Samsung is planning to announce a foldable smartphone before the end of the year. The news was confirmed by the CEO of Samsung’s mobile division during an interview with CNBC.
DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung, said that “it’s time to deliver” on a foldable device after consumer surveys carried out by Samsung showed that there is a market for that kind of handset. Koh didn’t share the technical details of how the device worked but shared how Samsung plans to differentiate the experience from a tablet once it is unfolded.
You can use most of the uses … on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it. But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they (consumers) buy it?
So every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So when the end customer uses it, (they think) ‘wow, this is the reason Samsung made it’.
– DJ Koh
Koh indicated that the device could be unveiled this year at the Samsung Developer Conference in November in San Francisco. He also confirmed that the tech used in the device was complicated but the company has “nearly concluded” it.
This coincides with a research published by Digitimes that says the demand for flexible OLED panels will surge in 2019. They even went on to mention that Samsung is leading the race of developing flexible OLED panels.
While Samsung Display has seen the fastest development in the flexible OLED sector, China-based BOE Technology is playing catch-up, aiming to compete with Samsung Display to lure OLED panel orders from Apple.
Digitimes Research has found that most of foldable smartphone models that had been unveiled by handset makers came with an in-folding design for the configuration of flexible displays, which is less complicated technologically as compared to a design with outwardly configured displays. However, displays with an in-folding design still have to overcome issues: dust is easy to run into the bends of flexible displays and the number of times of folding flexible displays has to be further strengthened.
With substrates playing a key role for the production of flexible OLED panels, material suppliers have come out with colorless polyimide (PI) which features high transmittance, heat resistance and low coefficient of thermal expansion and therefore is ideal for the production of flexible OLED panels.
While we still don’t have any word on the full-scale launch or the pricing of the device, we at least now know that such a device exists.