Cost of foldable phones will limit uptake: Juniper Research

Juniper has good things to say about the HTC 5G Mobile Hub. (HTC)

Juniper Research finds that the cost of new foldable phones will be prohibitive for the majority of people in 2019 and 2020. The Samsung Galaxy Fold costs about $2,000, and the Huawei Mate X costs about $2,600. “If the technology is to become commonplace, then it is imperative that these prices decrease within three years or risk becoming a ‘flash in the pan’ such as 3D television and HD DVDs,” states Juniper’s recent report “Intelligent Connectivity, 5G & the IoT – the Best of MWC 2019.”

Foldable smartphones were one of the dominant topics at MWC Barcelona because it’s a race, said William Ho, founder and principal analyst at 556 Ventures, in an earlier interview with FierceWireless. But Ho said the high prices and unproven utility of this new subset of phones could limit their uptake.

RELATED: Foldables dominate device news at MWC Barcelona

Juniper Research said the cultivation of new use cases, including media viewing and streaming via larger screens, would increase the value of these devices. “This will be done through OS support and developing foldable phone specific mobile apps,” according to Juniper.

HTC 5G Hub

Prior to MWC 2019, Sprint and HTC teased the rollout of a 5G mobile smart hub. HTC unveiled its 5G Hub at Mobile World Congress, which it plans to release in the second quarter of 2019. The device acts as a 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) router and home hub. It runs on the Android 9 Pie mobile operating system, enabling other apps to be installed on the device. And it enables the connection of up to 20 devices via Wi-Fi.

“Whilst a number of 5G FWA devices have been announced, HTC’s 5G Hub is the most comprehensive consumer device,” states Juniper Research.

At MWC 2019, Sprint said the HTC 5G Hub enables 4K video streaming and mobile gaming serving up to 20 users as a 5G mobile hotspot.