A Samsung official has reiterated that the company intends to unveil its long-awaited foldable phone this week at its developer conference, reports Reuters, with the intention of showing the phone to developers and the public to gather early feedback. Although the unnamed official admitted that this was a “different approach” to the consumer-facing launches the company has favored for its flagship handsets, they said it was necessary since “the foldable phone is a completely new concept in terms of design and user experience.”
Since the announcement is aimed at developers who’ll have to redesign their apps if they want them to make the most out of a folding display, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a consumer-ready device at the developer keynote. Instead we’re expecting to see its user interface alongside the first detailed images of the phone. It should be enough information to start developing apps, even if it’s not enough to convince you to buy a device that could easily cost around $2,000.
The announcement will come at the end of what has been a challenging year for the mobile division of the South Korean firm. Its global smartphone market share lost an estimated 13 percent in the last quarter (compared to the year earlier) as its recent product line continued to underperform devices from Huawei and Xiaomi. Samsung’s latest earnings report suggests that it hopes foldable screens could be a means of strengthening its competitiveness. 2019 also marks the 10th anniversary of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, so the time is certainly right for Samsung to unveil a differentiated design.
We don’t yet know exactly what the “design and user experience” of the foldable phone will be, short of it having the a tablet-sized screen that can be folded to fit in your pocket, possibly with a second display on the outside for use as a phone. It’s also unclear if the device is meant to be used primarily in landscape or portrait orientations. An early concept trailer showed a dual-display phone with a large screen that can be folded inwards to make it more compact. In contrast, the recently announced Royole FlexPai has a single screen that folds the opposite way so its touchscreen is still usable while folded.
Samsung’s developer conference is due to start at 1PM ET / 10AM PT on November 7th, with Samsung CEO DJ Koh hosting the keynote address.