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