Reportedly, Samsung Electronics is planning to unveil foldable smartphones in the third quarter of 2017. The smartphone with panels facing outward upon folding is expected to turn into a 7-inch tablet when unfolded. The information is provided by the sources familiar with the matter.
“Samsung is expected to roll out more than 100,000 units of fold-out devices in the third quarter,” a source told The Korea Herald.
Samsung has already developed fold-in phones that tuck the screen inside when folded. In August, the company started working on fold-out technologies believing that it can be rather inconvenient for users to unfold the phones every time they want to use them.
“Since the company already secured fold-in phone technology, it was not a big challenge to shift into the fold-out phones,” the source said.
Although, Samsung Electronics seems to complete the development of fold-out technologies, it doesn’t push the presentation of new smartphones. It is still unclear if the company will unveil the device this year – there are some marketability and profitability issues that can delay the launch.
“The final decision will be made after the personnel reshuffle of the company’s information technology and mobile communications unit is carried out,” the initial source said.
According to the latest report of market research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung Electronics may unveil the world’s first foldable phones this year. The report predicts that the foldable display market has all chances to reach 163 million units by 2022 from 2.7 million units this year.
Samsung is not the only company that is developing foldable devices. Its rival LG Electronics is expected to produce more than 100,000 foldable devices in the fourth quarter.
LG might take a lead in this race as it started the development of fold-out technology two to three years ago. As a result, now it can boast of a more advanced technology than Samsung.
Samsung is primarily adopting its new technology into its own products such as the Galaxy series while LG may use the technology for other global clients such as Apple or Huawei.
Samsung Electronics usually undergoes an executive-level reshuffle in December. However, this time it was postponed till February or March as the company is currently embroiled in the political scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
At the end of 2016, Samsung announced that it was pushing back the UK release of Samsung Pay until next year. Initially, the company had planned to bring the service to Britain in 2016 after the launch in the US and South Korea last year.