The V Purse is a new concept phone from Honor that asks “what if foldables were more like fashion accessories?” The company showed off the device during a presentation at IFA 2023 alongside the Honor Magic V2, its latest foldable phone announced in China earlier this year.
The V Purse is a demonstration of what’s possible for folding devices, and Honor hasn’t said if it’ll ever be released it as a product. Conversely, the company says it plans to release the Magic V2 globally no later than Q1 next year, CNBC reports, but has yet to officially announce pricing outside China.
There are two key elements to the V Purse’s design. First is a series of interchangeable straps and chains that clip on to the foldable and allow it to be carried like a purse or handbag. The second is the way it uses its outward-facing display to show a series of wallpapers designed to mimic different purse styles. It’s basically the opposite approach to what Louis Vuitton did in 2019.
I will say that I think the attachable straps aren’t a terrible idea. Accessory manufacturers like Bandolier have proven that plenty of people are interested in attaching them to their existing phones as a convenient way to carry them around — without needing to buy an entirely new phone.
Having the V Purse’s foldable display on the unprotected outside rather than the inside of the device is a bold choice. Obviously the fact that you can see the screen at all times is the whole point of the device; Honor wants to use it to show off its always-on display designs. The company says it’s worked with a series of fashion designers and artists to contribute different themes for the device, and has said it wants to open up an API in the future to allow anyone to make their own. These designs can react to your touch as well as the movement of the phone.
The V Purse has a small button to unclip and unfold the display, and Honor says the device is less than 9mm thick when folded.
But an outward-facing display comes with obvious durability trade-offs. Folding phone screens are soft and fragile, which is why they’re normally hidden safely inside the devices. Honor’s former parent company Huawei put its foldable screens on the outside for its early foldable phones, but pretty soon it started putting them on the inside like everyone else. The risk of scratching or scuffing the delicate display is high, even if Honor says the V Purse’s hinge is rated to survive the same 400,000 folds as the Magic V2.
That said, these concerns are academic until Honor says it’s actually going to sell the V Purse publicly. Given our experience with previous concept devices like this, we might be waiting a very long time.