Samsung Electronics will start manufacturing its first commercial foldable smartphone during the fourth quarter of 2017, industry sources close to Taiwanese suppliers of phone components told DigiTimes. The South Korean tech giant is allegedly already developing a clam-like smartphone and its first commercial model will boast a flexible AMOLED display, insiders claim, adding how the fact that Samsung already filed for patents on foldable phones and tablets in the United States suggest that the Seoul-based company is already heavily invested into developing such devices.
Other tech giants that applied for patents related to smartphones with flexible and foldable displays include the likes of LG Electronics, Microsoft, and Apple. While Samsung is expected to beat everyone to the market and start mass-producing a foldable smartphone during the final quarter of this year, the production may be delayed until the second half of 2018 if the company doesn't come up with a solution for several technical issues it's currently facing, sources said. Among other things, the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer is allegedly having problems with mass-producing polyimide plastic covers that are sufficiently reliable for commercial implementation. Manufacturing processes may not be advanced enough to reliably produce these components until 2018, insiders revealed.
Rumors of Samsung developing foldable mobile devices have been circulating the industry for years now. A recent report originating from South Korea claimed that the largest phone maker in the world may actually showcase a prototype of its flexible phone at this year's Mobile World Congress. Samsung will allegedly show the prototype to its partners behind closed doors during the Barcelona-based trade show, the report claimed. If the company already has a prototype at hand, it's certainly possible that it will be ready to mass-produce its mysterious bendable smartphone during the fourth quarter of the year. Provided that happens, Samsung may opt to unveil its first consumer-grade foldable smartphone at Consumer Electronics Show 2018. It remains to be seen what kind of specs Samsung will be targeting with its first flexible phone, but it's probably fair to presume that not many people are expecting a low-end device. More information on the matter will likely follow soon.