Will Samsung bend it like Beckham to counter iPhone X?

After being mesmerised by the iPhone X, all what we smartphone enthusiasts now seek is a new device to match, or even outclass, Apple’s masterpiece. What kind of uniqueness can put up a challenge? A foldable smartphone by Samsung?

Apple’s iPhone X was the beginning of a new era for the global smartphone market. The device not only provided the company a much-needed variation to its handset line-up, but also put the onus on Samsung to counter its arch-rival.

The South Korean tech giant had earlier revealed that it was working on a foldable smartphone. Now, the company’s mobile division CEO DJ Koh has told CNBC that Samsung will unveil such a device later this year.

A company survey has revealed that the time is ripe for a foldable smartphone, and that “it’s time to deliver,” Koh told CNBC. He was tight-lipped on the functioning of the foldable screen. But he did hint at some of the benefits.

“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?,” CNBC quoted Koh as saying at the IFA electronics show in Berlin last week.

“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,’” Koh added.

Different from the flip phone

Don’t expect the upcoming Samsung foldable smartphone to look like the traditional flip phone. If an earlier Wall Street Journal report from July is to be believed, the device will let users fold a single screen.

The Journal even said that Samsung could launch the foldable early next year. While Koh didn’t say anything about its launch, he hinted that more details of the device were likely at the Samsung Developers Conference in November.

In 2014, Samsung released a concept ad for a potential foldable handset.

Here’s the video. Take a look:

The next trend?

Meanwhile, another report from South Korea’s The Investor said last week that foldable smartphones will soon “invigorate the market.” The report also said that Samsung Display, the world’s largest flexible OLED maker, has already planned to supply foldable panels to Chinese smartphone makers.

The company has even sent out prototypes of foldable displays to Chinese firms like Oppo and Xiaomi in a bid to form partnerships with them, the report added.

Although a foldable smartphone of any kind doesn’t exist so far, the market is predicted to witness increased shipments of such panels in the next two to three years.

According to Korean research firm Stone Partners, shipments of foldable panels are likely to reach 14 million. The expected shipment number will be worth $2.67 billion in 2021, up from $1 million in 2019.

Featured image courtesy: Nieuwemobiel.nl

Kukil Written by:

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