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Galaxy X smartphone: Samsung’s big bet on foldable technology

Samsung reportedly showcased an “almost finished” version of the foldable phone at the CES show in Las Vegas.

tech Updated: Jan 13, 2018 17:03 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
The Samsung Flip digital whiteboard and the Notebook 9 Pen tablets are displayed during a news conference at CES International  in Las Vegas.
The Samsung Flip digital whiteboard and the Notebook 9 Pen tablets are displayed during a news conference at CES International in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Flexible smartphones are set to become a reality, but not anytime soon. Earlier this week, Samsung CEO DJ Koh disclosed that the company’s highly anticipated foldable phone Galaxy X will launch in 2019.

Samsung Galaxy X, which has appeared in numerous leaks in the past, is expected to set a new trend for future smartphones. Already, tech companies including Apple are trying to reimagine smartphones with edge-to-edge display and in-screen fingerprint scanner.

Google, which is relatively new to the hardware game, recently acquired UK-based startup Redux, which uses panel audio technology to transform any screen into speakers. The impact of the acquisition is expected to be seen in future Google Pixel phones, which have undergone overhauls such as edge-to-edge panels and removal of the 3.5mm audio jack.

The Samsung Galaxy X is expected to stand apart from contemporary smartphones, even if it’s rolled out by end of the next year. If reports are to be believed, the company even showcased a fully functional prototype of the phone during a private event at the CES 2018 show in Las Vegas.

The Korean Herald reports that the company showcased an “almost finished” foldable smartphone at the event and is set to go into production later this year.

“Samsung attracted more clients to the private meeting compared to last year. The phone development seems to be almost finished, raising expectations for the phone launch,” the website quotes an anonymous source as saying.

The smartphone comes with a 7.3-inch panel that can be folded inwards. Over the years, Samsung is said to have experimented with both inward and outward folding panels, but it’s likely to settle with the in-folding concept.

The reported timeline appears to be somewhat in line with what Samsung had shared last year. CEO DJ Koh had then admitted that making the phone a reality required the company to overcome various hurdles. “Foldable phones are on our roadmap,” he said last year, adding that the company was “digging thoroughly into several issues”.

That said, Samsung isn’t only the company to bet on the foldable technology. LG demonstrated a functional rollable TV at the CES show in Vegas. The rollable TV featured a 65-inch OLED display with 4K resolution.

In June last year, Lenovo stunned everyone with a concept foldable device that turned a tablet into a smartphone. Called Lenovo Folio, the device has a 7.8-inch screen that can be folded into 5.5-inch dual-screen-like phone. While the device hasn’t made it to the commercial market, it could very well see light of the day once Samsung makes its own foldable phone available to consumers.

LG is already said to be working on foldable OLED panels. The company is likely to supply the panels to various OEMs. However, odds are that the foldable technology could first arrive on wearables.

We can expect Apple to join the bandwagon as well. In November last year, we spotted a patent acquired by Apple for a device that can be opened and closed like a book.

“An electronic device may have a flexible portion that allows it to be folded. The device may have a flexible display. The flexible display may have a bending region that allows the display to bend along an axis when the device is folded,” said a patent application published by The US Patent and Trademark Office.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 17:02 IST

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