Samsung To Start Making Foldable OLED Displays For Galaxy X This Year

Samsung Foldable OLED Galaxy X 1
Image source: Lets Go Digital

Samsung has officially announced its December quarter results, and they are better than ever. The company posted a staggering $14.13 billion in quarterly operating profits. During the earnings call, Samsung also revealed that it would differentiate its premium Galaxy phones with cutting-edge technologies such as “foldable OLED displays.” In fact, the Galaxy X featuring foldable OLED panels could arrive as early as this year.

Samsung to start producing foldable OLED panels this year

The Galaxy X has dominated the rumor mill for almost two years. The Korean electronics behemoth confirmed that it would start mass production of foldable OLED panels this year. They will most likely be used in the Galaxy X. Supply chain reports indicate that Samsung has finalized the design of the Galaxy X. However, Samsung still has a few issues to fix related to the user interface. Since the device would have a foldable OLED panel, it would require a new interface.

Samsung reportedly showcased two different prototypes of the Galaxy X to a small group of investors and partners at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month. The company showed off both the infolding and outfolding prototypes to the attendees to gauge their responses ahead of the product’s launch. The rumor mill claims Samsung has decided to go ahead with the infolding version. It could keep the outfolding variant for the next generation of foldable smartphones, says Phone Arena.

Samsung has filed a wide range of patents related to foldable OLED screens in the last few years. Most of them describe an inward folding design. You could fold it like a book. When unfolded, the device would offer a giant 7.3-inch screen, effectively turning it into a tablet that can easily fit into your pocket when folded. One of the patents suggests that the Galaxy X would also come with 3D Touch-like pressure-sensitive display technology.

Will Samsung launch the Galaxy X in December?

While interacting with the media at CES, Samsung’s mobile business chief DJ Koh said Samsung would be able to launch the Galaxy X sometime next year. His comment contradicts his earlier statement that the foldable phone was on track to hit the store shelves in 2018. The delay in commercialization will likely be due to the user experience-related issues, which Koh described as “the biggest obstacle.”

There is still a good chance that the Galaxy X could launch by the end of this year. Samsung confirmed at the earnings call that it would start producing foldable OLED panels this year. Sources familiar with the company’s plans have told ETNews that the production of foldable OLED screens would start in September. The Galaxy X itself is expected to enter mass production in November. It means the device could be released in December 2018, just in time for Christmas.

Samsung is unlikely to launch the Galaxy X internationally this year, though. Phone Arena says the company could initially sell the Galaxy X only in its home country to gauge the consumer response. Samsung could launch it in international markets sometime in 2019. The foldable smartphone is expected to feature at least 6GB RAM, a dual camera setup, and Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 processor.

Samsung posts record quarterly profits

For the fourth quarter of 2017, Samsung recorded $61.5 billion in revenues and $14.13 billion in operating profits. The profits jumped 64% YoY, making it the Korean company’s most profitable Q4 ever. Samsung’s profits kept increasing each subsequent quarter in 2017. For t e full year, the company posted $224 billion in revenues and $50 billion in profits.

Samsung’s mobile division didn’t perform well during the quarter amid fierce competition from Chinese vendors in the low- and mid-range segments. The Galaxy Note 8 sales were strong, though. Samsung expects its mobile business revenues to increase in the current quarter on the back of the Galaxy S9 launch. The S9 will be unveiled on February 25 in Barcelona. The strong Q4 performance was driven by the memory and display businesses. It is the sole supplier of OLED screens for the iPhone X.

Meanwhile, Business Korea reports that Sony might be planning to launch a foldable display smartphone to rival Samsung’s Galaxy X. Sony has signed a deal with LG Display for the supply of flexible OLED panels. The screens could be used to make phones with a curved display like Galaxy S8 or a device with a foldable display panel like Galaxy X.