How to Build Apps for Foldable Devices: New Business Possibilities in 2021

21 min read
How to Develop Apps for Foldable Smartphones
After Samsung released Galaxy Z Fold in 2019, everyone understood that a new trend appeared on the market.

Experts believe that in the upcoming years foldable devices will push modern smartphones, tablets and even laptops out of the game.

If you want to keep up with the latest trends and innovations, it’s a great time to start exploring the new technology standing behind Android foldables.

In this article, you will explore the process of building apps for foldables.

Here’s what’s you will learn:

  • Why it’s worth building apps for foldables
  • How foldables impact app development
  • Key considerations for the development of foldable apps
  • Challenges of building apps for foldables
  • Step-by-step process of app development

Let’s dive right into the guide and explore app development for foldable devices!

What are Foldable Devices?

Foldable devices have either a fold in the display or a hinge that separates two portions (typically halves) of the display. Devices with a hinge might have the ability to span content behind the hinge; for example, the Microsoft Surface Duo in its spanned mode.

The term foldable devices go back to 2008 when Nokia introduced the Morph concept. The distinctive characteristic is the availability of flexible OLED displays that can be folded into a double-size full-screen display.

Foldable devices provide users with a better and more immersive experience. The most vivid example of such devices is Samsung Galaxy Fold, which is now available for purchase. However, the technology is predicted to become more popular among manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

In fact, according to Statista, 55 million foldable smartphone displays will be shipped in 2025.

So, it’s about time you learn some basics of building apps for foldable devices.

How Foldables Impact App Development

Creating Apps for Foldable Phones
While the foldable technology seems exciting from the users’ point of view, there is no clear understanding of how it will impact mobile app development. The technology already has quite a notable impact on it with a lot of companies exploring the new technology.

Let’s explore some of the changes and benefits that foldable devices bring to app development:

  • Extra screen estate – the main idea behind foldable devices is providing users with an immersive experience thanks to the availability of a large screen. This is possible thanks to the foldable technology that turns two screens into a single and big one.
  • Small size – today, users need to make a choice between a compact form factor and a big screen. With foldable devices, they get everything in one device. Foldable smartphones can provide double the screen of the traditional device.
  • New content types – thanks to the availability of additional screen estate, creators will be able to release new forms of content that will take full use of the added screen size.
  • More features – modern smartphones have a limited screen size that doesn’t allow to fit all the needed features. With foldable devices, it will be possible to create multi-screen applications that will provide users with a lot of features on a single screen.

Foldable tablets and smartphones will one day take over the world of such devices and they will bring along a lot of opportunities.

Need help with foldable app development?

Get assistance from professional mobile app developers. Get in touch with our team for a detailed discussion of your project, timeline, and cost.

Challenges of Building Apps for Foldables

Difficulties During Foldable App Development
Before diving into the development of an app for foldable smartphones, make sure you know the challenges that will stand in your way.

You need to consider the following factors to build a high-quality and user-friendly foldable application:

  • Superior Quality

No one is saying that the development of apps for foldable devices is a walk in the park. You will need to keep in might that foldable phones must provide multiple orientations and have a different aspect ratio from traditional smartphones.

However, user expectations remain the same. They want to have a glitch-free experience when using your app. Thus, you need to know how to develop apps for foldable smartphones, otherwise, your app is doomed.

  • More Testing

Foldable solutions provide a bigger number of different use cases and scenarios. To make sure that there won’t be any bugs hiding in the background, you will need to test every feature and possible usage scenario. It will result in more hours and costs spent on QA and testing of your multi-window app.

  • Higher Development Time and Cost

If you decide to build an app for foldables or make an existing one compatible, you will be taking your solution into a new space. You will need to design, develop and test your app for a number of modes and multiple use cases. And with more work come higher expenses and time needed for development.

  • Tweaks & Changes

After you launch your application to the market, you will need to make a number of changes based on received user feedback. This is especially important if you already have an app and want to make it compatible with foldable devices.

