With CES 2017 just around the corner, it’s no surprise that the rumor mill surrounding new releases is starting to heat up and word of new devices are starting to swirl around. A few years ago during the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013, Samsung laid out their idea for displays of the future; flexible and malleable. Since then, we have seen flexible OLED displays end up in a number of devices, and both Samsung and LG have competed with this technology with the Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex devices. Samsung, however, has managed to turn this technology into a mainstream feature with the Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S7 Edge line of devices, and by selling these displays to other names, we’ve seen Xiaomi and Huawei join in, too. Next year, however, we might see the first major revolution in smartphone design since the very first models launched in the last decade, or at least that’s what a report out of South Korea is promising.
ETNews is reporting that Samsung is readying two separate smartphones that will, in a word, “fold”. We’ve heard rumors of “Project Valley” for some time now, and it appears this report sheds more light on just that. For those unfamiliar with Project Valley, it’s a rumored project from Samsung to create the world’s first truly-foldable smartphone, and this new report goes on to say that in 2017 Samsung will launch the first of two such devices. Next year’s foldable smartphone will be more of a “dual-screen” affair, with two parts opening and closing similar to a book, with a hinge in the center of the two displays. It appears as though flexible display technology – as well as all the other components that go into making a phone, the battery, processor and so on – aren’t quite ready for Samsung to launch a final product that they can sell to consumers. Industry insiders are referring to this as a “two-track” strategy, with this device being the first, and sold in “small amounts”.
Following this device will be another type of device that, unlike the first, will feature a fully-foldable design with no hinge. Given the upgrade in form factor from the hinged device, there is no release date given for this model, and it’s likely we might have to wait until late 2018 or even further for this device to launch as a proper consumer product we can buy at retail. Of course, as is so often the case with these reports out of South Korea, it’s likely that there is little truth in these reports, but as always, we have little choice but to wait and see, which should make 2017 a very interesting year, indeed.