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Samsung Rumored to Debut First Foldable Smartphone This Year

Samsung is still on track to unveil its first foldable smartphone later in 2018, Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh told CNBC.

According to Koh, it is "time to deliver" on a foldable device after Samsung research revealed that there is consumer interest in such a device.

A smartphone concept with bendable display from Samsung

Samsung first announced its plans for a smartphone with a bendable display in September 2017, and at the time, Koh said that the device would be positioned as a Galaxy Note. Given that Samsung has already announced this year's Galaxy Note 9, it's likely the new foldable smartphone will feature its own branding and will be sold alongside the Galaxy Note and S lines.

Koh declined to share details on how a folding screen might work, but at IFA last week, he said that Samsung is trying to work out the details on differentiating it from a tablet design.
"You can use most of the uses ... on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it. But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they (consumers) buy it?"

"So every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So when the end customer uses it, (they think) 'wow, this is the reason Samsung made it'."
Rumors suggest that the device Samsung is working on does not include a hinge and will instead be one single screen that is able to fold in half.

The device is said to be about seven inches diagonally, roughly the size of a small tablet, but it can be folded in half like a wallet. When folded, the exterior of the phone is said to offer a small display bar on the front and cameras in the back, with an all-screen design when opened up.

Koh told CNBC that details on the device could be unveiled at this year's Samsung Developer Conference, set to be held in November in San Francisco, but he did not offer up details on when it might go on sale. He did, however, say that while the development process was "complicated," Samsung has "nearly concluded" it.

Previous information has suggested Samsung is actually aiming to launch the device early in 2019, targeting specific markets like gamers. If initial interest is strong, Samsung is said to be planning for a broader commercial debut during the second half of 2019.

Samsung is aiming to be the first company to come out with a foldable screen, beating other companies like Apple to the new design. Rumors have suggested that Apple is perhaps experimenting with an iPhone with a foldable display.

A 2017 rumor, for example, suggested Apple is working on an iPhone with a foldable display alongside LG Display, and a Merrill Lynch analyst recently predicted Apple will introduce a foldable iPhone in 2020.

LG's foldable display concept

There continues to be no concrete evidence that Apple is pursuing a foldable iPhone, but the company has filed for several patents related to foldable iPhone displays.

Tag: Samsung

Top Rated Comments

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16 months ago
My iPhone 6 Plus was foldable. Samsung, always copying Apple!
Rating: 97 Votes
16 months ago
Say what you will, but this is cool tech.
Rating: 49 Votes
16 months ago
What could possibly go wrong?
Rating: 45 Votes
16 months ago
Weren't most phones before the iPhone foldable?
Rating: 36 Votes
16 months ago
I would pay upwards of $1500 for an iPhone that unfolded into an iPad Mini. Not joking.
Rating: 26 Votes
16 months ago
Thing is, they bend, they don’t fold, at least not without a seam. So you end up with a hinge like a surface pro with a gap, or a deeper case to accommodate the bend.
Rating: 22 Votes
16 months ago
I'll be the first to buy one of these, unless it costs 'Apple price' (aka over 999 USD).

Apple might take 5 years to even release something similar as usual with minor improvements and terrible locked-down iOS or whatever they Cook up next.
Rating: 20 Votes
16 months ago
Another Samsung novelty item. They'll make it, few will buy it and they'll move on.
Rating: 16 Votes
16 months ago
Soon we’ll hopefully be able to angrily slam our phone shut after an argument. A vital experience that’s been missing since I got the first iPhone.

Quickly pressing the side button, or the “end call” button doesn’t have the same effect.
Rating: 16 Votes
16 months ago

Sounds tedious. Even DJ Koh can’t even figure out what the use cases are. A product in search of a purpose and market.

The use case is a phone that can be a large screen tablet in one device
Rating: 15 Votes

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