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

(View all)
Avatar
28 months ago
My iPhone 6 Plus was foldable. Samsung, always copying Apple!
Score: 97 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
Say what you will, but this is cool tech.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
What could possibly go wrong?
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
Weren't most phones before the iPhone foldable?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
I would pay upwards of $1500 for an iPhone that unfolded into an iPad Mini. Not joking.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 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.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

iPhone 12 Models Might Support Reverse Charging of Future Apple Accessories According to FCC Filing

Tuesday October 27, 2020 6:25 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 models could have an inactive wireless charging feature for accessories, according to an FCC filing discovered by VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz. In the filing, Apple said that 2020 iPhones support a wireless charging function that will seemingly be enabled for at least one future Apple accessory:In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones...