Samsung has been playing around with different plans, schematics and even patent applications for a smartphone with a foldable display for a while now, with one patent application even hitting the web just a few days ago. A good number of possible designs for such a smartphone have come and gone, but it appears they have settled on one design in particular. The new smartphone will start out as a standard five-inch affair, similar to the Galaxy S7, but will fold out into a seven-inch tablet. To describe the new form factor, the term “smartlet” is being tossed around, a portmanteau of smartphone and tablet meant to differentiate the new form factor from phablet, the term for a very large phone.
Samsung’s plans and development for foldable screens are going swimmingly, according to Lee Chang-hoon of Samsung’s display division. The displays are slated to be finished and ready for mass production in the second half of this year. Those same in-house displays will end up powering the upcoming foldable smartphone, as hinted to ETNews by a source that they say is inside Samsung and is familiar with the development of the device. According to this same source, the upcoming device is slated to be launched at some point in 2017, but specific details beyond that were not available. Design details on the device, possible specs, branding and other such nuances were left out of the conversation as well.
Thus far, there have been no leaks to support Samsung going through with their plans to release a foldable smartphone, aside from the insider that has give up these particular details. The statement about the planning and manufacturing for their foldable displays, however, comes straight from a verifiable inside source, lending just a bit of credence to this latest rumored device. With the emphasis that Samsung has been placing on foldable displays and the sheer amount of rumors, possible designs and patents they have been putting out lately, it’s not terribly surprising to see such news surface. Details are sparse for the time being, but if this is real, it’s quite likely that the coming months will see numerous leaks, as has been the case with most of Samsung’s flagships in the past.