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First Fold, then Flip, now Samsung could launch a Tri-Fold in 2023

A tri-folding device could join the Fold and Flip form factors this year, according to a leaker.
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Published onMarch 24, 2023

Samsung tri fold prototype concept MWC 2023
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Samsung tri fold prototype concept as seen at MWC 2023
TL;DR
  • A leaker has claimed that Samsung could launch a tri-folding device this year.
  • Samsung has previously demonstrated this technology with prototypes at trade shows.
  • The form factor would open the door for larger folding screens.

Samsung is the undisputed king of the foldable phone market, securing a reported ~80% of the market in 2022. The company has stuck to two form factors, namely the book-style Fold line and the clamshell Flip series, but it sounds like we could see a third form factor in 2023.

Frequent tipster Yogesh Brar has claimed on Twitter that Samsung could launch a tri-fold device this year in addition to the expected Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 models.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard of a tri-folding device, as Samsung has previously demonstrated the tech while also filing a patent for it back in 2020. In fact, we most recently saw tri-folding foldable phone concepts from the brand at MWC 2023 (seen at the top and below).

Samsung tri fold foldable concept MWC 2023
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Either way, the concept and patent point to a device with two hinges. One of the hinges enables an inward fold while the other hinge enables an outward fold, resulting in a Z shape of sorts when partially folded.

The outward-folding hinge would allow for part of the folding screen to be used as a smartphone display, as opposed to using a separate screen for the smartphone panel. However, we do wonder what this means in terms of durability. All folding screens are made out of plastic, so having part of it on the outside means it’s exposed to more wear and tear, potentially leading to more scratches.

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Another potential concern is device thickness, although foldables such as the HONOR Magic Vs and HUAWEI Mate X3 show that thinner designs are possible. So a Samsung tri-folding device could theoretically end up being as thick as (or marginally thicker than) the current Galaxy Z Fold line.

One upside to this approach, however, is that it could allow for much larger folding screens as opposed to the 7.6-inch to 8-inch screens we see on current Fold-style foldables. So we could potentially see ~11-inch folding screens via this tri-fold form factor.

In any event, Brar also asserted that there’s no Galaxy S23 FE in the works, echoing a claim from respected WinFuture journalist Roland Quandt. So those waiting for a more affordable Galaxy flagship might have to settle on the standard Galaxy S23.

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