Samsung might launch smartphones with foldable displays as early as next year, Bloomberg reports citing people familiar with the matter.
Too many details are lacking at the moment though what is known there might be two smartphones with foldable screen Samsung is planning to launch, possibly at the MWC 2017 event. One of the devices will resemble a lot like a wallet or a cosmetic compact that folds right along the centre.
Another device will feature a 5-inch display, which eventually can turn into an 8-inch tablet. That does make for an interesting concept in which it serves two purposes – a 5-inch smartphone as well as an 8-inch tablet. Exactly how the smartphone turns into a tablet and vice versa is anybody’s guess right now.
Reportedly, Samsung is waiting till it gets the required technology to mass produce a transparent plastic that can bend thousands of times without losing its strength or transparency. Another important parameter associated with bendable devices is the curvature radius, and the new devices are believed to be minimalistic on that front as well.
Both the devices form part of what is being referred to internally as Project Valley. The commercial names of the devices haven’t been revealed as yet though rumor has it that such devices will not be made part of the Galaxy series. That notwithstanding previous rumors that the new devices would come to be identified by the moniker Galaxy X. Samsung is offering smartphones featuring curved edges with its Edge series though those are fixed and does not fold or bend.
It has been years since we have been treated with displays with varying degrees of flexibility. Most of such displays were part of technology demonstrations, and none has ever been launched commercially. At least none that eventually made it big. LG had launched its G-Flex smartphone that exhibited flexibility to some extent but failed to make a mark in the industry.
While it remains to be seen how such products fare in real world conditions, a successful launch will no doubt have an adverse impact on the prospects of Apple iPhones. The Cupertino company is yet to incorporate OLED displays for the iPhones, something that Samsung has already done for the past several years. And now with foldable smartphones, Samsung might steal a march on its arch rivals by a substantial margin. How Apple, or for that matter, the whole industry responds to Samsung’s move remains to be seen.