Samsung is hard at work on a pair of new foldable smartphones to launch after the Galaxy Fold later this year, according to Bloomberg (opens in new tab). The South Korean company purportedly wants to capitalise on its early lead in the new smartphone category.
According to the Bloomberg report, Samsung is working on a clamshell-like device with the same pliable so-called Infinity Flex Display used in the Galaxy Fold. Sound familiar? Rival manufacturer Motorola has also confirmed plans to develop a folding smartphone, which will use a similar clamshell-like design and revive its Razr branding.
Samsung is also reported to be developing a smartphone with a flexible screen that wraps around the outside of the device, like the Huawei Mate X. The €2,000 Galaxy Fold keeps its flexible OLED on the inside, like a paperback novel. The disadvantage to the Fold's approach is that it requires a secondary touchscreen on the front of the device so that it can still be used when the Infinity Flex Display is stowed away.
That said, keeping the pliable touchscreen on the inside should save it from scuffs and scratches – something that could adversely impact the lifespan of the screen on the Huawei Mate X which is always exposed.
According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), while it's too early to judge customer appetite for a folding phone, Samsung is eager to gain the edge before Apple decides to launch its own pliable iPhone. Although the company hasn't discussed plans to bring foldable display technology to its best-selling smartphone range, it's believed the company could secretly be targeting a 2020 release date.
“No one knows what the ideal design is yet,” said Bryan Ma, Vice President at market research firm IDC. “The time is ripe for experimentation. Many of these designs won’t be successful, but industry players will learn valuable lessons along the way.”
Samsung is apparently planning to launch its new Galaxy Fold variants late this year or sometime early next year, the report claims. The Seoul-based company is using mock-ups internally to fine-tune its foldable design.
The Samsung handset with its folding screen on the outside will be considerably thinner than the Galaxy Fold since it only has to squeeze a single OLED display into the design. Samsung has yet to confirm the dimensions of the Galaxy Fold, but even assuming each side of the fold measures slightly less than the already-svelte Galaxy S10 (7.8mm) that's still around 15mm. For comparison, the original iPhone which launched in 2007, measures 11.6mm.
Samsung is hoping to incorporate an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor into future entries in its foldable series, just as it has done with the Galaxy S10 announced late last month, sources speaking to Bloomberg revealed.
While Samsung is toiling away on future models, it’s also trying to iron-out some durability issues with the display on the Galaxy Fold, sources say. The South Korean firm is purportedly trying to eliminate a crease that starts to appear on the panel after it’s been folded around 10,000 times. If you pick up your smartphone 100 times a day – which is on the lower end of some reports we've received from the digital wellbeing features built into Android Pie and iOS 12 – that means you could expect to start to see some distortion on the Galaxy Fold after a little over three months.
Samsung is believed to be considering offering free screen replacements after the Galaxy Fold launches in May, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) claims.