There’s no question that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is a success from a revenue standpoint. The device is slated to be one of this year’s biggest sellers in the flagship tier, but there are a few who are less than thrilled with the Galaxy line’s current direction. A stay-the-course philosophy has come to dominate the design of these devices, with enhancements being incremental and safe. Nothing so risky or groundbreaking as the modular LG G5. But don’t count Samsung out of the innovation game just yet. Word on the street is that they’ll be shipping a foldable smartphone in 2017.
South Korean outlet ETNews reports that Samsung is working to mass produce foldable displays by the end of this year, with market availability set for 2017. The report cites industry sources noting Samsung’s good progress, but it’s light on details. Back in January, Samsung confirmed that the development of foldable displays is coming along nicely, but did not offer a timeline for commercialization.
One thing to note is that the development of curved, flexible, and foldable displays has been beset with delays. It’s been three years since Samsung first presented its vision of foldable devices and all we’ve got so far is a number of tantalizing patents (1, 2, 3) presumably showing a foldable device known by the Project Valley codename.
This technology has been in prototype for a while now, but rumor has it that Samsung is partnering up with several different manufacturers and distributors to mass-produce a 7-inch foldable device. These smartphones will have an OLED display that can fold in half like a wallet, which means the device can effectively be used as either a 5-inch smartphone or a 7-inch tablet.
Some believe that foldable screens are the next step in the evolution of the smartphone, as groundbreaking as touchscreen tech was in the 00’s. There’s no telling whether or not this will be the case, but it seems clear that, if there’s any chance of that happening, the Korean tech titan is looking to be a major player from day one.