Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo released its first foldable phone on Tuesday, targeting premium users with a price tag of around $1,500. 

Why it matters: Vivo follows the footsteps of rival brands such as Xiaomi, Huawei, and Oppo, releasing its first foldable phone. Global shipments of foldable phones will hit 15.7 million in 2022, forecasting a yearly growth rate of 107%, according to market research firm CINNO Research.

  • The new phone, called the Vivo X Fold, showcased more tech than just foldable tech, Louis Liu, an analyst from a Chinese hardware insight firm CINNO Research told TechNode. The new phone addressed some of the shortcomings of previous models from other brands with features such as rapid wireless charging and on-screen fingerprint recognition, Liu added. 

Details: Using a Samsung display screen, the Vivo X Fold has an 8.03-inch interior display when used in tablet mode and a 6.53-inch exterior display when folded. For comparison, an iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch display, and a regular iPad is 10.9 inches. 

  • Both displays support a 120 Hz refresh rate with a battery-saving display tech called Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide (LTPO), which claims to reduce power consumption by about one-third. 
  • A model with 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage is priced at RMB 8,999 ($1,413); a model with 512GB of storage and the same RAM spec will cost RMB 9,999 ($1570).
  • Liu also said that compared to its sister brand Oppo’s foldable model Find N, the Vivo X Fold is a more premium device, adding that Vivo focused more on internal technology whereas Oppo focused on getting an optimal display size when folded.

Context:  CINNO predicts that Samsung will lead the foldable market this year with a 70% share.

  • Vivo is the largest smartphone maker in China based on shipments in 2021, according to IDC.
  • Vivo, Oppo, and OnePlus – three of the biggest smartphone brands in China – have shared roots: they are or were indirectly owned by Better Life Group. Therefore, while the brands share technology in some cases despite the competition. For instance, OnePlus and Oppo will merge their phone operating systems to the singular ColorOS, according to a post in the OnePlus community on March 8.

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a] or Twitter @zhounanyu.