Samsung's foldable smartphone tipped for November unveiling

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Following years of rumors of its development, Samsung will be revealing its plans to produce a foldable smartphone later this year, the head of the electronics giant's mobile division has confirmed, with the first appearance of the fabled device potentially occurring in November.

A 2014 Samsung concept of a foldable smartphone
A 2014 Samsung concept of a foldable smartphone


Samsung CEO DJ Koh advised the Korean firm will provide details of a foldable smartphone it intends to produce, confirming the product was under development. While it is unlikely for a finished product to be available to consumers before the end of the year, Koh suggested to CNBC there is a possibility it will make an appearance at the Samsung Developers Conference, held in November.

Koh did not state how the smartphone's folding action works, but in describing the logic behind its design, suggested it would be more like a smartphone when folded, but like a tablet when unfolded.

"You can use most of the uses... on a foldable status but when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it," advised Koh at the IFA electronics show last week. "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?"

According to the company's consumer surveys, Koh claims there is a market for such a device to exist, and that it is "time to deliver" the technology to consumers.

Samsung has reportedly invested considerable resources into flexible OLED screens over the years, but while flexible screens have so far been used in relatively limited ways, such as with fixed bends, a foldable display has yet to make it to market.

Numerous reports in the past have speculated that a foldable smartphone was on the way, with one codenamed "Project Valley" consisting of a screen that could fold in half. Another has also been rumored to consist of a smartphone with a 5-inch display when folded, but turns into an 8-inch screen when unfolded.

As Samsung is a major supplier of displays to Apple, reports have also circulated suggesting it was developing flexible displays for iPhones, but not necessarily a foldable version. Current analyst speculation suggests an iPhone with a foldable display could launch as soon as 2020, potentially in collaboration with LG.

Apple has already secured a number of patents relating to the creation of a foldable smartphone, including ways to produce a flexible display in hinged devices, along with wrap-around displays. It has also applied for patents for other related elements, including stretchy substrates for attaching components together on a flexible device, and enabling force gesture controls on bendable devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    1) I can see that being popular.

    2) JFC THAT PROMO AD IS BAD!




    aylk
  • Reply 2 of 37
    nchianchia Posts: 124member
    Just sell me a smartphone that’s thin and light I could use without a case but no fear it would be smashed to bits with casual drops.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    Soli said:
    1) I can see that being popular.

    2) JFC THAT PROMO AD IS BAD!


    It really is awful. It seems to be suggesting pretty women will be interested in sex if you have Samsung gear. What the hell.
    randominternetpersonrepressthiswatto_cobrayoyo2222
  • Reply 4 of 37
    Soli said:
    1) I can see that being popular.

    2) JFC THAT PROMO AD IS BAD!


    It really is awful. It seems to be suggesting pretty women will be interested in sex if you have Samsung gear. What the hell.
    And they are fickle. Now she's regretting giving the first guy her card.
    king editor the graterepressthisclaire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 37
    Heh. Why can't I ever meet tech skanks?

    (Besides the one I met 28 years ago who keeps hanging around just cuz I "married" her.)
    SpamSandwichd_2randominternetpersonclaire1olsCarnagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 37
    Garbage idea.

    I’m convinced there’s no way to solve these technical issues at this time:

    - Making a foldable device as “stiff” and “solid” feeling as a regular device when opened. Not in something as small as a phone where there’s no space to put a proper hinge/locking mechanism. I don’t believe they’ll be able to make it feel like a single “piece” (like current devices).
    - Eliminating the “crease” where the display bends such that people won’t be able to notice it when viewing content or when swiping your finger across it (gestures). Think of the iPad with laminated display vs the non-laminated one and how much better the laminated one feels.

    This will no doubt be be an expensive device, and people will demand a premium feel that won’t be possible.

    Then we have other usability issues. Do you now have to open your phone every time you want to use it? People like the speed of picking up their phone and using it right away. This will add another step in using it and putting it away after use. How about scratch resistance? The display might bend, but Gorilla glass doesn’t. How will they keep the screen free from scratches from normal use?


    Sorry, I just don’t see this working anytime soon.
    racerhomie3repressthisolsirelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 37
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,034member
    There have been two problems with folding OLED screens, even though we’ve seen examples of them during trade shows for several years, from several vendors.

    one is that OLED is very sensitive to moisture, and plastic allows enfiltration of moisture. That’s been a major reason Win 10 they’re bonded to glass. The second is that even if the bending area doesn’t fail in some way, the surface isn’t glass, so it’s going to go back to the bad old days of highly scratched screens.

    will consumers accept this?
    ericthehalfbeerepressthisolsirelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 37
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Samsung? No thanks.
    olswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 37
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,034member
    Hmm. Now, on the iPad beta, all the AI graphics on the tabs are being replaced with the one from MDM. Weird. I turned the feature off, and it went away. I turned it back on, and the MDM graohic is still there. Another thing to report.
    edited September 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 37
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    Yes the display will be foldable, but the last time I check electronic and logic board are still ridged items so they will not fold or bend. They just made a flip phone without a physical hinge. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 37
    I used to work in Plastics and some of them act as a hinge, but the seem will become visible over time and has more time of around 200-500 bends depending on the formulation, and it’s not perfectly clear.

