Samsung demonstrated its foldable display technology two years ago at CES 2013, and speculation is increasing that it could introduce it in the Galaxy S7. This smartphone sequel is expected next year, and Samsung will be attempting to pull out all the stops with the Galaxy S7 in an attempt to claw back some of the ground that has been lost on Apple in recent years.
Galaxy S7 critical for Samsung
The Galaxy S7 will be a particularly important release for Samsung, as the Galaxy S series has lost a little of its reputation in recent iterations. What was considered ideal for the smartphone niche when Samsung released early versions of the Galaxy S series is now considered outdated, and Samsung has to some extent struggled to keep up with the trends in this marketplace.
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But the Galaxy S6 was considered something of a return to form for the Korean manufacturer, and a newly emboldened Samsung can now look to extend the Galaxy S6 concept further still when the Galaxy S7 is unveiled. typically, Samsung has not been scared of innovating or packing its devices with high specifications, so we could see something truly outstanding and spectacular when the Galaxy S is released.
And one of the innovations that Samsung is eyeing to finally include is the flexible display technology that has been available as a prototype to the corporation for some time. It is perhaps surprising that the Korean consumer electronics giant has yet to launch a smartphone featuring this bendy technology considering that Samsung originally made a rather big deal out of it a couple of years ago at CES.
Since then, the likes of Nokia and LG have announced some impressive folding technology, while Samsung has gone quiet on the subject. But it is notable that when Samsung discussed this concept at the Consumer Electronics Show that it was purported to be working on several different prototypes. A flexible and foldable display as defined by Samsung includes a wide range of display types, and these include unbreakable, curved, foldable and rollable.
Technical issues for foldable displays
Yet Samsung has had a relatively hard time in converting its prototypes into commercial devices. Although the Galaxy, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy Round have all been released, these can be neatly filed under the ‘curved’ category. Samsung has effectively delivered on one aspect of its CES keynote demonstration, but several other aspects have been conspicuous by their absence.
This is perhaps surprising as the curved and foldable prototypes seemed to be at similar stages of development when they were originally unveiled. Yet the foldable aspect of Samsung’s technology seems to have been put very much on the backburner since then.
But it is worth noting that Samsung certainly would not have demonstrated it publicly if it was an unfeasible concept. A working device that could be debuted to the world indicates that Samsung will be ready at some point in the foreseeable future to introduce foldable displays its range of smartphone devices. The question is simply…when?
Speculation on this issue intensified last year when comments from Samsung Display’s Lee Chang-hoon indicated that the Korean technology company could be ready to release something foldable before the end of 2015. Chang-hoon was speaking before investors in New York when he stated that the production capacity of 30 to 40,000 flexible displays per month would be achievable by the end of 2015. He further indicated the intention of Samsung to release such a product by the end of this year, even though he also emphasized that the final products have not yet been decided internally.
Yet as the days have ticked away in 2015, Samsung has still remained tight-lipped on the concept of a foldable display smartphone. Certainly one has not been forthcoming, and it seems increasingly debatable whether we will actually seen this technology emerge during 2015. One should not underestimate the technical undertaking involved in producing a foldable screen, not merely from a practical perspective. Samsung may very well be able to manufacture this technology at the time of writing, but delivering it on a mass scale at an affordable price point could be an entirely different matter.
Recently, Business Korea has quoted an unnamed Samsung official who stated that the consumer electronics industry believes that the commercialization of foldable smartphones will become possible during 2016. Although these are rather vague comments, it does suggest that the Galaxy S7 could benefit from a foldable display, and this would make sense for what is considered to be the flagship device of the Samsung corporation.
When quizzed on the subject recently, Samsung Display confirmed that it was working on several different types of flexible displays, including foldable and rollable. Samsung stated that it is working closely with handset partners, but that nothing has been decided internally about the specific release plan and schedule of future Samsung handsets.
This is the sort of dead bat that consumer electronics companies generally play when they are presented with a question that they do not wish to answer. But it does indicate that Samsung certainly hasn’t dropped the foldable screen concept. This is obviously something that Samsung is committed to, and the question about when it will emerge is really based around logistics.
Samsung Working on Foldable Galaxy S7?
It is questionable at this point in time whether Samsung can afford to increase the pricing of the Galaxy S7. Apple has been destroying Samsung in the marketplace recently, and while the Korean manufacturer would love to produce a distinctive smartphone featuring a foldable display, it will also realize that risk-taking should not be high on its list of priorities at the moment.
But one final morsel of information suggests that Samsung will go into this field sooner rather than later. The other major Korean electronics giant, LG, has recently announced that it will be investing a vast $1.3 billion into improving and developing foldable OLED displays, with the aim of commercializing them by 2017.
Samsung will not wish to be beaten to the punch over something that it has so publicly demonstrated, and this could push the tech firm to include foldable display technology in the Galaxy S7 when it releases next year.