Samsung's first foldable smartphone that's rumored to be called the Galaxy X will likely use a plastic display panel, BusinessKorea reported Friday, citing several industry insiders. While glass can also be made flexible, developing a mobile glass module with a curvature of 1.0R still isn't a realistic technological achievement as far as mass production is concerned, some experts believe. The Galaxy X is believed to be completely foldable inward, with recent rumors describing it as essentially a much more advanced version of the Axon M, i.e. a device that can be opened and closed like a book.
The South Korean tech giant already applied for a wide variety of foldable handest patents over the course of the last half a decade and has been awarded many of them, but industry watchers remain adamant that the majority of those concepts won't be commercialized anytime soon. Samsung is simply seeking to preemptively gain an IP foothold in the foldable smartphone segment that it believes will have a massive global appeal in the next decade, one insider quoted by BusinessKorea suggested. Samsung is far from the only original equipment manufacturer seeking to release foldable mobile devices in the near term, even though it's likely to become the first company to do so, at least as far as truly bendable offerings with no visible hinges are concerned. Huawei recently confirmed it's been experimenting with the same concept in recent times and may debut its first foldable device as early as next year. Samsung's domestic rival LG also had its subsidiary LG Display commit significant resources to developing bendable display modules and plans to finalize one with a 2.5R curvature in 2018, then move on to a perfect curvature of 1.0R in 2019, according to previous reports.
Besides being foldable, the Galaxy X is expected to pack high-end hardware, with Samsung previously indicating it's seeking to push bendable smartphones as its third premium handset series along with the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lineups. The Seoul-based tech giant already confirmed its first foldable device will be commercialized in 2018, with some insiders claiming the launch will happen in the first quarter of the year, either at CES in mid-January or MWC in late February.