Samsung’s mobile head, DJ Koh, has given us a first glimpse of what the company’s long-awaited foldable phone will be like to use. Speaking to CNET, the executive said that while unfolded the device will offer the functionality of a tablet complete with multi-tasking and a big screen, but can then be folded into a portable phone.
The description matches a cringeworthy concept trailer the company released back in 2013 which showed a device with one large internal screen combined with a second smaller screen on the outside for use when folded.
Koh has previously suggested that the handset could be unveiled at Samsung’s developer conference where he will be delivering the opening keynote on November 7th. The executive said it would have to reach his standards before it could be announced.
”When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer,” Koh told CNET yesterday, “If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don’t want to deliver those kind of products.” Although he expected the hybrid device to initially find a niche market, he said that he believed it would expand, and that “we do need a foldable phone.”
Numerous manufacturers have stepped up with their own efforts to produce a foldable smartphone. Huawei reportedly plans to release a foldable handset in limited quantities in 2019, and Lenovo and Xiaomi have also teased their own prototypes. Finally, LG has also invested big in flexible displays, and earlier this year showed off a concept TV that rolled up into a box when not in use.
A developer conference seems like an odd venue for Samsung to announce a product that’s been anticipated for so many years. It suggests that we could see a prototype demonstrated, with the retail launch coming later, after developers have had time to optimize apps for the new displays. And with the 10th anniversary of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones coming next year, the time is certainly right for Samsung to unveil a cutting-edge design.