If you want to know how to circumvent all of the mentioned challenges during foldable app development, continue reading the article to explore the best approaches that will allow you to do just that.

You can calculate the cost of building a mobile app using the guide prepared by our experts:

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App? [2021 Cost Calculation]

How to Develop Apps for Foldable Smartphones: Main Considerations

As you already know, the development of apps for foldables is different from the creation of traditional websites. You need to carry it in mind through all steps – from design to development and testing.

Two Screen States

Apps for Foldable Smartphones: Screen States
There are two states of the screen on foldable smartphones – folded and unfolded screen.

In the folded state, a foldable device looks like a regular smartphone or tablet. There is no difference in how users interact with the smartphone and the features available.

In the unfolded state, a regular smartphone transforms into a huge-screen device. The extra space creates an immersive experience and a lot of challenges for feature development.

As a result, you will need to design your app to operate in both these states. You will need to decide what happens after a user unfolds the device and which features you will show on which screen.

In the unfolded state, a smartphone gives a lot of room for building new features that have been impossible before.

One or Two-Handed App Design

The state of the screen changes the whole user experience.

In most cases, users interact with their smartphones with one hand. In the unfolded state, they will need to interact with your solution using both hands. Thus, you will need to adjust the placement of user interface elements accordingly.

Multi Window State

How to Create Multi-Window Apps
As mentioned before, the main idea behind foldable smartphones is providing users with larger screen real estate and better multitasking. In some cases, users might interact with a few multi-window apps. You need to keep it in mind when designing and developing your foldable application.

Screen Continuity

How to Develop Apps for Foldable Smartphones: Screen Continuity
Moving from folded to the unfolded state should be automatic and seamless for end-users. The app must resume its location and state.

You need to minimize the number of interface layout shifts, otherwise, such shifts will interrupt the user experience.


Foldable devices are known for their multi-window feature. Before Google released Android 10, only one app resumed after the phone was blocked. The latest versions of Android allow users to open a few apps alongside each other. All of the opened apps can resume their state without freezing other ones.

When building apps for foldables, you need to keep in mind this functionality that allows for multi-window mode.


How to Build Apps for Foldables: Services & Processes

The Process of App Development for Foldable Devices
Before you learn how to create apps for foldables, you first need to understand the main stages of which app development consists.

In most cases, you will see the companies divide the process into two stages: discovery and development.

1. Discovery Stage 

The discovery stage is necessary for the future success of your foldable application, and it allows to save time and money on reworkings in the future.

If you work with the IT vendor, it will use the discovery stage to identify your needs, technical requirements, and how the team will address the development process.

Key deliverables of the discovery stage include:

  • Market analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Functional specifications
  • Product backlog

A significant part of the discovery stage is dedicated to UX/UI design. You will need to create the logic behind the user interface, identify how users will interact with your foldable application, and visual aspects of its UI.

The deliverables of UX/UI phrase include:

  • UX wireframes
  • UI mockups
  • Branding elements (e.g., logo, unique icons, etc.)
  • Illustrations and animations


2. Development Stage

The development stage is dedicated to the coding and creation of your application. At this stage, you will need to define the whole set of future tasks, create specifications for your project, and set a timeline for implementation.

Usually, development is divided into a few phases:

  • Coding – the creation of the code base for your future application, integration with API, and other third-party solutions.
  • QA & Testing – an important part of mobile app development that allows making sure that functionality was realized according to specification. Depending on the type of application, this stage usually consists of different types of testing and QA.
  • Deployment, Ongoing Development & Support – after the app’s release to the market, you will need to continue working on your foldable application. Going development and support will help it stay afloat, surprise users with new features, and timely bug fixing.

Building Apps for Foldables: Step-by-Step Guide

steps to Build an App for Foldable Devices
This part of the article will navigate you through a step-by-step process of building an app for foldables. You will learn how to organize development and make it seamless for your company.

Below is the list of 7 steps to the development of an app for foldables.

