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Samsung may not pursue slidable phones, but its rivals might have to

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Last updated: November 9th, 2022 at 14:53 UTC+01:00

Even though Samsung Display has been experimenting with various form factors and use cases for its state-of-the-art foldable display technology, at least one analyst believes that the company has no interest in developing commercial slidable phones. Furthermore, because Samsung has a tight grip on the foldable phone market as it is, Chinese smartphone manufacturers might be the ones to explore slidable phones before Samsung does, attempting to stand out in a relatively monopolized market space.

CEO and top analyst of UBI Research, Yi Choong-hoon, believes that the foldable and slidable phone markets overlap. In turn, this makes it “difficult for slidable phones to create their own market.” And because of this, Samsung “seems uninterested in slidable phones.” (via The Korea Herald)

Instead of pursuing new form factors, the analyst believes that Samsung will continue focusing on foldable phones “for some time.”

One reason why Samsung may continue focusing on the foldable form factor rather than exploring slidable devices is that the former design feels less complicated, i.e., more consumer-friendly. People are familiar with the book-like form factor, and flip phones have been around for ages.

Worth noting is that LG had a slidable phone (almost) ready for the market, called LG Rollable. However, the company retreated from the mobile segment before it could release it globally, and only a handful of LG employees got the opportunity to possess the Rollable.

Chinese foldable smartphone makers might never be able to catch up with Samsung

Although several OEMs from China have attempted to challenge Samsung's dominance over the emerging foldable phone market and have released more foldable phones to compete, these efforts might be in vain, says the analyst.

“Samsung Display has secured unrivaled competitiveness, especially on related patents and production know-how. It won't be easy for Chinese rivals to compete head-on.”

However, as a way to combat Samsung's dominance, the analyst believes that Chinese OEMs might eventually seek to develop and release slidable phones to differentiate themselves from the market leader. Even so, he believes that “the market potential [for slidable phones] seems limited.”

As for Samsung exploring other form factors, the company may be equally reluctant to use slidable display technology for laptops. However, it may use this technology for tablet PCs, as “the entry barrier seems lower than other devices.” Which ultimately could mean that we may see a slidable tablet from Samsung before we see a slidable smartphone. Samsung Display showcased a large 13-17-inch slidable screen for tablet PCs at the Intel Innovation Keynote 2022.

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