Competition is heating up in the foldable smartphone market, as Microsoft, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung have all expressed prolonged interest in the technology. Samsung mobile head has finally shed some light on its long-in-development device, revealing that the device can be expected to double up as a tablet that will fit in the user’s pocket as a folded smartphone.
While many consider such a device a “gimmick product,” Koh is quick to assure that its foldable handset wouldn’t “disappear after six to nine months after it's delivered.” Instead, it’s intended to bridge the gap between smartphone and tablet, allowing for multitasking capabilities from a single device.
Of course, the company has been teasing its flexible OLED displays since CES 2013, with rumoured designs changing greatly across the years. Koh states that Samsung isn’t in a hurry to rush out a half-baked product, however.
Image: Samsung foldable display
“When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer,” Koh told CNET during the launch of its Galaxy A9 smartphone. “If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don’t want to deliver those kind of products.”
Samsung doesn’t expect the bendable device to find its footing right off the bat, instead appealing to a niche market that will eventually expand. As proven with Microsoft’s leaked Andromeda concept, however, people are voicing their want for such a versatile device.
Koh has previously hinted that we might see the flexible device appear in some capacity during a developer conference on November 7th, however the handset isn’t expect to launch until sometime next year if development continues to go well. In the meantime, Huawei is rumoured to launch its new foldable smartphone in limited quantities in November with a wider rollout in 2019.
KitGuru Says: I admire Samsung’s slow approach to such a big jump in the market, as new technology should always be perfected as best as possible before landing on shelves. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer, but I’m personally happy to wait until things are definitively ready. Do you see many uses for a foldable smartphone that doubles up as a tablet?