    what if you drop your phone, and BendGate all over again!
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 37
    I agree there are technical hurdles to consider.  This might be ahead of its time.  If I assume that these technical hurdles can be met, and at a reasonable cost (whatever that is) I think many people would love this type of device.  So much consumption is happening on phones.  To be able to get more screen with a flip could be beneficial.  Love the concept just feel it is a bit out of reach right now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 37
    fred1fred1 Posts: 829member
    Sorry, but I don't see what all the whining is about.  There are times when I need just my phone, and a smaller screen and other times when it would be nice to have a larger screen.  Right now I have an iPhone and an iPad Mini.  Together, they meet all my needs.  What's so terrible about having one device that would work as both?
    As for the technical hurdles, are we really in a position to still say "it can't be made to work" or "it'll be awful"??   After all we've seen in the past 5 or 10 years?
    I don't like Samsung any more than the next guy (or the next ten guys), but I'd rather see this and then decide.  
    muthuk_vanalingamavon b7
  • Reply 14 of 37
    claire1claire1 Posts: 510unconfirmed, member
    I hope they release this crap prematurely(like they always do) and it blows up, cracks in half, shatters in back pockets, and has all the samsung problems.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 37
    Cesar Battistini MazieroCesar Battistini Maziero Posts: 198unconfirmed, member
    Apple will go straight to AR.

    No point on doing this when a newspaper could become a foldable screen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 37
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,034member
    fred1 said:
    Sorry, but I don't see what all the whining is about.  There are times when I need just my phone, and a smaller screen and other times when it would be nice to have a larger screen.  Right now I have an iPhone and an iPad Mini.  Together, they meet all my needs.  What's so terrible about having one device that would work as both?
    As for the technical hurdles, are we really in a position to still say "it can't be made to work" or "it'll be awful"??   After all we've seen in the past 5 or 10 years?
    I don't like Samsung any more than the next guy (or the next ten guys), but I'd rather see this and then decide.  
    Samsung has a habit of coming out with features that either don’t work well, or don’t work at all. Just read some reviews of their phones and you’ll see. Of course, that fact is generally overlooked once the review is over.

    the question with this device is whether it’s real, or just a technology concept. If the latter, then it’s there to judge reactions, not to serve as an actual product preview.

    but the difficulties of making something like this, which is almost considered to be the holy grail of smartphone screens, are real. For those who were either too young to be familiar with plastic screens on smartphones, where you had to interact with your screen directly, or not interested in the phones back then, going back to plastic would be quite a revelation. We NEEDED screen protectors back then. Now, with companies trying to convince us that we need tempered glass protectors and other crap, even though we don’t, they would have a field day with this. The problem, of course, would be how you get a flexible protector to bend enough in the middle to not cause a problem. Glass is out, because you would need two pieces, and with the middle needing a good 0.25” of bend room, you’d have a big slice in the middle not protected.

    what a mess!

    people would also complain that opening up their phones to use them for something quick, such as reading notifications, is a real pain. So it would need a screen on the outside too, if for nothing else than for basic phone and notification purposes. This will make the phone thicker, heavier and much more expensive than the expensive product it will be anyway.

    sometimes you can’t just say that we’ve seen a lot of things in the past ten years, so why not this too? Not every product is practical, or if it is, it may be very expensive, or too ahead of the technology needed to produce it. I see a lot of patents that are great, but the technology to produce something using the patent isn’t there yet. I think I read somewhere that Samsung is stating that the surface of this screen is as hard as Gorrila Glass, or something to that effect. I don’t see how that is possible.

    There are hard coatings for plastics, such as these used as windows and for eyeglass lenses. But this coating are either expensive, or are effective for something that just gets dirty, like a window outside, that doesn’t get rubbed much. Those coatings wear off. They’re also not as hard as hardened glass in the practical sense, because they’re just a couple of thou thick. The substrate is soft, and so scratches push their way into the coating and the substrate beneath. Anyone who uses hard anodized aluminum is familiar with the problem.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 37
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,732member
    What a ridiculous commercial. It reminds me of that disturbing Samsung watch video where the guy was stalking some woman with his watch and recording video of her down the ski slope.  

    Who the heck creates these stupid, sexist videos?
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 37
    roakeroake Posts: 763member
    melgross said:
    There have been two problems with folding OLED screens, even though we’ve seen examples of them during trade shows for several years, from several vendors.

    one is that OLED is very sensitive to moisture, and plastic allows enfiltration of moisture. That’s been a major reason Win 10 they’re bonded to glass. The second is that even if the bending area doesn’t fail in some way, the surface isn’t glass, so it’s going to go back to the bad old days of highly scratched screens.

    will consumers accept this?
    You are assuming glass can’t bend.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,257member
    Soli said:
    1) I can see that being popular.

    2) JFC THAT PROMO AD IS BAD!


    It really is awful. It seems to be suggesting pretty women will be interested in sex if you have Samsung gear. What the hell.
    Wait - that won’t work? Aw, man! What am I going to do with all the Samsung gear then?
    king editor the grateStrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 37
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,034member
    roake said:
    melgross said:
    There have been two problems with folding OLED screens, even though we’ve seen examples of them during trade shows for several years, from several vendors.

    one is that OLED is very sensitive to moisture, and plastic allows enfiltration of moisture. That’s been a major reason Win 10 they’re bonded to glass. The second is that even if the bending area doesn’t fail in some way, the surface isn’t glass, so it’s going to go back to the bad old days of highly scratched screens.

    will consumers accept this?
    You are assuming glass can’t bend.
    There isn’t any glass that can bend flat as would be required for this purpose. In the lab, there are lots of glasses, but they are either way too expensive to use, or have some other major flaw, such as being very soft. Remember that we’re talking about something that has to bend over itself with no more than about an 0.125” radius. And it has to do it hundreds of times, maybe thousands. There is also the spring pressure from bending glass. The more you try to close the two halves, the more it will resist that bending. How hard would a glass covered screen be to fold up, assuming hat it could be made in the first place, which I doubt highly?
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