1. Market Research & Competition Analysis

Developing an app is impossible without knowing the market state and your competition. This stage will help you get the answers to the following questions:

  • What industry do you want to create a foldable device for?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What value will your app offer to users?
  • What feature would you like to develop?
  • How will your app be different from competitors?

2. App Concept Finalization

Knowing the answers to the above questions, you will be able to finalize the app concept, i.e., decide on the final set of features, the way users will interact with your app, and the unique selling proposition.

3. App Monetization Strategy

The choice of the specific strategy depends on the type of app you are going to develop. Usually, there are a few options that you can choose from:

  • In-app purchases
  • Freemium model
  • Subscription
  • Advertisements
  • Partnerships

After you are finished with this stage, you can create a business model canvas to structure all the information for future application development.

Below you can see an example of a business model canvas created for a food delivery app.


You can learn how to make money with a free app in our article explaining all the possible strategies and monetization models:

How do Free Apps Make Money? [Best Strategies for 2021]

4. Selecting IT Development Partner

In case you are not a tech-savvy developer and don’t want to deal with the development process, you will need to find a development company that will help turn your idea into a successful digital product.

This stage is essential since choosing the wrong partner might cost you a lot of time and money wasted.

Here is how you can decrease the risks and find a company that will become your reliable technical partner:

  • Start the search with such platforms as Clutch, The Manifest, etc.
  • Check portfolio for similar projects
  • Ask the right questions to identify the company’s expertise
  • Check reviews from current and former customers
  • Choose the company based on favorable location
  • Pay attention to English knowledge and cultural differences

An exhaustive guide prepared by our team will help you explore all the aspects of finding an app development vendor: 

Outsource App Development in 2021: How to Make It Work

5. Custom UX/UI for Foldable App

Create the design of your application taking into consideration all the specifics of developing apps for foldable devices. The app should be feature-rich and user-friendly while taking the maximum use of the enlarged screen of foldable smartphones.

6. App Development

Any app should be created with scalability and security in mind. The architecture should be developed in such a way that you will be able to add new features, improve performance, and add additional resources to your app without a problem.

7. Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

Today, building an app is not enough. You will need to work hard to connect users with your solution. Building and launching a market strategy is the necessary stage if you don’t want all the efforts to go in vain.

A comprensative marketing strategy can include SMM, content marketing, paid advertisements, participation in events, etc. You can start working on brand awareness long before you launch your app to the market.

How to Develop Apps for Foldable Smartphones: Article Sum-Up

Foldable devices are only developing roots in the world of portable devices. The most expressive example are Samsung foldable smartphones. Experts predict that the technology world will see a plethora of foldable devices in the future.

However, you don’t need to wait for that future. There are already devices will foldable screens and you can develop an app working on them today.

Now that you know how to create an app for foldables, it’s time to apply the gained knowledge to practice.

Want to develop an app for foldables but don’t know where to start?

Get in touch with Addevice to discuss your app idea. Our team of experts will create an action plan for you and offer the best quality of services.

Frequently Asked Questions

📱What are foldable devices?
Foldable devices are a smartphone or a table in a foldable form factor. They are equipped with flexible OLED displays that can be folded into a double-size full-screen display. Such devices provide users with an immersive experience and larger screen estate.
💡What should I consider when building foldable applications?
Foldable technology is comparatively new and presents a number of challenges for app developers. If you decide to create an application for such devices, you will need to design an app for two screen states, add multi-window support, ensure screen continuity and foresee a huge number of possible use cases.
🆚What is the main difference between foldables and regular apps?
Unlike regular apps, applications for foldable smartphones need to work on different screen ratios, have a more advanced user interface, and foresee a huge number of use cases.
🏗What should I know about the process to create an app for foldable smartphones?
During the development of a mobile app, you will need to solve a number of challenges, starting with market research and competition analysis and moving to the selection of the right development vendor, organizing the development process and launching a comprehensive marketing strategy.

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