Form factors of current smartphones are getting kind of dull, they are basically screens covered by a layer of glass and their back comes in several materials including polycarbonate, aluminum or glass. Granted, there are still some recently released smartphones that use the clamshell form factor that was used on various feature phones, but those are very rare. Samsung and LG both have integrated some innovations on their recent offerings, Samsung managed to curve the displays in the Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S6 Edge+, while LG has experienced with flexible screens on their G Flex series and more recently, they added a secondary display on the front of the V10. None of this make radical changes in the form factor, but they add some unique functionality.
We have been hearing rumors for a while that both of these companies could take their flexible displays to a whole new level and create foldable smartphones. According to BusinessKorea, these devices could be launched next year. The main advantage of having a foldable display would be to have a very large screen in a device that takes half the space, although it would be interesting to see how these companies implement the new screens. Samsung's phone with a foldable display is known as Project Valley, and it's supposed to integrate high-end specs like Snapdragon 820 processor, 3 GB of RAM and even a Micro SD card slot, which has been absent on recent flagships, plus the hinge would use an innovative mechanism.
LG apparently has the necessary technology to produce such displays in a massive scale. While there are concerns about how this type of screens would handle deterioration from bending, LG has tested the screen for over 100,000 repetitions without showing much damage. There's also a rumor that Apple might release a foldable iPhone by 2018 so they may be looking at one of these companies to supply the display. Still, this kind of phones might be considered experimental and it might be a while before they get widely accepted by consumers, but it's nice to see companies thinking outside the box and software developers might also take advantage of this new form factor.