Smartphone innovation has saturated in the last couple of years and companies are struggling to offer meaningful upgrades, resulting in slower replacement cycles. Smaller bezels and slightly improved cameras are not compelling enough for many customers to upgrade to the newer models. Smartphones with foldable displays are considered to be the next big technological milestone that can overcome this fatigue in the market.
Samsung is widely considered to be the OEM that will bring the first foldable smartphone to the market (though Chinese OEM Huawei has recently joined the race). The company has sort of confirmed that it is working on such a product. There have been countless media reports, rumors, concepts, and patents about Samsung’s foldable smartphone, often dubbed the Galaxy X. Adding to the list, a new report from Korea has some interesting details about the form factor and launch timeline of the long-awaited smartphone.
Expected to release early next year
According to the report, Samsung supposedly showcased an in-folding prototype of the foldable smartphone to the industry partners at a secret meeting during the CES 2018 earlier this year. The prototype had three OLED panels of 3.5 inch each, two of which were placed together to create a 7-inch screen when the smartphone is unfolded, while the third panel was placed on the outside of the in-folding prototype as an information ticker. In terms of footprint, the prototype was close to the Galaxy Note 8 when unfolded.
The report further states that the design of the Galaxy X is not yet finalized. Samsung is apparently exploring both in-folding and out-folding designs and the final decision on design will be taken in June this year. Also, the Galaxy S10 will be a different model from the Galaxy X (or whatever it will be named by Samsung) and will not have any of the bendable display magic, as a previous report from the same source had revealed.
Regarding availability, the report says that the Galaxy X should be available early next year. The device will see a limited release to test market reactions and gather customer feedback. The strategy seems similar to what Samsung did with the ‘Edge' design on their smartphones, though the company's CEO has said it will be waiting until it has a proper user experience to offer with its foldable phone before putting it out on the market. No one currently knows which of the many foldable smartphone designs will succeed, so expect different designs and form factors from Samsung and other OEMs before the market settles on one or a few of these ideas.
While the report from Korea definitely offers some interesting details, it is worth reiterating that none of the information in the report is official, so take all of this with a heavy dose of skepticism.