Samsung has long been working on a foldable phone, so to keep up the excitement, it has been sharing a few tidbits about the phone every now and then. Management shared shared a few more details on Friday, saying that Samsung’s foldable phone will work like a tablet but fit in your pocket.
Similar to concept released in 2013
Samsung Mobile CEO D.J. Koh told CNET on the sidelines of the Galaxy A9 launch event in Kuala Lumpur that the handset will function like a tablet and come with a big screen, but it can be folded into a portable phone.
Koh’s description matches the concept device shown in the trailer released by Samsung in 2013. The concept showed a foldable device with a large internal screen and a second smaller screen on the outside.
Samsung said previously that it would unveil the phone in 2018, but it later postponed the launch to 2019. Koh said last month that Samsung’s foldable phone could be announced in November at their developer conference. However, going by Koh’s latest comments, it’s possible the company will scrap the project completely. He told CNET that the foldable phone will only be launched if it meets certain standards.
“When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer,” Koh said. “If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don’t want to deliver those kind of products.”
He also said Samsung’s foldable phone won’t be a “gimmick product” that will “disappear after six to nine months after it’s delivered.” It means the company intends to follow it up with more foldable handsets. The executive admitted that “we do need a foldable phone.”
Further, Koh said the foldable device will not be limited to a region; rather, it will be a global release. Samsung’s Galaxy Round, which came with a curved display, was only available in the company’s home country.
“Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand,” Koh said.
What to expect from Samsung’s foldable phone
Koh did not reveal anything about the specs, but he did note that a large screen is important for a smartphone. He said Samsung inspired rivals like Apple and Google to release larger handsets and hinted that the foldable phone might have a display over 6.5 inches in size.
The Korean firm will likely use its flexible OLED technology for the foldable handset. When unfolded, the handset may have a 7.3-inch OLED screen, while it could be 4.5 inches when folded. Samsung’s foldable phone could be called the Galaxy X, and it may be the first 5G foldable smartphone. It would likely be Samsung’s most expensive phone ever and cost well over $1,000.
It would be a bit odd for Samsung’s foldable phone to be announced at its developer conference, but it is needed as well. Samsung will need developers to release apps for the new format. An announcement next month could also mean the device will actually hit the market some time later, possibly in 2019.
Next year appears an apt time to launch a new handset. It will be the tenth anniversary of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, which would make it the perfect time to launch a phone with a completely new form factor.
Foldable phones to be the next big thing
It seems foldable phones could be the next big thing in the mobile world. That is probably why so many manufacturers have stepped up their efforts to come up with such a handset. Huawei is expected to release a foldable handset in limited quantities in 2019. Lenovo and Xiaomi are also known to be working on such a handset.
LG too is reportedly working on a foldable device. The company has made big investments in flexible displays. Earlier this year, LG even showcased a concept TV which can be rolled up into a box. The Chinese smartphone maker Oppo also filed a patent for a foldable device.
Presently, the closest thing to a foldable phone we have is the ZTE Axon M dual-screen phone, which can be folded. Microsoft has a patent for a device with three screens. The third screen, according to patent, would be attached to the device’s hinge.